Shaping Behavior With the Waterhole Rituals

Today I'd like to share a question from one of my Waterhole Rituals Insider Circle Students....

Dear Carolyn,

I have 3 horses and now I work with my 18 year old gelding, Vince. He has a special character: calm, dominant, very proud and sometimes stubborn.

At the first ritual from the beginning he is hanging around in the arena slowly, eating some hays and visits me a few times for a few seconds only. BUT: after 20-30 minutes I used to take a walk and he immediately joins up to me and follows my direction and tempo. It’s a fantastic feeling like there would be an invisible rope or glue between us. When I sit back he accompanies me and spend a long time close to me. There is no any rude behavior except during our walk, when he sometimes crosses my way – so I send him away softly and it’s enough.

I can’t take ‘saying hello’ and difficult to start ‘leading from behind’ because he is always with me – near my shoulder – when I’m not sitting.

My question: I know, how to stop him but I don’t really know is that a good action to our friendship? Maybe is it better to let happen this process and change for an other ritual when an appropriate time is coming? I don’t want to destroy this connectin which was built at the last two weeks. What is your suggestion? Thank you very much!

My response to her was,

When he crosses in front of you stop him and stand there for a while then get him to move over gently by turning to the right wait and then walk in the new driection you turned him to. This will cause your horse to travel less close. Keep repeating until you get the point across. But, that being said, I am not yet focused on companion walking for the class.

Your horse is a proper nusience now. Your foucs needs to be getting him to move away from you and not come back. All that information is in the MP3 files of my Insider Circle calls and the interview that I did with Ann Twinney. This work I want you to do with your horse will help you in companion walking later on. When your horse moves away and does not come back take him a treat and love on him and tell him that he is doing the right thing by staying away from you. You do not need the hello ritual at this point.

Hope this is of help!

Carolyn