I have been thinking a lot about resistance lately as a result of starting to work with a new horse. This particular horse is quite a pushy fellow who resists doing anything that he doesn’t want to do and I am learning a lot about myself by working with him.

What he brings to mind for me is all the ways in which I resist things in life: change, ideas, people, or situations. He also teaches me that I can create resistance in him (and those around me) if I come to the relationship with preconceived notions of the results that I want and do not have the patience and creativity to seek collaboration. I can forget to stay open to the possibilities of a better outcome than what I imagined; when I sacrifice the relationship for the outcome, I have lost. For a results-oriented person such as I have been, this is a learning edge.

Carolyn Resnick is a master horsewoman and trainer who learned her craft from the horses themselves. She shares a wealth of wisdom and experience through teaching and writing. You can find her blog at

Carolyn Resnick summed up the resistance dilemma this way: “I want to try to stay away from struggle because it is a sign that I have stepped out of harmony and unity. I always look for a loss of harmony and unity as this is not the practice of the art of horsemanship. Without harmony and unity, I have no natural support from either the horse or the environment. Though sometimes you must push to get results, the percentage should be low and the relationship well seasoned. I do believe it is a way to test the waters, it is sometimes helpful to push for results providing you can do it without disturbing the bond [with the horse]. … You need to be careful in wanting to push for perfection when you are trying to reach goals because the struggle can push away the goals you are trying to achieve.”