Note: CRIC stands for Carolyn Resnick Inner Circle, a program she is offering (for monetary compensation) to provide Internet coaching and which I am currently enrolled.
While I discuss Carolyns’ methods (”Waterhole Rituals’) I am expressing only my opinion to materials – DVD’s, online YouTube videos, her public blog etc… and my impressions of it, as well as how I use it with my own horses, as a review. I am not trained or endorsed by Carolyn Resnick.
Yesterday, I received Carolyn Resnicks’ book Naked Liberty and her dvd Waterhole Rituals. Happy to have them so fast, I sat down immediately and watched the dvd and read the book last night.
Waterhole Ritual One is Sharing Territory. I can write with my whole heart that I believe in this ritual. When Dear One came into my life, I was so enraptured by her that I spent many hours sitting outside her paddock and hand grazing her. Being with her filled my heart to an overflowing cup.
Even before knowing Resnick’s work, I had encouraged people through another horse website and students to spend unstructured time with their horses over 10 years ago. Being with your horse, with no demands on your horse, is truly a special time for you both as it springs from friendship, without purpose.
To know the magic of this type of friendship think back upon your own friends. Remember the one who always talked about herself? Never wanted to do the things you were interested in? How that friendship made you feel used and eventually it faded away?
If you are with a horse you don’t know, are new to horses, don’t have a large space to be with your horse, or the horse has the potential to be dangerous, I would suggest doing this exercise sitting outside the area the horse is kept. To me, this exercise is receptive passiveness – a time to meditate and let the energy flow without conscious direction.
With Dear One her paddock was big enough for one horse but rather tight for a person too… so I sat outside, sometimes even laying in the grass watching her.
Having time is perhaps the biggest reason you find pre-teens and teens sharing a special bond with their horse. Without adult responsibilities of job, chores, and errands, they have time to play and just hang with their best friend.
Sharing Territory is going to be a long term project that I will continue to do even after I get the result I want (horses approaching me and noticing me politely). I know from having experienced it that this time investment gives big dividends.
Yesterday, I started my sessions. Pandora immediately came up and hung out with me. I was every impressed by how polite she was. Sometime later Little Girl noticed. As expected she came over and got dominant right away. When I asked her to leave, she took her feelings off on Pandora, who is the lowest ranked in the herd. Big Guy saw me, noticed my position but did not join me. I was not surprised. His history with humans has taught him they mean work and I expect he will be the hardest to win over.
Today, our warm weather continued so after Pandora and I did our Tiger Play, I sat up my mounting block a dozen yards from the run-in shed the Big Horses were eating in, which is right between the open gate, linking the 2- 2 acre paddocks.
Almost immediately Little Girl came over. She decided to lay her head in my lap and let me cuddle her entire head with my arms. I probably shouldn’t have but it reminded me of how Dear One would do this to show me her trust so I let myself be won over.
Then she decided she had to snuffle me, blowing into my hair. For some reason, horses have always liked my hair; I just assumed it was because being blond maybe they thought it was hay! Since she was being polite (though dripping water from her muzzle due to her recent drink) I allowed this too.
Eventually, though she got too much in my space, and started to paw. I had had enough. I stood up, shouted, waved my whip and…. NOTHING. A BIG FAT NOTHING. This horse is scared of nothing and looked at me mildly like, “why would you ever want me to go away?”
I had to strike her with my dressage whip (trust me nothing was going to get her to move) and she ambled off a few steps, turned and came right back to me. She was polite for a few more moments and then pushed the Naughty Button again. So off she was sent AGAIN and it had to be a firm swat (which I really, really did not want to do!) and again, she just ambled away.
A little bit later she returned again and was much more polite, just grazing around my place.
Big Guy noticed me, walked by and was clearly not going to buy into the idea I was just hanging out because I wasn’t going to do anything to him. He will be my toughest nut to crack for sure.
Post-Thoughts: If you have a dominate or “pocket pony” horse I would definitely put a fence between your area and the horses. Do not hang out in their field, paddock or stall as it might encourage aggressive behavior and play on the part of the horse.