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Friendship Training With Chuck Mintzlaff

Reference: This is an excerpt from an interview by Mark Mottershead as published on

Chuck Mintzlaff is a pioneer of the ‘Friendship Training’ concept. His philosophy and way of life can be summed up by the phrase: ‘First do no harm.’

As Chuck says,“But as with many things that are simple, the underpinnings are a bit more complex. ‘First do no harm’ entails every aspect of our horse’s mental, emotional and physical well-being. That involves quite a few different aspects!”

Further Information On Friendship Training by Chuck

“I always recommends to prospective students a preliminary if not greater in-depth understanding of equine culture and normal herd dynamics in their natural environment that can only be gained from equine research scientists and ethologists (NOT the anecdotal musings of ‘trainers’). As you continue through the Levels, various other reading/study requirements are strongly recommended in addition to the required study curriculum.

We realize that for some, this may be regarded as ‘going back to night school.’ But really, the required reading/study material is minimal, and it will give you a much greater, in-depth understanding not only of your horse, (and ALL horses) but also WHY we still have so many behavioral issues and ‘horse problems’ after working with an animal that has remained unchanged mentally, emotionally and instinctually for 6,000 years.”

You can learn more about Friendship Training below and at:


How to remove the herd bound behaviour in horses

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Reference: An excerpt from a blog post by Carolyn Resnick, Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship: Liberty Horse Training.

At Liberty when the horses are together in their home site, allow one horse to eat a potion of free choice grain and keep the other horse away while he is eating. Then when he is finished let the other horse eat and keep the first horse away.

When the horses have learned to wait for their turn to eat, then feed one horse outside the area next to the fence.

Leave food for the horse that remains in his home base. Take a longer and longer time to return the horse that is outside of his area, each time feeding longer distances away for the horse’s home site. (Be sure to establish a routine.)

Bit by bit your horses will be able to separate for longer periods of time because of the bond that you created through the leadership exhibited over the food that you bring to both horses.

Always start with Sharing Territory to put yourself in an altered state of being and a heighten state of awareness. This way your approach will be more appropriate in getting the results you want to receive. Take your time and believe you can do it and the magic of life will be there to support you all the way. You will also find a self guidance that you can trust in from the results of Sharing Territory.

When you feel that your horses are not concerned about separation, you can then proceed to take short rides returning back to the buddy often. The horse that is left behind is fine because he gets special treats. The horse you are riding is fine because he has a deeper bond with you and a routine that he knows will return him back home.


Homemade Meal Recipe for Horses

Reference: Sourced from a blog post written Marijke van de Water in

Very frequently clients ask me if there are any equine commercial feeds that are healthy and suitable for their horses. For convenience I wish it was possible to recommend an all-around commercial horse feed but every horse is so unique with so many different requirements that this is almost impossible to do. The other problem is the ingredient list: most commercial feeds are full of unhealthy products including poor quality oils, grains, sugars, molasses, fillers, binders, empty calories and by-products…it’s like trying to recommend a processed food program for people.

Nothing beats a home-made meal so here is a recipe for one that horses like and that they can enjoy frequently. It’s also a great vehicle for mixing in supplements. The quantities vary depending on the age, weight, lifestyle and exercise levels of your horses so use the following quantities as a guideline.

*Beet Pulp, always soaked – 1-2 cups

Wheat Bran – ½ – 1 cup

Wheat Germ – 1-2 Tablespoons

Alfalfa Pellets – 1-2 Tablespoons to ¼ cup – if necessary for increased performance

Happy Horse  or Happy Horse Senior – 1-2 Tablespoons

(Provides a plant-based source of all the trace minerals and vitamins in

a highly absorbable form to which added nutrients can be added as necessary.)

Fruits or vegetables – feed ¼ to ½ cup of any blend that your horses enjoy – e.g. apples, watermelon, peaches, plums, berries (all kinds), cauliflower, carrots, beet tops, peas, etc.

*Use soaked Soybean Hulls (1-2 cups) as a beet pulp alternative if necessary or for variety.

*Twice per year add Pro-Colon probiotics – ¼ tsp for 3 weeks. Riva’s Pro-Colon is specifically formulated for horses and refrigerated for maximum potency.


Flutter’s Arrival – An Inspiring Birth Story

Source: Marcy Criner is the creator of Horses of Us, an equine artist, and a follower of horse wisdom. This story is one of the inspiring posts on


One flick of the finger turns the barn from a soft dreamy darkness to bright glaring light. In a flash, our mood and tenor shifts to the urgency of birth. From her black hindquarters, we see a translucent sac covering two hoofs quickly emerge. Aspen is standing then chooses the lay down with a graceful thump. We see the baby’s nose between its feet. Another choice is made and Aspen is up again. Taking a moment to think she moves then decides to go back down.

