Sunshine's New Home, Training at Liberty
Chapter six - Sunshine’s new homeSunshine and I made a move from Golden Gate stables to Carmel California. Things changed for us in our new location. I was only going to see Sunshine on my lunch hour every day and then only one full day a week. The place I was boarding her now was a horse’s paradice. I had rented her a 50 acre field by herself with horses in the adjoining field. She was so bonded to me that she had really lost her intrest in sharing her field with anyone. She liked having horses close by though. The front of her field was pasture and the back was beautiful pine trees. From her field we could see and hear the ocean.
On my lunch hour I would go Share Territory with her while eating my sack lunch that I had prepared at home. My work and home was only a mile away in the highlands. I worked at the Highlands Inn over looking the ocean at my mother’s art gallery and gift shop. When I would go to Sunshine I would prepare an afternoon meal for her of oats and carrots. She really looked forward to her lunch, too much so at first. She would crowd the gate. Then, after I would manage to get in her field, she would start eating before I had a chance to put down my blanket and have a picnic with her. It was like I was not even there. She was so interested in her afternoon feeding I could have been anybody. I had to change this so that we could actually enjoy each others company. She was so occupied it felt to me like she was on her cell phone.
I had never had a chance to train Sunshine at liberty at Golden Gate stables. All we had there was a stall. I had no turnout for her. Having this field now, I would get to start her liberty training. So I figured out that the most natual way to approach her training would be to have a picnic with her everyday and focus on her social behavior at liberty, over lunch, that would evolve into riding her.
I put on my thinking cap as to how I would go about this hour that we would spend together. The reason I am sharing this story is to help you to put on your thinking cap so you can develop your own approach in the training needs you might be facing with your own horse. I want you to find the horse whisper within yourself and help you follow your own philosophy in how you want to approach the training of your own horse. This is what I want to help you with in this blog.
(If you take my online course, where you send me your videos of your lessons of the Waterhole Rituals, I will help you to develop your own horse whispering skills from your true nature. The focus of my online course is to think like a horse and learn how to train in a way that suits your horse’s nature. The outcome of your schooling is that you will have developed you own approach and not be a carbon copy of any method.)
With Sunshine I had to sit down and think what was my first challenge. That was easy. She needed to move away from the gate instead of crowding the gate to get to the grain in my hands. So how was I going to do that? This was the first step in the process of training Sunshine to ride at liberty without ever using tack or a round pen or even a neck rope. This is a fun story about what took place. Training her to ride at liberty was accomplished in the one hour picnics we had together over a short summer.
I know you are going to find the journey so simple and inviting and something you can see yourself doing with your own horse. If you try it you will learn how to think for yourself and in the process you will have gained an ability to know a horse's nature deeply. What makes training easy at liberty is seeing all the baby steps you need to address and pick each step that is the easiest to accomplish.
If you run into resistance with a horse it is from not approaching a horse in the right manner, that is all. What I know about horses is that they are very willing to follow your lead, but they have to be in the right state of mind in the moment you ask them to do something for you and to trust and respect you at the time you ask. You have got to set the horse up to be in this state of mind each time you ask him to do anything. This is why the Waterhole Rituals are important to learn. The Waterhole Rituals give you the ability to influence your horse to be just in the right frame of mind to learn a lesson with grace and ease.
I decided how I was going to approach Sunshine’s first lesson on the gate crowding. I would rely on routine and the evolution of the routine to create the respect and patience I wanted her to exhibit. Ask yourself what you would do to teach your horse not to crowd a gate. Lets hear from you in what your focus would be in training your horse not to crowd the gate.
In next week's blog I will share with you how I trained her to move away from the gate and to have patience and how I developed my ability to have a picnic with her that was magical.
Have a great weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human sightings and may the horse be with you.
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