Eve connects with Shiloh through the WHR method of Carolyn Resnick
Yesturday my daughter was preparing to go and Share Territory, one of the phases that we practice from Carolyn Resnicks Water Hole Rituals, to create a connection with your horse where he is happy to be with you of his own free will. It is a beautiful experience when this magical connection is made.
However Evie, my 15 year old daughter, was having problems connecting with Shiloh. He just couldn't careless about her and was ignoring her, it was kind of hurting her feelings, even though I explained it wasn't personal. see it through his eyes, you needed to make yourself interesting, perk his curiousity. I know Shiloh, he is very smart, and if he feels you are not really paying attention to him and his feelings, he disconnects and walks away, he likes and needs to be the center of attention, not so much physically but mentally and emotionally.
She asked me what she should do with him today. So I suggested start with Sharing Territory then do the "Intimacy Bucket" which consists of you sitting quietly in your chair with a bucket of carrots of other goodies. This will attract the shy horse or uninterested horse, yet at the sametime he will learn to respect your space and only eat in the bucket when you give him permission, he must then lift his head out of the bucket when asked and remain quiet waiting for the next sign that he can eat again, if he is too pushy you make him step back or even send him away if necessary. I explained how she could ask him to lift his head up from the bucket, then cross her arms over the bucket to block his access to the goodies and so on. So off she went, grumbling "He just doesn't like me, I know it!" But Evie is quite the determined girl and I knew she would figure out a way.
2 hours later she comes up to me with the biggest smile on her face! "Mum, I don't know if I did it right, but I changed it a bit. At first he totally ignored me, wouldn't come to me in the chair at all! So I went up and stood near him, mirroring every movement he made, no matter how small. At first he didn't even glance at me, but after awhile he must have thought, what does she think she is doing? After a bit more of this he looked in my direction and I backed a step away, he then leaned towards me and I took several slow steps back, and he started to step towards me! I then walked to the chair, calling and inviting him, and he followed me all the way to the chair! With that I was soooo happy I sat in the chair and let him have all the carrots one time, I didn't want to break the moment!"
All I could answer was "Perfect! You improvised naturally to the moment, this is a sign of a good trainer, you knew when to stop and you connected! Bravo! Next time do that and he will be waiting for you at the gate."
Proud Mummy? Yes of course, but more than that I am happy for both of them, that they connected, now the dance can begin!