Once she is down, I find myself on the ground covered in fluids with the baby’s nose in my hands. I pull the white slick sac away from his nose and hear him take his first breath. Another push and the baby is out. A rush of welcoming whinnies and neighs fills the space. This strong black colt is still linked to his mother through the umbilical cord. I begin to stroke him feeling his warm body below me. Aspen turns her regal head and stares at him with a look of adoration. A deep neigh emanates from her. His long legs are moving as if to say he wants up! I continue to touch him as we wait for his mother to rise.

Before me I see all legs ready to run, hop, and explore the world. I feel nothing but shear appreciation. Appreciation that I am a witness to the essence of life. Seeing life in its purest form. I feel the aliveness in me as I stand with Martin and watch Aspen rise, as her baby knows he will follow. He struggles and falls all the while being encouraged by his mother. I feel a deep knowing well-up inside me. From this place, I am connected to a greater universe. This is it. In this moment the curtain pulled back and a feeling of life force called me in.

All four feet were planted on the ground. He is standing! Waves of wonder flow though me and he starts experimenting with his newly discovered legs. Falling and twisting he tumbles. As quick as he falls, he is back up on his feet.

Martin and I see milestones like nursing come and go. I wonder about transformation and think of this newborn foal. I see myself in him. In twenty minutes, he transformed himself from one world to the next. Thoughts of mental states and our ability to transform them flood my mind. A quiet stillness settles in for the night as early morning approaches.

With a full belly, the newborn colt, Flutter, begins his peaceful sleep. We are mesmerized by the simple, perfect beauty that life brings to those in the dark or in the light. In stillness or in fits of urgency, the ability to move to the essence, to feel the source of all things is the gift within. That moment of pure presence opened my heart to true joy that quiet night in May.


Dancing in Freedom – A man who Found his Authentic Self

A wonderful video I thought you would all enjoy.



Change and Horses don’t always mix – Equine Accupressure Can Help

Many horses don’t take kindly to any type of change. They are hardwired to be rather disgruntled with changing facilities, moving in with new horses, traveling cross country to a show, or even something different in their paddock. This reaction to change has to do with herd behavior and survival.

Herd structure is essential to equine survival and every horse knows it.  Every horse knows his place and, for the most part, wants to keep peace within the herd. It’s the herd that protects the individual horse and it’s the individual horse that’s responsible for maintaining the integrity and strength of the herd. Even when traveling 20-30 miles in a day, knowing their place gives them a sense of safety. Take a horse’s sense of safety away and he will feel vulnerable, fearful, and self-protective.

Some horses seem to manage change easily while others react badly when there’s even a minor routine change because he feels threatened. This can lead to behavior issues, dangerous situations, as well physical reactions such as colic. As a prey animal, a horse’s reaction to a threat is to take flight and we all know what can happen then – “Not Good,” as we say in Chinese medicine.

Adjusting to Change
An equine acupressure session can help restore a sense of well-being when a horse is faced with change. And, acupressure offers the added benefit of helping you bond with the horse, which gives the horse a greater sense of safety.

The acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” given on the chart below were selected to help a horse adjust to  change by calming his spirit, providing a sense of grounding, enhancing his self-confidence, and creating a harmonious flow of chi, live-promoting energy, throughout his body.

By offering this equine acupressure session every third day, you can give your horse the gift of comfort and safety when he feels threatened by change or anything else, for that matter.


Equine Accupressure – Adjusting to Changes


Taking Territory to Gain Respect (Part 2)

Reference: Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship – Liberty Horse Training

Working Horses at Liberty:

While working horses at Liberty, a horse has a sense of personal power and he can be much harder to deal with because of the freedom you have given him. A horse learns right away that he is in charge of the decisions of whether or not he will listen to your direction. Working with a horse at Liberty in a free playing field, the human must use prudence in order to develop the relationship further rather than keeping a horse on a rope.

Having a rope on a horse, the horse has the mind set that he cannot get away and that he must tolerate his handler. While working and connecting with a horse using tack, a person doesn’t know who their horse really is until you give him his freedom to speak the truth. Without a rope you know exactly what your horse is thinking… The horse knows that he is in charge of your leadership.

