Ritual One, Sharing Territory

There is a lot of information to give you to get you started in the first ritual. So bear with it, take pauses to formulate in your mind a picture of what it would look like, come back to it and read more, etc. Also reading the book Naked Liberty will help you see the basic premise of the method. In order to do it successfully, this ritual is the basis or foundation on which the rest of it hangs, so take your time to learn and understand, and then when you go to do it, take your time. This is the most important step so don't skimp on it.

"Having joy for everything as it is, is the first step- and it is a BIG ONE." --C. Resnick

I came across a really good post on Carolyn's blog about a left brain vs. right brain approach. Left brain approach tends toward a linear/logical way of using a technique or set of steps; right brain approach incorporates perhaps some set guidelines but incorporates/utilizes creativity, flexibility, empathy. It is more friendly, less 'if I do 'A,' you must then do 'B' as the only proper response. Here is the post here; it will help you understand the most productive frame of mind when seeking to learn and apply Carolyn's method.


Okay, on to describing each ritual!

Ritual One: Sharing territory to create the bond:

Go to the horse's paddock or pasture, wherever the horse is home. Territory is defined as a space the horse normally occupies, or if the horse must be separated from the herd, the space must have food and water. You just sit in a chair (safer than being on the ground) and read a book, or journal on joyful moments in your life, to create a blissful peaceful in-the-moment 'BEINGNESS' about yourself. You must have no thought of interaction regarding the horse whatsoever, no expectation from the horse, no trying to send him feelings or thoughts. It's just undemanding time, no pressure. You wait for horse to interact but are not expecting it, so that when the horse decides to intereact, the horse is secure and completely focused on you. He becomes curious and then you have 100% of his focus. (scroll to bottom for a very important note on this.)

When the horse approaches you, he is asking "who are you what do you want and how do you operate?" if you interact with him during these questions he can't think well enough to come to his own conclusions. he will approach and retreat.

the next step is he will become rude or push at some point. You actually want the horse to get to this point because you then have a chance to correct him and shape his behavior. It also gives people choices how they respond to that horses behavior and people learn what is appropriate and what is not (people can learn from their mistakes and become better horsepeople).

You may have a horse who is very afraid shy or standoffish. After having spent several session and he still has not approached you, you may feel like he may NEVER approach you and want to speed things up. (It's wonderful to spend several sessions just BEING. But eventually, you want him to approach so you can set proper boundaries and respect.) To help bring him around, you would give him a treat or carrot, then go sit down and put the bag of treats under your chair. He will then know you have the goodies and come over to investigate. This now gives you a chance to shape and correct his behavior.

Beware the horse may eventually bite and your response should be appropriate to the horse in that moment. address the appropriateness of the horse's actions/behaviors as he is acting IN THAT MOMENT. If horse is generally more shy, and he comes to you and gets too close for your comfort, then you can move your chair. Or if he is generally very dominant and especially if he is being VERY pushy or aggressive, you may use your reed or whatever to move him out of your space.

A 'broken,' submissive/spiritless horse comes out of his shell when he reacts with you out of free will. Carolyn tells a story of a horse that was difficult with humans and esp difficult with other horses. at first he attacked her when he was tied to the trailer and she was just out of reach. She got him settled and every day would just sit in the chair in his paddock. He avoided her for a week. then when he finally came up was the sweetest kindest horse in the world. If she'd tried to interface with him too early, it would have taken several months for him to come around. When he learned HE had control over whether he was interfaced with or not, he totally changed.

It can be the only one you need (first ritual) for some horses (namely wild or extremely aggressive horses who have been forced or treated inhumanely). Here is a quote from carolyn from her blog on ritual one and interaction: "

You only to ask her to go away if you think she is being too pushy. Otherwise, you let her interact with you but do not interact with her. What this will cause her to do is to try to get your attention. This will make her be more forward. I want my horses to be forward because it brings about a great spirit in them. When we do though, we need them to develop manners so they are socialable and kind and see you as a leader that they respect and like.
When your horse is too forward, ask her to go. If she comes back and is more respectful, then you have taught her to be polite. You can pet her for a while if she is polite and then go back to reading your book. Just keep working around this relationship. What you are hoping to gain is that she enjoys your company, learns to respect your personal space and that you can spend time in each others company with out too much interaction. Remember though, what you are looking for is sharing space and time doing nothing together while you read. I hope this helps everyone."

Another small quote, "If your horse gets upset with you (for asking him to leave) but not too fearful, it is only temporary when you are not using tack. At liberty, a horse knows if he does not like your leadership direction he can leave. You need to be fine with that."

Also here is another WONDERFUL entry on how we must interact with horses, it's located on her May 7th 2009 blog entry, found at: http://www.carolynresnickblog.com/following-horse-protocol.html

(see call notes for 1a) (note: the call notes for 1a were removed from this site as they contained material that was personal to the participants of the Insider Circle course)

sidenote/prerequisite about introducing the reed to your horse:


. About 5 ft. long. They stand upright but are very flexible. Can order them from her but the shipping is expensive. She uses the ones at Michaels, Pier 1, Any store that sells dried arrangements. The rope is too flimsy, stick too stiff. A reed will get even a 'bombproofed' horse to react to it. swish it all around the horses body without touching him. when the horse walks away, you go get your horse a treat and thank him for walking off. you want him to see the reed and move away.

If the horse is scared of the reed, show it to him, feed it to him, put it behind your back and treat him. swish it once, then hand the treat. guage his disposition to it and act accordingly. don't overly desensitize him to it though.

people tend to adapt to the right energy they need to use the reed because it has life to it.

If you need the reed during rituals, use it.

