Here are a some words from a few people who have
experienced working with Robin Gates and the Carolyn Resnick method.
Dr. Penny Lloyd, Veterinarian
I certainly did not expect it. Tears filled my eyes at my first
Liberty Training Clinic as an enormous sense of pride of accomplishment
swept through me. Winning my first trophy, landing a dream job, becoming
a doctor, getting married, building a log home, saving a life … did not
compare. For this was a ‘lifetime achievement award’. Something so big
you can’t even consciously plan for it. It can only be recognized after
it is done.
But there was no public prize or monument to be awarded for this
lifetime achievement … only the most incredible heart expansion to
acknowledge a job well done. For the first time I realized … after
spending 30 years with my horse … her entire life … having seen and done
it all with her …. I had not ‘broke’ her.
I had this realization after Robin Gates, Liberty Training Instructor,
showed us photos of what a willing engaged horse looks like. I
recognized that look because I had seen it in my own mare. On euthanasia
day there was a moment when it had shone with such brilliance that it
took my breath away.
There was no vacant resigned expression in her eyes that you see in many
compliant well-trained horses. There was no fear or resentment. There
was only the deepest most peaceful trusting warm open loving engaged
gaze you could imagine.
Honestly examined at a stark soul-searching level, she was not shut down
… not even an iota. (And I know shut down because I still partially am
in certain situations.) She had not lost anything by being with me all
those years. We had both gained. It was a rare and special balanced
partnership. And was what liberty training was all about.
Liberty is defined as freedom from despotic government, foreign rule,
bondage, captivity, or physical restraint; freedom from external
control, interference, obligation, etc.; freedom to choose;
independence. Many years ago ‘liberty’ was the vision upon which nations
were founded. Now, as reflected in our interactions with horses, it is
finally becoming a reality. It is evidence of our progress as human
beings. To witness such changes in consciousness restores my hope for
mankind at a very deep level. We are making our way.
It gives my heart great joy to see this new way of being with horses
emerging. It is hard to imagine what is now becoming possible, as our
noble equine friends are finally being given a voice. We have come a
long way from “kids are to be seen and not heard” and “just a dumb
animal” one way dictatorship days. We are also getting past the more
recent “child on a pedestal” and “horses rule” generation to find a new
balance of power.
For the first time in history we are becoming capable of a balanced
partnership with another species. This is brand new territory. First we
must learn to speak each others language. This takes animal
communication skills and energy awareness skills. It also means that we
must learn how to foster an egoless state (no greater than, no lesser
than …) while we work with horses. These are the same skills necessary
for self empowered healing with animals … now also becoming possible.
Congratulations to all my new liberty friends – the front-runners in
this new way of being. Liberty training goes beyond working with horses.
It is stimulation to a more evolved, conscious, present, expansive,
joyful, peaceful, healthier way of life.
I had attended two of Robin Gate's weekend
seminars prior to a five day intensive that began in early July, 2011.
Although I had learned many things from the weekend seminars; there was
no comparison to the intimate and detailed instruction that flowed
through Robin for five days. I highly recommend any one who is
interested in Robin's approach to participate in one of her intensive
programs. Truly you will be transformed; not only in your relationship
with your horse, but that most important relationship with yourself and
how that shows up in the world. In many ways I see Robin's intensive
programs as great leadership training: leadership that is not dominant
or aggressive; but a supremely intelligent and sensitive leadership
which truly sets an example!
The five day intensive which I participated in
was quite unique. I was also accompanied by my good friend who has
worked with camels for many years and we had brought three camels to a
ranch in Sonoma, two young bulls and a five year old gelding. We would
work with the camels in the morning and afternoon, and in the evening we
would go to Robin's ranch and work with her amazing horses. This
provided a really nice balance because the camels were fairly new to
training whereas Robin's horses were more in the bond with people and
very responsive to even very subtle commands. This was Robin's first
time working with camels and truly as a sign of a great teacher, she was
open to possibilities, often asking questions and trying new things. It
was really great to share this experience. We all began to notice that
the camels were very responsive to our suggestions and were willing to
work with us. Over the course of five days we saw a very strong
foundation develop in our relationship with the camels, and this has
continued to grow to the point that the camels are 'lining up', eager
for their turn to play!
One of the things which really impressed upon me while working with
Robin was a sense of playfulness. That sense of playfulness is so
important. It can be difficult to remember this when things get
difficult. Robin often reminds us that it is not about just training
specific behaviors, but how all of that relates to the dance and
relationship that you enjoy with your horse, or camel. It is good to
relax, enjoy yourself, and remember the love you share with your
companion in training.