In this freedom you connect with your horse by being in control of your personal space and by not letting your horse too close to you if he will not listen to you or he is aggressive. You also are in charge of the extra food sources. In no way do you keep him from his daily rations. My method is to shape a horse to be a care taker as your horse shapes you to be a care taking leader. From the freedom you experience with your horse true harmony is born.

Without the Freedom:

When horses are raised and trained by man what happens is that horse becomes dull. The horse learns to stay close to their handler from the tack that holds them to their handler. They then lose their natural instincts and will. The horse’s spirit generally drops away. You can recognize this in a horse’s performance under saddle if the spirit and enthusiasm are not seen; when the sparkle in the eye is gone.

Many times I hear people say “my horse loves me because he doesn’t want to leave me”, I suggest something else is array. If you think you have a bond ask yourself, how much time do you spend with your horse? Does your horse prefer other horses company over yours? Maybe your horse is hanging around you because of the cookies you have in your pocket? We want those cookies to be added bonuses not to become the whole reason. If your horse will perform with complete enthusiasm without cookies or tack… this is the bond I want you to have.

The True Nature:

From your interaction of Sharing Territory, Taking Territory, the pause, and from the flexible boundaries you share together in freedom, you become more giving or more assertive and your horse blooms into his true nature and spirit. Then a partnership forms and a loyalty arises. You and your horse look at life optimistically because of the connection you have with one another.

I am so proud that I have affected people all over the world to get people interested in giving freedom to their horses and to take the time to make a real connection with them. You know you have that real connection when you discover that in no way could you ever sell your horse. If you are planning on selling your horse in the future, you approach your horse differently than someone who is going to keep their horse forever. The plan that you are going to sell your horse puts a wedge in the relationship because of your vibrations.


Taking Territory to Gain Respect (Part 1)

Reference: Carolyn Resnick Horsemanship: Liberty Horse Training

Taking Territory creates respect and raises your position in the pecking order. You can gain the right of passage to be accepted in the horse world as a leader. Taking Territory is not about chasing a horse around; it is about Taking Territory away from a horse.

All animals in nature experience the loss of territory in social interactions and it is what builds their character and social behavior to fit in and be responsible in the community. You can Take Territory easily with a horse by surprising him in order to initiate his flight response.  However, you can only do this if the horse is not looking at you and not paying any attention to you.

The Proper Guidance:

Taking Territory Ritual is a ritual which is seldom used without my guidance and that is a good thing. In most cases it would not be applied properly, in the way it needs to be applied, without proper coaching. You do not need it at all in order to train a horse with my method, though it does have its place in the right hands.

When Taking Territory the horse is never touched, but only encouraged to move forward by being surprised. This causes the horse to take off by responding to his flight instincts. The horse is only scared for a second and when he finds out it is you and your purpose was to Take Territory, he is instantly relieved and wants to join you showing no fear at all, along with having a new healthy respect for you!

Why you would not want to use this Ritual without My guidance:

My Dad told me that whenever force comes into the picture with a horse, you better know what you are doing. My father left me alone with horses as a small child so he had to feel comfortable about my safety. The rules he laid down in order for me to stay safe with my horses was to only work with a willing horse and never try to force him to do anything. My Dad felt that as long as there was no tack involved, and that I never asked a horse to do something he wasn’t willing to do, chances were that I would be safe. Wouldn’t it be nice if more horsemen took this approach?

Taking Territory is one of those things where you need to know what you are doing.

Something to consider:

Taking Territory by surprise activates the flight instinct of the horse! Allot of my students and readers may object to this ritual, but the good news is that this ritual in no way needs to be used to get a perfect relationship going with most horses when using the Waterhole Rituals. However, there is true magic in this ritual for some horses. If done properly, this Ritual will return the free spirit of the horse. It also will bring out his herding instincts to want to connect with you. Many people have brought horses to me so that I could use this Ritual on their horse in order to bring back the horse’s spirit, willingness and innate personality.

Self-Serving Bully Nature vs. Care Taking Nature:

Taking Territory from the horse brings back his natural instincts and he learns to have a care taking nature rather than a self serving bully nature, in regards to you. A bully nature is a natural behavior to most all creatures on earth including humans, until they learn social adjustments and consider the feelings of other living beings. When this happens their behavior and character are developed. Most children are bully’s by nature until they are properly guided in social awareness and sensitivity, which in turn will bring out proper conduct without having to manage it.

A surprising thing is that a sweet horse can also be a bully. Sometimes we overlook this. The way this happens is that the good natured horse becomes the center of attention and he learns how to take control, not paying any attention in how he needs to fit in with others. It isn’t the sweet horse’s fault. What happens is that the sweet horse didn’t have to make any social adjustments, so therefore he is socially inept and will push people around until he is developed socially.

