The Waterhole Rituals Dance the Salsa Through Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

I kick started this year with a clinic in Costa Rica and what an amazing experience it was!  The clinic was hosted by Nancy Zintsmaster along with five of her seven horses.  Participants came from various regions of Costa Rica, England, and the United States (Ohio, Connecticut, and North Carolina).  

I have never had a more beautiful setting for a horse clinic, but let’s face it….  who else has a home with a 360 degree view on top of a mountain with an arena that overlooks the Arenal Volcano?  It was an absolutely breathtaking experience to watch the landscape turn a variety of colors as the day went by.

Putting it lightly, all of Nancy’s horses had previously lived in undesirable environments.   Despite the fact that Nancy had taken very good care of her rescue horses, they were still very disconnected from people.  Each horse willingly came to the arena but when the tack came off and they were free to express themselves, it was clear that they wanted no part of us!  Nancy’s Andalusian mare is named Luz.  She is the mother of Sheva, Pizazz, and Willie, a 2 year old stallion.  Luz was extremely shy and also Pizzaz.  Sheva and Willie were not quite so shy, yet they were clearly distrustful of humans.  There was also Apache a beautiful paint that had previously been a victim of forceful handling.  He was friendlier than the others, but did not really trust humans either.  Nancy shared with me that Luz had mothered numerous foals (as many as ten) and was just a bag of bones eating rocks while she nursed Willie.  Nancy found Luz and nursed her back to health.  Although the horses had emerged from their depression, they couldn’t get over their inability to trust humans. These horses clearly had never experienced a connection or positive relationship with people.

The Carolyn Resnick Method of Natural Horsemanship is a method of connection in which the horse initiates the relationship.  This did not happen on the first nor the second day of our clinic.  It was not until the third day that most of the horses expressed curiosity about us and came over to explore who we were.  They also let us approach them with a “hello” and allowed us to scratch the areas of their bodies that they couldn’t reach.  By the fourth day, we could see their ears poking up toward the arena as they approached from the pasture below.  It seemed as if they were asking, “What was going on up there and when can we have a turn?” On the fifth day, we ended the clinic with five willing partners, each connected to humans in a way that had never seemed possible to them. Their life with humans had crossed the Rubicon and a new world of connection and relationship had begun.

Vanessa from England with Luz

Vanessa from England with Luz

This clinic was unique in many ways.  First of all, it was an all-inclusive package with lodging, food, activities and an optional 3 or 5 day clinic in the Waterhole Rituals.  Activities included zip lining, horseback riding, walking on hanging bridges, a tram ride, kayaking, hiking, white water rafting, a river drift (zip line/river tubing combo), all through the rain forest.  Yoga classes were offered each morning and everyone received a massage. Our host (Nancy) performed flawlessly as she organized the clinic, our accommodations and our activities.  She provided a beautiful setting for an amazing clinic.  Thank you Nancy!

For more information about the July Clinic in Costa Rica, contact Nancy Zintsmaster at

Feels good to be blogging again!  Have a great rest of the week.


Linda Salinas6 Comments