Reed: Now that you've introduced the reed, now how to use it in the field: walk around the field or arena you rhorse is in, swish it back and forth like a metal detector, stay out of the territory of the horse, in an unpredictable pattern. every once in a while head toward the horse. if horse moves, veer off and go in another direction. so if he's a fearful horse, he understands youll move away from him. if he's a dominant horse, you swish faster and higher up till he moves, then you veer off and go back to your slow sweeping motion. (this is not meant to be a full description of the 'reciprocal movements' exercise which is one certain aspect of sharing territory.)

Once you have obtained and can maintain a peaceful, present-minded state of just being with your horse, and then when you have taught your horse (and yourself!) how to maintaining a safe respectable boundary, then you are ready to move onto the last 'section' or aspect of ritual one sharing territory, which is called 'reciprocal movements.'

a short blurb from Carolyn on Sharing Territory: Always begin with quiet time, sharing territory. the cellular bond is set in the stillness. You may feel as if you feel you've received few benefits from sharing terr. But if youve been able to enjoy this ritual and your horse was at ease, you are getting benefits whether you realize it or not. over time you'll see an improvement in quality of bond. some horses will take longer connecting but its their basic nature to bond with people esp when they are not with their friends which is why I recommend not doing it in with the whole herd.

from this sharing space, he realizes you decide how long he can stay and when he needs to go. this starts the leadership and respect. When you move on to hello, you play the opposite game, the roles are reversed. you develop a 50/50 partnership with you deciding who is leader. each ritual requires a different style of leadership. if the horse comes to you you can be direct by not taking no for an answer. if you approach your horse, you must allow him to direct you. to be successful, use your skills in parenting, partnering, leading following making proper judgement and supporting your horse. by making mistakes you will hone your skill from your horses response and reaction from your attempt to develp the magnetic connection.

always use the first ritual along with the others. the time spent in ritual one is as long as the time spent in other rituals. keep up regular program of riding and training as well.

you set your boundaries by how you feel and what is safe at the moment. the horse is aware that by being soft and slow he can remove the boundaries if he has permission. horses can only learn the rules by breaking them. if the horse is too polite it will be fixed in the next phase. you walk around in the environment, move your horse away sometimes, when he goes away, you walk away from him. if he wont move, he has lost his instincts. you pursue him until he's willing, then walk away and back to sharing terr. The rule is anytime you walk into his personal space with the intent of him moving, he should move. when the horse can do this you can start with hello ritual. when the horse learns when you are herding, and when you are greeting, he is ready for taking territory. this will connect him to his herding instinct that may have been removed but which he needs in order for you to dance with him in liberty. Like the black stallion. magnetic connection.

back to reciprocal movements: What is reciprocal movement?

Carolyn says: its in the book Naked Liberty, in the section Leader of Leaders, about Ray Hapworth...I was boarding with him on vacation, he had a stallion hateful and fearful of human beings. He'd be 'fixing the paddock' walking back and forth across the paddock, going around the stallion showing him he respected the stallion, then he'd cross back again and this time he'd ask the stallion to move out of his way, taking turns each time. Sharing territory but instead of in the chair, you're doing it out the chair." You've put the clumps of food around, 12 feet apart, you are ambling forward, just moseying around the paddock similar to how a horse would do if he were browsing, eyes on the ground, you have your reed out in front of you slowly swishing at ground level back and forth, when you get close to horse, asking her with your body language (moving the world like a ball under your feet, ie, walking with confidence and using your intention) for her to move, if she doesn't move, then bring your energy, chi, intention etc up while you swish your reed higher and faster until she moves on. When she moves on, veer off in whatever direction that is away from her to let her know she did the right thing by moving off. Our proper definition of 'reciprocal' in this case is 'opposite.' sometimes you move the horse, sometimes, though, you do the opposite and you move out of HER way. for example if she is walking towards your haypile where you are standing, you back down and let her move you. Or you simply walk around her on your way from one pile to another, not moving her. You are successful once the horse can reliably understand your intent in different situations (one being you are going to move her, versus another instance when you are not).
Your horse's personality and behavior will dictate your movement. For a shy horse, fearful horse or a horse whose confidence you want to build, you would seldom move him, but instead, move out of his way  more often, saying hello more often. For an aggressive pushy dominant  horse, you would move him way more than you would let him move you or move out of his way.

Additional reading from carolyn's blog on reciprocal movements and how to build a bond and interaction with the horse that means something to him (wonderful blog post!):


*note on the state of mind you want to achieve in this ritual: from Carolyn's blog:
"I want to address what I mean by companion energy. It is metaphysical, scientific and relates to quantum physics. It is tangible but not that you can touch it. It is tangible because it can be measured. It is a vibration.

"Matter and vibration influence each other. In matter, there is magnetic vibration that occurs between two objects, in time they will synchronize and form a connection. When this happens love, communication and trust are the outcome.

"If you are creating all kinds of vibrations, like wishing your horse would come to you, sending telepathic messages, or being distracted with other thoughts or feelings while sharing territory, you cannot connect as deeply. Also, if you are doing some activity with your horse like grooming, cleaning, or maintaining your paddock, at this point of the method, there is too much going on to have a cellular connection take place and mature.

"The rhythms and juices you have in your body need to match the rhythms and juices of your horse in moments of the “pause” in companionship. When this happens communication is instinctively understood by you both.

To dance at liberty you need to have shared vibrations and energy to stay connected. The “pause” will bring you knowledge in how to do that." (Here's a good post from Carolyn's blog that talks about how/why the pause cements the bond and synchs you to your horse and your horse to you)


Here is a good blog post from Carolyn's site on how to go about building that bond using the first ritual (located in the October 2010 archives on her site):


Here's another good blog post on state of mind and doing these rituals (namely the first one):