What I learned about Resnick’s Waterhole Rituals…

"With the Resnick method, you start with liberty. You don't start with the round pen or small confinement to arrive at liberty later". Bingo!! This statement grabbed my attention! How many trainers tell us the round pen is "it" and that liberty comes later, only after gaining the horse's trust in the round pen first? And yet, when I was a child, I played with my horse countless hours at liberty, playing catch and hide-and-go-seek, no tack, no round pen (we didn't even have an arena). Sometimes I took my horse for walks along the trail, no rope, no halter. I had complete trust from and in my horse that he would stick with me and would never run away! Resnick's method reminded me of my own childhood with horses, when horse "training" was playful and fun.

It's a lovely book Carolyn Resnick has written. I can so relate to her stories. With a very catchy, intriguing title "Naked Liberty" it may not be what you expect (yes, it really is about training horses, in case you wondered). Carolyn's memoirs of her childhood horse "Mustang" remind me so much of my own childhood spent with my horse "Many". I had even started writing a book about my horse adventures at the young age of 14; because I was so thrilled with my horse's friendship. Carolyn's experiences of getting to know wild horses and learning their behaviors helped her be accepted into their herd, which is how she formulated her Waterhole Rituals horse training.

I had been curious to read Carolyn's book for a while and was delighted when it was gifted to me by participating in a clinic in Chilliwack, B.C. recently (see picture taken at clinic, Karin, left). The clinic was held by Sharolyn Wandzura (centre)  from Ears Forward at a farm called Four Horse Healing owned by Irene Attema (right). It was a great clinic; I learned about the Waterhole Rituals, met some wonderful people, and will never forget dancing at liberty with the lovely horse, Sugar (picture) in the warm October sun. I do hope to return to another clinic next year. This has been amazing, I had lots of insights and fun!

One of my insights is that the Resnick horse training method has many similarities that apply to Equine Facilitated Personal Development. For example, sitting and "sharing territory" with a herd will not only connect you to horses but will allow you time and space for your own inner awareness; it can be great for grounding yourself. Who hasn't fallen into the trap of trying to control too much of what simply cannot be controlled in life? Imagine evolving to the point of letting go of the "need" to control everything and actually being okay with it and eventually flowing with it; a true "shift" for those who have struggled with this for a life time. As a professional life coach and counsellor I have utilized exercises like this to promote self-care, inner strength, healing and recovery from unhealthy conditioning. Other very interesting exercises I would utilize in my practice include Resnick's relationship, trust, and leadership building exercises. I am therefore combining parts of Waterhole Rituals with my life coaching and equine assisted therapy practice with clients as well as with horse training.

If you're interested to learn more, experience a session or have questions about your horse or life, feel free to contact me! There is so much to share and explore in this Horse Journey and I'm happy to be a part of it playing a positive, supportive role.

If you would like to explore Your Journey further…

Questions, or interested in experiencing Equine Facilitated Coaching and Personal Development sessions in Kelowna? Please contact Karin Bauer, BSW, by calling 250-860-1964 or karin@horsejourney.com

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