Hi. Hopefully another 'In the Box' Program is about to start and if it does, I want to provide support on the blog for the students and for everyone else who reads my blog. This way we can all start the Waterhole Rituals™ at the same time. Every time I start at the beginning, I find magic and personal power from being able to return to the beginners mind. "Beginners mind" is a phrase used by many cultures and Buddhist teachers to bring the student back to a place of personal power and learning. What I want people to understand about the Waterhole Rituals™ is that the ongoing practice of them will continue to deepen the bond and training of both you and your horse. However, you need to approach the Rituals with the mindset that you are discovering a deeper connection and evolution in the skills of leadership and a closer connection to all things in your life. You will begin to achieve wonderful results through your abilities of observation and performance. Through practice you will continue to acquire more amazing skills.
One example of this came yesterday when Julia and I were working with her school horse, Sonãdor. He is a recently gelded Andalusian who came to the ranch about two weeks ago with some riding and training issues. One of them being that he would not relax when being ridden. He is a National Champion English pleasure horse that was switched over to dressage and this is when the riding problems cropped up for him. He was also too much to handle on the ground as well. He had learned how to pull. I was also told that he could not be trained to do the Spanish Walk.
From the practice of the first Ritual "Sharing Territory", the problems just melted away to only small bumps in the road that sometimes sort themselves out on their own. The connection doing nothing with him brought the trust and the dance.
While Julia was working him yesterday, she said that she was amazed how the Waterhole Rituals™ are helping her to see things she had never noticed before even though she has had years of training and is in fact a certified coach in another method. She now notices when Sonãdor’s body gives signs that he wants to perform but can’t because it's all so new to him. He needs time to get his body to respond to what's being asked of him.
Anytime we learn something new, it takes trys and practice before we can get better. It is like we have to experience inability before the ability to perform can happen. Julia also learned from me that she knows she can give Sonãdor treats for a try even though nothing happened because she can now read Sonãdor’s muscles shifting, suggesting that he wants to move. Julia now knows also, that anything thats' stuck is going to work itself out with practice and encouragement by giving a treat when no performance really happened. It is a practice of the school of kindergarten.
Every day at the beginning of a work session, you start in kindergarten and you might have to stay there with your horse if the magnetic connection is not available to you from the horse's willingness and enthusiasm. Kindergarten is also the school you stay in until all the Waterhole Rituals™ mature the partnership.
Once the connection is made through the Rituals, as the horse warms up daily in a kindergarten environment, you then can expect more from him by holding him more responsible. In kindergarten, the horse has complete ability to control you and your program with the exception of personal territory rights. If he chooses not to perform you must stop asking and wait for the horse to reconnect.
For example, let’s say you ask him to Lead From Behind. In kindergarten, you have no control over where he goes but once he fully understands this Ritual, you can focus on being able to direct him in a pattern of your choice. Kindergarten is where everyone will begin with the new 'In a Box' Program. Do not think that this part of the school is too basic for you because what you will learn through the subtlety of the pause with the first Ritual, Sharing Territory, will be life changing.
I know virtually all the students on the last Inner Circle and 'In a Box' Programs experienced a profound change in their relationship with their horse through the Sharing Territory Ritual.
What horses have taught me through the practice of the Rituals is difficult to express in words. Through paying attention to the learning opportunities that horses present, they can teach us self-realization and evolution in wisdom, horsemanship and leadership and partnering and parenting skills, as well as a way to find true happiness.
As summer fades away for most of us, it is a time for the new season of fall that allows things to settle down. In the shift of seasons and being aware of this shift we can recall or call in a feeling of abundance and appreciation for what life has give us. How best to do that is to step into the world of the pause with horses and allow the page to turn on its own to a new adventure that the horses bring to us. This will not take place if we step into the world of horses by action. It is only achieved in the pause by allowing the horse to lead us and to adjust our inner self to the moment and wait for a feeling to enter of being at complete peace with the way things are.
As ever, I hope that helps and I look forward to reading your comments. Enjoy your weekend, in the pause.