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Archive for the ‘Horse Communication’ Category

Five Ways to Impress Your Horse…Emotionally

Reference: This article originally appeared in the Riva’s Remedies newsletter.

1. Be emotionally fit

Don’t allow your horse to push your buttons, raise your blood pressure; make you yell or cause you to lose your temper. Horses are fully aware of your emotional state at all times and some of them have complete mastery over your reactions. They’re in control; you’re out of control. Every time you become unglued they win and you lose. It’s a life lesson for everything you do – let them teach you well.

2. Communicate with your horse

If your horse is showing signs of impatience, un-cooperation and irritability seek out the underlying cause be it physical, emotional and/or spiritual. Too many times it’s blamed on attitude but attitude always has a reason. Horses, like all sentient beings need to be listened to – on all levels!

3. Know what fun is

All horses have a big play drive which motivates much of their behavior. If you don’t have a sense of humour you will not only misinterpret their actions but you will miss out on a lot of fun and adventure. Smile at everything they do whether it is desired behavior or not. Then play with them.

4. Just be

Horses spend the majority of their time “hanging out” with the herd. Since they see you as a herd member (albeit with two legs, bare skin and weird body coverings) they rightfully expect you to you to be a “being”, not a “doing”. Spend quality time with them with no demands, no commands and no tasks.  “To be” is a state of mind that horses clearly understand.

5. Raise your consciousness

Know that horses are divine beings but are also driven by biological instincts and urges which can cause them to be unkind and inconsiderate to their herd members at times, including you. The Animal Kingdom is not perfect. Surprise them by setting your intention to change their behaviour from negative to positive and then show them ways to bring out their goodness by raising their vibration…and yours.


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. 


Klaus F Hempfling – Body as a Communicator

In my other area of doing coaching and empowerment work, I have horses as facilitators. They work with their human partners to help them discover what’s “inside”. In this video, Klaus explores his philosophy of the body as a manifestation of the soul. In my Unbridling Your Brilliance programs, our horse facilitators help their human partners reveal the ways their body speaks to the world. The language of the body may be too subtle for human senses but horses pick up on it immediately – and give us instant feedback on it. It’s a wonderfully experiential and intimate way to reveal your hesitation, fears, insecurities…yet at the same time gives participants a safe way to explore their leadership skills and self-esteem and really build it from within.


Klaus F Hempfling: Healing Aggressive Stallion

Klaus F Hempfling , like myself, uses energies, read cues to work with horses in an intuitive and non-aggressive way. He’s based in Europe where he has a wide range of programming, for horses and humans!

Check out his website for more information on his work:

In his words…

“The author of ‘Dancing With Horses’ teaches the principles of primal life, against the background of both the mythological and the real horse. He emphasizes the importance of totally honest self-assessment and self-knowledge and both mental and physical self-control, demonstrating how a misplaced or misunderstood feeling, glance, posture, attitude or movement can make the difference between success and failure in the relationship with a horse.'”

In this great video, a beautiful dance of healing relationship where man is working with the horse from the inside out.  Staying clear in his intention to be unconditional and accepting in whatever shows up in front of him.

Does your horse trust you (Part 2 of 2)

Improving Your Horse’s Balance
As a prey animal, your horse will feel uncomfortable unless he knows that he can move quickly and efficiently to escape from predators, regardless of the fact that he no longer lives in the wild. You can help your horse feel safe by helping his body stay supple and balanced over all four feet. For instance, take the time to correct your horse when he tries to push you around while you are on the ground, or when he leans around a corner under saddle. The indications may be subtle, but these small moments of being off balance can actually cause your horse to feel uncomfortable and unsafe. You can help your horse feel safe and secure with proper ground work and exercises under saddle that teach him to use his body in the balanced way. Eventually, your horse will begin to associate these good feelings with you, and will be well on his way to trusting you.

Controlling the Fight or Flight Instinct
Horses are easily frightened. If your horse becomes frightened and you allow his fear to escalate unchecked, he can easily become a danger to himself or others. A horse’s natural fear response is to raise his head, drop his back, and tense his muscles in preparation for flight. In a natural setting, he would then run until he was out of danger, and then relax and resume grazing. You can actually use the last step of this instinctive sequence to diffuse your horse’s fear response. When your horse becomes fearful, simply encourage him to lower his head. When a horse lowers his head and assumes the grazing posture, he automatically relaxes. With practice, you can teach your horse to lower his head on cue. More importantly, your horse will begin to associate you with this feeling of relaxation, another piece in the foundation of trust that you want to build with your horse.