The five day intensive was a life enriching experience which opens news
doors of possibility and magic. Once again, I openly encourage anyone,
regardless of past experience with animals, to engage this process with
a open heart and see where it will take you. Robin Gates is more than
willing to be your guide and to dance the dance with you. Enjoy!
I made the trip from England to the US specifically
to learn about natural horsemanship, as its a has been a much neglected
part of our more classical and competitive English equestrian heritage.
I was wary of being drawn to some of the more commercial, and
circus-like trainers that currently promoting natural horsemanship in
the US and was seeking instead someone with a genuine sensitivity and
passion for connecting with horses. Upon meeting Robin, I instantly
recognised that I had found the right trainer - graceful, dignified,
strong and yet extremely gentle and nurturing. What I learned from Robin
during my (sadly far too short) stay has changed me on a deeply personal
level. While of course, much of Robin's training focuses on the natural
behaviour or the horse - its the human aspect of Robin's work which I
found most inspiring and beneficial: Robin managed to coax out of me the
raw courage, sensitivity, assertiveness and and pure joy required to
connect with horses at a deeper level - all aspects of ourselves that
somehow become lost or buried in the daily grind of our normal everyday
Elizabeth Staff, London, UK
What a wonderful experience !!! You are so articulate
and have a great ability for verbally bringing the horse world and our
own humanity together so that we can understand the horse through
ourselves and ourselves through the horse. The parallels and comparisons
with all relationships/politics (inner and outer) unfolded before our
eyes delightfully and with gentle humor......insights and subtle
understandings were continuously
running through me and since I always need time to "translate" my
feelings into words, I often found myself at a loss for them when trying
to share them. But know this, that your gifts are enormous and I love
working and playing with you....it's just plain fun !!! I thank you and
can't wait to play with you again privately when I figure out just what
I want to focus on.
Kudos to Lisa as well, her facilities were wonderful and greatly
Author of Learning Their Language and Beyond Words
Carolyn Resnick’s method of liberty training makes
more sense to me than any other natural horsemanship technique and I
think the horses feel that way about it too. It most closely
approximates how horses actually think, feel, and interact with each
other. It is also the most natural of all the natural techniques. Done
in an open field, the horse can choose to completely ignore you and walk
away. No other technique can take that kind of chance. As Robin says,
this method of interaction makes your horse fall in love with you. I
have thoroughly enjoyed learning this wonderful practice from Robin. She
is an honest, straightforward and compassionate trainer of humans and
horses. I recommend her to all my clients who are having problems with
their horses or who are just seeking to enhance the bond they share.
Andrew M. Leeds, Ph.D.
Licensed Seminaral Psychologist
Santa Rosa, CA
Robin is more than an extraordinary horse trainer.
Yes, she has a keen ability to perceive each horse’s temperament and to
discern the effects of prior, adverse human interactions on the horse’s
current behavior. Yes, she has a deep grasp of the innate behavior of
horses. Yes, as a wise and skillful horse trainer she uses these clear
perceptions and deep understandings as the foundation for building a
relationship with a horse based on mutual respect, firm boundaries and
love. But most important of all she is able to model and transmit her
understanding, her skills and her compassion to even the most timid,
uncertain and awkward of her students with profound patience and abiding
grace. As a result her students gain not only a relationship with a
horse that comes to love and respect them, and is eager for the
opportunity to follow, but they gain a clearer eye, a firmer stance and
a stronger, more open heart.
Robin's approach, based on Carolyn Resnick's methods,
is to create a horse who is thrilled when his person comes calling for
the daily training session. When it's training time, Robin's horses say
"Pick me, pick me!" I see this everyday in my work with dogs. How
wonderful it is to see that it is possible in the world of horses, too!
Robin is not only passionate and talented in her work with horses, she
is equally gifted in her ability to relate to and communicate with her
human students. You'd be hard pressed to find an instructor who cares
more about assisting you in achieving your goals of connecting with your
horse than Robin does. She patiently supports and guides, celebrating
your successes, tiny to huge, with incredible sincerity. The icing on
the cake is that Robin has a wonderful way with words. She instructs
with clarity, vivid examples, and a delightful sense of humor.
Half Moon Bay, CA
My horse can be pushy and stubborn, and after
listening, watching, learning and practicing what Robin Gates teaches
about how I should correctly behave with my horse, I was amazed to see
what a difference there was in the way my horse reacts to me. He
immediately responded to the requests I made, and is changing his
behavior towards me so quickly - it's a joy! The manners he's learning
to follow on the ground have related directly to the manners he shows me
when I'm riding. I highly recommend that if anyone is thinking "if only
my horse didn't do this..." they should sign up for help from Robin
Gates. She helps in a way that is both fun and very effective!
