Saying Hello to a Horse is Not as Easy as One May Think

One of the rituals that horses perform with each other is to say “hello.”  They perform this greeting in a very specific manner.  It is one of my favorite rituals to teach because it offers such valuable feedback.

While attending one of my Texas clinics, a participant was having great difficulty in comprehending The Waterhole Rituals which are rituals that horses use to relate to one another.  After participating in the clinic for several days, she shared that she didn’t remember the rituals nor did she understand them. She had received prior training in another method of horsemanship and the adjustment to a new way of thinking was difficult for her.  Each time she entered the arena she always made a joke and made everyone laugh.  I was puzzled by her behavior and comments but did everything I could to help.  On the final day, I volunteered to put her in the arena and coach her through each of the rituals one by one.  While attempting to perform the hello ritual, this participant could not get her equine companion to acknowledge her.  This horse was eating hay in the arena.  Each time she approached the horse to say hello, the horse would not look up let alone greet her.  I watched intently, correcting her energy and body language in order for her to get a successful“hello” from the horse.  On the final attempt,  her body language looked good, her pace was good, everything was spot on, yet the horse barely lifted her head.  My client said that it did not feel like a nice greeting.  I agreed and asked her directly what she thought was missing.  She quietly looked at me and said “genuineness.”  After this confession, the horse moved away from the food and walked straight over to be with her.  Until this moment, I had been unable to put my finger on what had been missing.  Now I understood why she had been having such difficulty in getting the horse to acknowledge her.  Up until this point, she had not been open nor had she been fully present in the moment.   With this realization, she walked away and wept.  Yet again, we had all just witnessed another example of self realization through the training of horses. 

At my clinics, you will learn to be fully present with yourself and your horse.  I will teach you to connect with horses without the use of tack, restraint, or force.  As you begin your relationship at liberty, you will develop trust, inspire respect, encourage willingness, and form a lasting bond as you magnetically connect with horses. 

This year I will be conducting clinics in the United States, Canada, and abroad.  For more information about upcoming clinics, please visit my website at  There will be no blog next week as I will be teaching a clinic in Costa Rica.  

Have a great two weeks and remember to be as genuine with your animals as they are with you.          Linda 

Linda Salinas8 Comments