HORSES DESIRE CONNECTION
Earlier today, I received a telephone call from a woman who had previously hosted an Introduction to the Waterhole Rituals clinic. She invited me to teach another introductory clinic and expressed her surprise that some people don't realize how beneficial it is to take the intro clinic more than once. Undoubtedly, no two clinics are ever the same. Yes, clinics teach us about horses but they also teach us about ourselves. We all know that it takes time and effort to forge a good partnership but we sometimes forget that it takes time and effort to develop the personal awareness that we need to be good partners as well.
Horses have a strong inborn desire to bond and connect. It gives me great joy to look out my window and watch my horses while they frolic and play. Horses don't waste their time practicing or rehearsing. This makes me wonder why WE are so concerned about their performance. Some people act as if their own self-worth is dependent upon what their horses can do! For a healthy relationship to exist, we don't need performance but we do need connection. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy balance between the two as my horse Shadow knows all too well....
I had been teaching Shadow to jump at liberty. I understand that Shadow is not a natural jumper but he does love to learn new things. I started by asking him to simply walk over a piece of PVC pipe lying on the ground. His goal was to walk over the pipe without touching it with his feet. When he could do this with ease, Iraised the pipe. When he could comfortably walk over the jump, we began trotting over the jump. He loved it and began to build up both speed and confidence. Unfortunately due to rainy and cold weather, we had to suspend our lessons for awhile. When the weather was finally nice enough for us to play again, I set up the jump. Unfortunately in my eagerness, I set the jump at the height that Shadow had previously jumped. Shadow eagerly rushed toward the jump and banged his feet, scaring himself in the process. I quickly realized that I had made a big mistake. Although I lowered the jump all the way to the ground, Shadow wanted no part of it. I asked a couple of times but Shadow clearly avoided the jump. Since I was able to focus on relationship (not performance), I removed the jump altogether and we began a different activity that I knew Shadow would enjoy. My horse always has a voice in our play time because our focus is on connection, not performance. I understand Shadow quite well. If I don't push the matter, he will be willing to jump again.
The Waterhole Rituals allow you to create a working bond with your horse. Building a connection with your horse is a journey not a destination. Every horse and every human are different. The relationship you share with your horse is unique. The Waterhole Rituals are designed for you to build a relationship with your horse using a language he can understand. Learning a new language is a life-long process which takes time and commitment; a 3 day clinic is just the beginning.
To offer my students the best possible experience, I continue my studies with Carolyn Resnick, who designed the Waterhole Rituals based on her observations of wild horses. As a perpetual student of the horse, I also take clinics offered by others (that I respect and admire) to enhance my journey with horses as well.
I do love the journey! Hopefully our destination is far, far away!
Have a great rest of the week,
Linda & Her Herd of 8