Each horse is different in how you approach gaining respect when you need it. Some horses you cannot use this ritual with because they are aware of where you are at all times. So these horses need to be handled differently.

The Appropriate Approach:

When the timing and approach for Taking Territory are done appropriately your horse will respect you and want to follow your lead with a shocking positive result. If this does not happen right away, your timing and approach is off and you need to stop this pursuit. Taking Territory isn’t something that you drill.  The result of experiencing Taking Territory, in my Method, is a deeper connection and willingness that is fast and immediate. The quick results only take about two or three attempts and than your horse will want to be completely in your pocket and he will begin to try to win your favor. He will be all about you, though there might be times that you will need to reestablish your position with this Ritual. The reason for this is that leadership in animals fluctuates and the pecking order does too. Your position is not set in stone.

Here are some reasons why you do not want to do this ritual without the proper guidance:?

1. It could break the bond you already have for good if done incorrectly.

2. Your horse might become too upset from not being approached in a timely manner and that would cause you to receive no benefit.

3. Your horse might take offense to you asking and become aggressive.

4. You might not be ready for, or capable of, carrying out the Ritual in the proper manner.

5. You could run up to your horse too closely and your horse could charge backwards and kick you.


Does your horse love you?

Do your horses come when they are called?

 photo f09bca66.jpgDo they show you where they’d like to be itched?

Do they follow you wanting more?

If you can’t answer yes to these questions then perhaps you need a relationship reviver! Here’s how you can get a yes to all the above:

1. Give your horse a reason to come when called – a healthy treat (black sunflower seeds are a great low sugar treat) or a bucket feed/hay, some nice grooming/itching and no riding or leaving friends for a while, can make a big difference.

2. Find your horse’s itchy spots – the ones that make their nose wiggle!  Start on the neck, under the mane, around the withers and shoulders before venturing to sensitive areas such as under the belly, between the back legs etc. – take note of any sore or ‘don’t touch me there’ spots and perhaps get an equine body worker to investigate in case there’s a physical issue.

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3. Choose from this list of Top Ten Fun Things to Do with your Horse. It is surprising how easily many riders and horse owners lose track of what’s so grand about horses in the midst of the pressure of competition, economic stresses, and time crunches. All too often we get caught up in the day-to-day “grind” of keeping horses —the ritual feeding, watering, and ….. We have to take a moment to remember that, more than anything else, being with horses is FUN. Most of us came to horses because we love them, and because riding and working with them brings us joy, peace, and fulfillment in ways that little else in life can. It is important to remind ourselves not to take horses and riding JUST seriously. Read the rest of this article from Trafalgar Square Book’s Blog here.

4. Or if you really want to focus on the relationship and take it to the next level, check out – where people learn to be the friend their horse wants them to be and a whole lot more in the process. 


Natural Healing Therapies – Amazing Chia Plant (Part 2) – Andrea Baldwin is an Herbalist and lifelong horse advocate. She is currently studying at David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies to expand her clinical knowledge. Andrea is also pursuing her practitioner certification in Equine Acupressure with Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute.

Last week, we discussed some of the amazing benefits of Chia Plant. We continue and complete the series today in Part 2. Read on and let me know your experiences too.


Chia seeds’ ability to absorb up to 12x their weight in water can help your horse stay hydrated. The balance of electrolytes in the body is assisted by the chia seed’s ability to retain moisture, slowing carbohydrate consumption, a plus for endurance or performance horses.


Chia seeds are high in antioxidants including the flavonoids quercetin and kampherol, which are both anti-inflammatory and help to reduce free radicals in the body. The high levels of antioxidants in the seeds help to stabilize the EFAs in the seeds from rancidity, and not lose their nutritional value, giving it a long shelf life in your feed room.


Chia seeds contain small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, manganese and boron (boron and magnesium work together to increase calcium absorption).

Sacred and Powerful

Historically, chia seeds were considered sacred, used in religious ceremonies and a staple in the diet of the Southwest Native Americans, Aztecs and Mayans. Aztec warriors were able to run long distances powered only by small amounts of chia seeds and water. The commonly known name of Chia was translated from the Aztec word ‘Chian’ which means oily, while the Mayan translation comes from the word ‘Chiabann’ meaning strengthening.

The seeds of the chia plant offer numerous health benefits for your horse packed into a tiny palatable seed.

Disclaimer: We always recommend consultation with your equine vet prior to using any of these natural products.  They are not meant to replace vet care.