The Foundation of Trust 
Training and riding skills are very important in working with horses, but at the end of the day nothing is more important than trust. It’s important to spend time with your horse and get to know the different facets of his personality. However, time alone will not create trust. Unless you establish and continuously establish your position as leader, protector, and comforter, the time you spend with your horse will not necessarily result in trust. Ultimately, nothing is more important to the relationship than how your horse feels when he is with you.

About the Author

Madalyn Ward, DVM, owns Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic in Austin, Texas. She is certified in Veterinary Homeopathy and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinay Medical Association and the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. She has authored several books and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Holistic Horsekeeping.”

Does your horse trust you? (Part 1 of 2)

Trust and like are two very different qualities, especially when it comes to your horse. Many horses like but don’t always trust their owners. Well-known horsemanship clinician Tom Dorrance feels that a horse’s trust for his owner is the foundation of the relationship. If your horse doesn’t trust you then his instinct for self-preservation will supersede everything else, which means that in a scary situation he will tend to react based on instinct rather than turning to you for guidance. This kind of lightning-fast reaction can easily injure you or your horse.

A horse’s lack of trust can also show up in less volatile situations. A horse has three basic needs: to be cared for, protected, and comforted. Each time you fail to meet one of these needs your horse will feel that he is alone and that he can’t trust you—a dangerous feeling for a herd animal. In response, you horse is likely to buddy up with other horses and may become barn sour or develop other behavioral issues. A horse with trust issues will often have digestive and immune system weaknesses. On the training front, not taking the time to build an initial foundation of trust can result in problems such as running through the bit, balking, rearing, or bucking.

So how do you develop this all-important foundation of trust with your horse? Unfortunately there is no simple answer. Luckily there are some good places to start including developing leadership skills, improving your horse’s balance, and controlling your horse’s fight or flight instinct.

Developing Your Leadership
When you develop a relationship with a horse you become a part of his herd, so it’s important to establish yourself as the leader of that herd. A horse who is unsure of your leadership will continually test you. This testing could be as subtle as nudging you with his nose or as blatant as walking all over you. The question is whether you can pass the test. You may think you are being kind when you ignore your horse’s attempts to invade your space, but in reality you are causing him to be unsure of his position in the herd. Correcting your horse when he invades your space is not about punishment but about giving clear and consistent direction about which kinds of behavior are acceptable and which are not. More sensitive horses will back off in response to light pressure while others will require a much stronger form of correction. The goal is to offer enough correction to prevent the horse from testing your leadership again; otherwise you are just nagging your horse and will have correct him over and over. Once your horse is clear about who is in charge, he will relax and begin to trust you.

About the Author

Madalyn Ward, DVM, owns Bear Creek Veterinary Clinic in Austin, Texas. She is certified in Veterinary Homeopathy and Equine Osteopathy. Memberships include American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinay Medical Association and the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. She has authored several books and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Holistic Horsekeeping.”

Horses Help Troubled Youth

This is an article I read on We are starting a Youth program this year so I thought this was a good article to explain the work we do with the horses. Please visit for info on all the different types of programs we offer, not just for Youth.

Click here to read out our specialized Youth program called Youth with purpose…A new Kind of HorsepowerTM


Horses Help Troubled Youth

Many youngsters exposed to abuse and trauma are turning to horses in order to confront their emotional issues. A horse doesn’t judge you. A horse doesn’t answer you back; it just listens, which is sometimes exactly what’s needed. Horses have a way of getting kids to smile and let their guard down – something that may be difficult to achieve through a traditional therapy session – even with the help of a trained and experienced counselor.

Some teens express that certain types of therapy did not work for them. Whether it is because they have a hard time trusting, letting down their guard, or are just not ready to face their demons, traditional therapy is not for everyone. Horses can be a very calming force. They are very in-tune to Read the rest of this entry »


By Faye Birkin

Sometimes we as riders, lose sight of the concept of riding just because we love it.  We get stuck  in the rut of thinking that we always need to be doing something ‘worthwhile’ like schooling, training, working towards a showing event or sometimes even that awful ‘obligatory feeling’  of having to ride because we feel bad that we haven’t ridden enough and our horse needs to ‘get out’.

I guarantee you that your horse doesn’t care about all these reasons in the slightest.  The only thing he can really appreciate is when you spend quality one-on-one time with him.  No pressure, no expectations, no rules or preconceived ideas… just being one with him.

It is often during these un-structured, un-scheduled and un-forced moments, that the greatest Read the rest of this entry »