I would like to invite everyone to send me a YouTube, if it would please you to do so, on the personal connection that you have developed and are enjoying with your horse using the Waterhole Rituals. This is an invitation to blog readers as well as the students in the Inner Circle Program. Just paste the link in the comments section below. For the Inner Circle students: put together a YouTube that shows how far along you are in the Rituals. This information will help me to support you further. I am sure your YouTubes would also be helpful to people who are just starting out with my Method.
I want to give more information on the Eye Contact Ritual. This Ritual is to develop your horse’s habit in keeping and eye on you. Some people cannot tell if their horse is looking at them. It is easier to tell with some horses than others. The easy ones will get interested in looking somewhere beyond or left or right of where you are standing and will turn their heads to look. Try this exercise to see if your horse is really keeping an eye on you:
Allow your horse to eat awhile as you are standing at its head. You should be about 8 to 10 feet from your horse’s head standing in front of your horse. After your horse is comfortable eating, it should take just a few minutes for your horse to feel relaxed but do take all the time necessary to allow for comfort and a feeling of companionship to occur. Then, you can start your interaction using the Eye Contact Ritual by stepping sideways around to the back of the horse. Use body language with miming gestures in rhythm of your step to get your horses attention. Make a small clucking sound and wait for a response when your horse ignores you take another step and repeat. Make sure your circle gets larger as you are working to the back end of your horse because you want to be far enough away that your horse can not kick you as well as to have enough room that you can impress your horse with advancing movements to drive him off his food for not looking. When you get to the back end of your horse about three quarters around, if your horse has not responded, then move your horse off his food like in the game of Reciprocal Movements.
This simulates the ritual the lead mare and dominant horses play with in a field when they are grazing. This ritual is what creates a cohesive connection throughout the herd to keep them safe from predators and builds their team working skills. From this game the horse acquires a habit and an understanding of the importance of always acknowledging a horse that is asking to be acknowledged. I use this Ritual so that at any time I want my horse’s attention all I need to do is cluck or start to move out of view of my horse. It causes the horse to turn in my direction and stay focused on where I am. When you step around your horse as soon as your horse looks directly at you, move back to being in front or your horse and give it a break by letting him enjoy his food and sharing space with him.
As you advance with the Ritual, you will want more from your horse than just a look. For example, you will want a look and a move of his hindquarters away from you.
This Ritual mimics the ritual of a lead horse, usually a lead mare, at grazing time. A lead mare will walk though the herd and expect any horse that she nears to acknowledge her presence. What she wants to receive from the other horse is a look or a shift in its hindquarters as a way to show respect or a willingness to be moved. If the horse is not willing to move when she passes by them, she will drive the horse off the spot where they are standing or grazing. If the horse does not acknowledge her well enough to her satisfaction, she will also drive the horse away from her and then move on in search of another horse that is not paying attention.
This is the lead mare’s job, to keep the herd connected. She does this by continuing this pasture ritual to every horse in the herd. When a horse cannot be caught off guard, they have a greater sense of self worth and a greater ability to understand your intent because their attention to you has increased. When you do this ritual with your horse, you are becoming the leader and you are increasing your horse’s stature in the herd.
More news next week on my new DVD Waterhole Reflections but in the meantime, here is a trailer for it. Enjoy the video and enjoy your weekend.