Attached is my photo which I would dub "true bliss".
It's been a long time since I have felt so full in my heart. Robin's
work with Liberty Training for me is about tapping into a primal
language of love, trust, respect and honesty that we all want and need
so desperately to express. My experience with DJ, Cobo, Willie, Frank,
Red and Jordan has touched my heart in the most profound sense, enabling
me to find and tap into the courage, confidence, forgiveness and purity
that we all have but sometimes have difficulty accessing.. Not only did
I feel an indescribable sense of joy in this work, I felt honored by
these great creatures who believed and trusted in me enough to allow me
to be a true leader.
I vow to continue along this path of enrichment because I am convinced
it will emanate outward to those near to me as well as to those I have
yet to meet.
With deepest gratitude for sharing this most precious of gifts, and for
sharing those beautiful animals who taught me so gently, safely and
Santa Rosa, CA
What I learned from Robin Gates
was life changing for me and for my horse!
As an amateur rider and one time breeder, I spent
the winter of 2006 in a complete panic over my 2.5 year old warm-blood
gelding named Paulo. Although he had been hand reared by me, and was
completely comfortable in my presence, he was dangerously sensitive and
explosive. If I allowed Paulo to stay in his comfort zone, I was safe.
If I tried to teach him anything new, or forced him into a frightening
situation, everything changed. His eyes would glaze over and he would
rear, spin, bolt. Paulo never struck out at me, or anyone else, but he
was huge, powerful and oblivious. I knew I was in trouble and I couldn't
find anyone to help. I was terribly depressed, thinking that I would
never be able to manage this young horse, and more importantly, I was
terrified that he or I would be seriously hurt. We were out of control
and my heart was breaking. After years of planning and dreaming I
believed that I would need to let him go - and to what? Who would want
this out of control horse? I feared for both of us. Finally, after
working with a number of professionals, one of them told me about Robin.
He said, the problem is not the horse, it's your relationship. This I
had not heard before. I had heard that Paulo was highly responsive,
athletic, sensitive, explosive, expressive and probably only appropriate
for a professional - in fact I had heard this more than once, but no one
had said - work on the relationship and you'll be fine. This was new and
although I didn't really get it, I had nothing else to try.
The first thing I recognized about Robin Gates is
that her heart is open, full and powerful. Robin is soft spoken, slender
and a lady in every way. I must admit that I couldn't rationally
comprehend how she could help. If I wasn't safe with Paulo how could she
be? Well, my concerns were totally unnecessary. Paulo figured it out
long before I did. He trusted her and respected her. He sensed her
strength, he breathed it in, he immersed himself in Robin and then in
me. We began to relate in a way that we had never related before. Where
once there was concern, now there was curiosity; where once there were
explosive outbursts, now there were expressive movements; where once
there was bravado, now there was confidence. Through Robin, Paulo found
himself, his true self, and words cannot express my gratitude for this
And so, my depression changed to joy and my future
with Paulo was saved. After spending the summer of 2007 with Robin,
Paulo and I moved into a facility where he could start his training
under saddle. His trainer found him to be playful, sensitive, kind, and
willing. There were never any antics, he didn't buck, didn't kick or
bite, and never bolted. He is still Paulo – sensitive, athletic,
responsive and reactive, but we revel in his movement and expression and
we honor his curiosity and surprise. All is well. He is my partner, he
is loved, he has a place in this world and thanks to Robin, it is with
Pat Slater and Dan Senters
On a sunny day last November my husband Dan and I
were taking a walk with our two quarter horses Lucky and Tuffy. Lucky,
our seven year old, was a very nervous horse and could hardly stand to
be near Dan or any man for that matter. It was hard just leading him
down the lane because of his fears.
As we were walking we were arguing heatedly about whether to sell Lucky
or keep him. After 1 ½ years of working with this horse Dan couldn’t
take it anymore. He wanted a horse that was calm, gentle and easy just
like our other horse Tuffy. I, on the other hand, adored Lucky. He loved
women and was not a bit afraid of me although still a very nervous
On our walk we happened to meet a lady who noticed our problem with our
horse. She told us about a weekend seminar that was about to be held at
an arena in our neighborhood. Robin Gates would teach this seminar.
We went right over to inquire about this seminar. Believe me, I was
shocked that “my cowboy Dan” was even willing to inquire let alone
attend. He believed that a horse should do what is asked of him and
nothing less. After working on a cattle ranch for many years he was firm
in his thinking. He told me he would go but if Lucky did not benefit
from the weekend we would sell him with no argument from me. I agreed.
