Horse as Teacher
Horse as Teacher
Horse As Teacher

Horse As Teacher, The Path to Relationship is now available for purchase. Click here for details!

Our Services
Join Us
We Recommend

Our Site for Personal & Professional Growth
Empowering women from the inside out. Experience horses helping humans heal!

Click here to visit Unbridling Your Brilliance...

Archive for the ‘Horse Training Tips’ Category

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.

Professional Business Virtual Assistant Services 

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. 


Horses are not a toy!… And introducing Dr. Allan Hamilton

I think we all know that horses are not a toy – they are a commitment and really, more like a lifestyle. Klaus Hempfling elaborates more in his latest video:


What are your thoughts?

In the final screen he says, “Only if you are sure you can satisfy the enormous needs and demands of a horse regarding space, time, knowledge, experience, your personality and physical condition and also financial expenses.”

In considering taking  horse into your life – it’s more about the physical and tangible (space, money, time) but your emotional, mental and spiritual capacity.

A film featuring…Dr. Allan Hamilton

Healing WITH horses (vs healing horses) is an area that is starting to pick up some steam in arena of public awareness. Why is this happening? Perhaps it’s the exploration of different areas to help heal emotional and spiritual (as well as physical) aspects of ailments or maybe it just simply is becoming more widespread. We have heard from Dr.Hamilton before – he had a feature on NBC news on how he invites medical students to his ranch to learn about experiential development and how it will benefit their journey in becoming doctors.

I am thrilled to discover that he has a film on his work as well as featuring some of those who have benefited from his facilitation.

Please visit this website for more about the film, “Playing with Magic”. 


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.

Wintertime Groundwork Review (Part 2 of 3)

Leading Willingly Without Pressure on the Lead Rope

If you find yourself having to drag on the rope to get your horse to move, step back until you are behind his shoulder and drive him forward with the end of the lead rope. Then ask him to follow you once he is moving. Even well-trained horses can get lazy. If a horse is dull on the lead rope he’s likely to be dull under saddle. Proper leading keeps your horse light and responsive.

Longeing in a Circle Around You

Teaching your horse to walk, trot, and canter a 20 meter circle is time well spent. You may not always have access to a round pen and longing is an excellent way to help your horse get focused and work off a little extra energy before being ridden. Never allow your horse to plunge wildly around on the end of the longe line, but a few gentle crow hops can help your horse work out any kinks in his system. During longing ensure that your horse keeps his attention on you and his nose tipped toward you, and that he maintains the correct bend on the circle.

Rolling the Hind End (Turn on the Forehand)

Once your horse is moving forward freely on the longe line or lead rope you can tighten the circle and ask your horse to disengage his hindquarters by stepping across and under his body with the inside hind leg. This movement is like stepping on the clutch in a standard transmission vehicle. It prepares the horse for a new speed or direction. This maneuver is particularly valuable in disciplines where speed and turning are required.

Bringing the Front End Around (Turn on the Haunches)

After your horse has rolled his hind end by stepping up under his body with his inside hind leg, he should be positioned to bring his front end around to complete the change of direction. As your horse’s head crosses the line in front of your body, extend your leading hand in the new direction and step up to what was the horse’s outside shoulder. This drives rather than pulls the horse in the new direction. It takes practice to develop the correct timing for these moves and, in the beginning, it is fine for the horse to bend his body as he moves into the new direction. As his skills improve he will be able to execute a more correct turn on the forehand or turn on the haunches with straightness through the neck and ribcage.

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.”

Wintertime Groundwork Review (Part 1 of 3)

The beauty of groundwork is that you can use it to fine-tune the relationship between you and your horse at any time, especially if the weather is foul or you don’t have time for a full riding session. These basic groundwork exercises set the stage for work under saddle and allow you to introduce new concepts to your horse in a safe environment. Be sure to do all of them from both sides. As you do these exercises, it is important to introduce variety into your work and avoid dwelling on exercises your horse has mastered. It is equally important to break difficult exercises into smaller steps that your horse can more easily handle.

You can spend an entire session just on groundwork or eventually incorporate these exercises into your daily routine with your horse. Many top trainers do groundwork as they lead a horse in from the pasture, as they tack up, or as they walk from the barn to the arena. After a while, groundwork can become second nature to you and your horse—like a graceful language that you both speak without words—and the benefits are immense and amazing. Before you decide that groundwork is either tedious or boring, give it a try. You’ll be quickly surprised by the positive results. The exercises covered in this Basic Groundwork section include:

  • Leading
  • Longeing
  • Rolling the Hind
  • Bringing the Front End Around
  • Backing
  • Backing in Circles
  • Transitions

My thanks to Buck Brannaman—many of these exercises are adapted from and based on those described in hisGroundwork book. Please refer to his book for excellent pictures of many of these exercises.

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.”

Groundwork Exercises for Gentling (Part 3 of 3)


This exercise is specifically aimed at teaching your horse to stay calm and relaxed if he gets caught in wire. You will need an assistant for the second half of this exercise. Start by placing the loop of your lariat around the pastern of one of his front legs. Hold the lead rope with one hand while using your other hand to apply pressure to the lariat. When your horse allows you to move his foot forward with the lariat, release the pressure, and pet him. Repeat this process and move his foot a little further forward each time. Eventually you should be able to lead your horse by his front foot. Repeat this exercise on the other front foot.

Next you want to teach your horse to yield his back feet in response to pressure on the rope. It’s a good idea to wear leather gloves and chaps to prevent rope burns and bruises for this exercise. Have your assistant take a loop of the lead rope around a stout fence post and stand on the opposite side of the fence or use a long rope so he can stand more than a horse body length from where your horse is tied. Now place the loop of your lariat around one of your horse’s back pasterns. Stand about 15 feet away from your horse and gently apply pressure at a 30 degree angle out behind your horse. Ask him to pick his foot off the ground in response to pressure from the rope. His first reaction will probably be to kick violently to free his foot. This is exactly the action that causes such severe injury when a horse gets caught in wire. Don’t try to stop your horse from kicking but keep enough tension on the rope that your horse can’t kick the loop off. Release the rope as soon as your horse stops kicking. Again ask your horse to yield his foot and relax the rope at the slightest response, such as resting the foot on the toe and letting you drag it backward. Your goal is to have your horse lift each back foot in response to the rope pressure and to hold his foot up with no resistance. This may take several sessions so be patient. In addition to preventing injury, this exercise also helps your horse learn how to balance on three legs.

Why Groundwork?

I’ve listed only a few of the many exercises you can do with your horse in preparation for saddle training or as a review on days when you can’t ride. Not only will your horse develop more self-confidence but he will learn to trust you as well!

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.”


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 »

Why Natural Horsemanship Works

Natural horsemanship works because it recognizes that it is easier for a horse to understand what we want them to do if we communicate to them in a language they already understand, rather than attempting to teach them our language.

The eye is the window of the soul

is a method of teaching and interacting with horses based on trust, respect and communication, in a language the horse can understand, rather than using fear, intimidation and mechanical devices. Read the rest of this entry »