“Focus your attention on the area of the heart... and say yes if you find horses there!” - Christina Marz
Do you want to experience a wonderful relationship with horses? A relationship that is safe, respectful, and fulfilling for both you and the horse?
It’s easier said than done and you do NOT need more time, you do NOT have to do another course, or hire a trainer. The exercise I am going to share is so simple that it almost hurts, given the huge impact it creates in the herd. I was blown away when I noticed the consistently immense change this exercise has on every herd.
As you might know, I teach Horse Guided Empowerment®, an innovative method for coaching and therapy with a herd of horses. In the course, all my students have to study Natural Horsemanship and learn to collaborate with their horses. For some of them, that comes easy and natural. Others are athletes and have only seen horses in the box or in the arena. Others have rescued a couple of horses, only to find out they are terrified of humans and flee to the far side of the paddock every time they approach.
Over the years, I have coached hundreds of horse owners with their herds and the results are the same, every time. Once they apply this simple activity, their relationship changes. The horses become more interested and more engaged. They trust, they seek our company, and they express their opinion (which is very important for me).
First of all, it is not miraculous. The activity is based on natural horse behavior and herd psychology. Several horse trainers such as Carolyn Resnick, Stina Herberg or Pat Parelli, recommend this to their students. KF Hempfling talked about these activities 20 years ago and Linda Tellington-Jones applies them throughout her entire philosophy.
Yet, they are so simple, that every horse owner can apply them today, without making any major changes to their daily routine, schooling method, or activities.
Carolyn Resnick calls the activity Sharing Territory. Carolyn says it is about developing a relationship with the horse by doing nothing. Pat Parelli (later) called this Undemanding Time.
You will do this not with one horse, but with your entire herd.
It sounds very easy and it is, as soon as you let go of your mental chatter, or your expectations and your previous knowledge.
That´s right. You need to let go of your expectations. I know that I promised a changed relationship, but FIRST, you need to “want nothing”.
The best strategy to achieve this is to focus on something else and not pay attention to your horses. Did you know that a herd will choose the least needy as their preferred partner to hang out? You need to be the least needy in the pasture. Which is SO HARD and completely different from your previous interactions with horses. When we visit them, we have a plan in our head, such as riding, checking on them, feeding, feeling loved, or taking care.
This time, YOU WANT NOTHING.
“When we do nothing we allow the herd to include us in their reality.” - Christina Marz
Carolyn Resnick recommends bringing a book into the paddock and spend about 30 minutes reading. You should not look at the herd, not even mentally (= thinking about them).
Why? Because this gives the herd a chance to check you out, in their terms. You will become a curiosity, and horses are naturally curious. It will give shy horses the space to feel safe and make their own, informed decisions.
It may take several sessions before the horses actually come close to you, but that is not even the goal. The goal is to do nothing for at least 30 minutes and have your horses notice that. Like, “oh, look at that, the wiggly human can sit still, that is so soothing!”
Right, that can happen. Especially if you bribe them with carrots all the time. Stop doing that! You are not a feeding machine, you are a companion. If the horses are pushy, send them away. They need to learn that you have boundaries and you need to learn to set them. You can bring a long driving whip or a Parelli Carrot Stick and make them go away. Don’t apologize, don’t become angry. Just protect your space as a lead horse would protect his grazing space from intrusive mouths.
Your horses are either independent or scared. If you can walk between them and touch them easily, they are independent but trusting and you have most likely been doing lots of sharing territory already. Thanks for reading this anyway! You are awesome.
If they flee, try the activity in a smaller paddock, where they are always in sight but free to roam around. They will come, but it might take a while. The less you want it to happen, the more likely it will happen. Give them 5 sessions – if there is no change please reach out to me (find my social media handles below) and I will help you find out what is going on.
Intrigued and interested to learn more? Thank you. I was waiting for you to say that. I´ve written a comprehensive guide for this and a couple of other activities that will deepen your relationship with horses. Please fill in the form and I´ll send it to you for free.
Now, off you go to share territory.
I can’t wait to hear your success story. Please send me pictures, I might hire your herd into our program and facilitate a Horse Guided Empowerment® workshop with them!
With care, Christina
Enjoy living your dreams.
"Hello there, nice to meet you! I am your mentor for making dreams come true. Raised in Germany, I moved to the Andes of Ecuador 20 years ago. I am an independent entrepreneur and homeschool Mom of 3 awesome boys. I am driven by curiosity and passion, and I am inspired by calm connectedness. My name is Christina Marz, founder of MarzMethod, Horse Guided Empowerment®, and the Sin Miedo© Foundation."
My early years were no walk in the park but luckily, horses helped me gain assertive calmness and today I am living my dreams all the way. Let me guide you to find and achieve yours! Talk soon, Christina