On November 22 we met Robin Gates for the first time. She spent just a
minute with our Lucky and talked to both Dan and I. When the seminar
began, Robin started with our horse. True to form, Lucky was petrified.
Dan, after following instruction from Robin, was able to build a better
relationship with Lucky. After about ½ hour, I saw changes in both Lucky
and Dan. This horse started to approach Dan with a little less fear.
After two days with Robin Gates we knew that there was hope for Lucky.
With the help of her Liberty Horse Training method and her guiding hand,
I have watched both Lucky and Dan blossom.
This is February, only a few months since we started working with Robin.
Lucky is almost a pest following Dan around. They love each other. A
bond exists, one that I never thought possible. The fear is gone,
replaced with trust and respect. Dan trail rides on Lucky and both seem
to really enjoy their days together.
If you ask me Robin Gates is a hero. On the day I met her I had tears in
my eyes, tears of worry. Today, as I write this, I have tears of joy
knowing that Lucky is with us to stay. And by the way, Tuffy is learning
a few manners himself.
Robin, I can’t thank you enough!
Koda, a 16-3 Paint gelding who I have had since his
birth 20 years ago, has had a tough time of it. Diagnosed with severe
navicular disease and ringbone at age 3, training on and off depending
on his degree of lameness and frequent stress colics have made his life
difficult. He now spends carefree days on pasture with his herd, but has
remained dominant, aggressive and very pushy around people.
Koda has been the biggest equine challenge of my life, so I took him to
a Robin Gates seminar in hopes we could achieve a deeper level of
communication and some peace of mind for him. Robin worked around the
issues of aggression over food and the tug of war when leading in
What unfolded was miraculous. It was as if Koda was just waiting for the
magical key of shared language to bring him fully to life. His attitude
softened and - now 4 months later - he continues to relax in and enjoy
the company of humans. Robin is now working with our Quarter Horse Emmet
using a slightly different approach but attaining equally spectacular
results in opening up his heart.
This was the wonder of observing Robin in a seminar situation with many
different horses - that she sees each as an individual being with
different histories, experiences and needs and approaches them
accordingly. There is no pressure, the horse leads the dance, and a bond
forms that is solid and powerful.
Barbara K. Rector
Director Adventures In Awareness, LLC
Students of Equine Facilitated Learning and Equine
Facilitated Psychotherapy will benefit from study with Robin Gates,
primary teacher of the Carolyn Resnick method of liberty horse training.
Regardless of one's skill level this process teaches the true language
of Equus and allows the observer and practitioner alike to engage in
relationship development with horses. While most 'natural' trainers use
gadgets gimmicks and round rings, Robin and Carolyn work in wide open
pasture and arena spaces that allow horse choice; to come or to go.
Lovely to watch and awesome to practice.
It was wonderful to see the principles that Carolyn
describes in her book, Naked Liberty, used & then presented in a manner
that makes them feel applicable to my life. I was pleased to actually
experience them even though I didn't have a horse of my own to work
You and Lisa created a very safe & comfortable space for opening to
these ideas. Everyone there seemed to feel honored no matter how
experienced or not each participant was. This allowed me to further see
what moves worked better than others & that no move was "wrong". I loved
that each horse's individuality was also honored & shown to be perfect
with no personality type better than another. Your explanations &
metaphors made the principles feel more natural to me & easier to be
understood. I loved being able to both see & feel how one moves their
body in a way that the horse can really understand & very easily read.
games & play just made everything more fun & easier to enjoy for both
the people & horses.
Thanks so much for this experience. I hope to be able to do more with
your trainings & your work.
Dear Robin, Jan and I have been buried in the moving
box shuffle but after another lovely day with my horse "Tigre" I had to
write and thank you. The things you taught me at our one day seminar have
made some surprising changes in me and my horse. To begin with he is a
much nicer guy to be around. Perhaps I am as well because I am not so
frustrated with him pushing me around with his head. The most surprising
thing though is that is has made a big difference in our trail rides. He
seems much more content to just stay with me when another horse goes
cantering off ahead of him. In the past he would fuss and toss his head.
No more! Really! He is no longer bluffing me into believing he is afraid
of hands in his face, sunscreen, flyspray, and baths. I can walk him
back to his paddock on a totally loose line carrying his "snack-bowl"
and he's respectful, walks next to me and even though he's excited he
doesn't try to run around me and grab a bite. I expected improvement in
ground manners but having him stay "with" me on trail rides was an
unexpected and wonderful surprise. Thank You so much. I am looking
forward to working with you again soon. Next time we'll have hot water
for your shower I promise.
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