What Is A Liberty Horse? (Solved)

Definition of liberty horse : a circus horse that performs tricks (as wheeling, circling, running in file) in a group and without a rider.


  • The term, also called horse liberty or just liberty, describes a type of dressage. Unlike the High School, this dressage has nothing to do with riding itself, but takes place from the ground. In ground work, the body language of the human being is particularly important, who guides the horse through the use of voice and hand signals.

What is liberty work with a horse?

Liberty training is- as the word already implies- a training with exercises, the horse performs without any halter or rope and also often in liberty and not in an enclosed arena.

Can any horse do liberty work?

Professional liberty horse trainers will work with their horses to perform tricks and movements, such as rearing, bowing, and pirouettes. This can all be achieved without any tack or aids. The horse is free from tack and lines during liberty training and can leave or move away from the trainer if they choose to.

Why does a horse rub its head on you?

This behavior is a way horses naturally groom each other. When your horse tries rubbing its head on your body, it may be attempting to “groom” you as a show of affection. Even though some horses rub their head on humans as a way to show affection, it’s a behavior that should be discouraged due to the risk of injury.

What is liberty riding?

Liberty Training ® – A Definition: Liberty training is designed to bring a horse a sense of freedom and safety without using any tack, including halters or ropes. The idea of training a horse without tack was not how people used to start a horse in foundation training at that time.

Can you do liberty work with dogs?

Companion Movement is an easy one. In dogs we call in Heeling. If we have Magnetic connection, we will be able to work with our dogs well at Liberty or off leash! Leading from behind works for moving reluctant dogs.

What is liberty dressage?

Liberty Dressage. Dressage without a saddle and educating your horse from the ground characterise Liberty Dressage. The basis of Liberty Dressage training is to create a clear and fair relationship between the person and the horse, with the person nevertheless maintaining the dominant position.

What is a halter horse?

Halter is a type of horse show class where horses are shown “in hand, ” meaning that they are led, not ridden, and are judged on their conformation and suitability as breeding stock. Depending on breed and geographic region, such events may be called “Halter,” “In-Hand,” “Breeding,” “Model,” or “Conformation” classes.

How can I get my horse in shape faster?

Lunging or long reining. You shouldn’t lunge five times a week or for longer than 20-30 minutes depending on your horse and their current fitness level, but done correctly, lunging once or twice a week can be a very useful tool in developing fitness. If your horse is out of shape, start out with lots of walk breaks.

Liberty Training- What is it, and why does your horse need it?

The 26th of October, 2020 Liberty Training TM – A definition of the term: Liberty training is intended to provide a horse a sense of independence and security without the use of any equipment, such as halters or ropes, as part of the training process. Working with a horse in this manner will strengthen the horse’s desire to engage with you, as well as develop a stronger bond and more dependable performance when under saddle. Libertas Training is meant to help students achieve their highest level of horsemanship, which serves as the foundation for all equestrian activities.

My audience consisted of around 150 individuals, and it became larger and larger with each passing day as more and more people like what they saw and heard.

Liberty Training was initially developed and named by me in 1976 *, when I began teaching the approach at Stonehenge Arabians, a training and breeding facility in Sonoma County, California, at the time.

What I was offering to the horse world was something completely unique.

  1. We began training the horse with no equipment on his back or legs.
  2. The word spread like wildfire!
  3. There was a lot of discussion!
  4. As a result, my first video, simply titled ‘Liberty Training,’ was produced.
  5. It is now fashionable, and many people teach it!
  6. They were thrilled with the benefits of their newfound relationship with their horses at Liberty, and they were even happier to discover that the results were long-lasting!
  7. They learned how to call their horses off feeding, walk and trot, and make elaborate patterns with their horses by their sides, which was far more difficult than it would have been with equipment.

The benefits were almost immediately apparent!

My students have informed me that they have discovered that their horses, whether they are show horses or family riding horses, have become much more attentive and connected with them when in the saddle.

In the aftermath of a three-day course with me, students would write to me and tell me how much more they liked riding with their horses as a result of the new skills they had learned.

As a result of this independence, both the horse and the rider can interact in their own way, resulting in a bond on which horsemen can rely for survival.

I became an overnight sensation.

With another way of saying it, I conducted a clinic every weekend, either at my ranch or on the road.

Working at Liberty provides opportunities for everyone to learn and grow.

In that case, I would have put it aside and followed traditional horse training methods, which would have lost my intrinsic ability to form strong connections with horses.

“You can’t educate people how to connect with horses,” he stated emphatically.

I, on the other hand, believed that anybody could learn to connect with horses in the same way that I had learned to connect.

I believed that horses and humans have a lot in common, and I wanted to draw attention to the parallels between the two species.

I could demonstrate to people how horses respond to our influence without the use of force, and on the horse’s terms, if they were interested.

To educate individuals how to obtain this talent, I began by having them work with their horses to build a Magnetic Connection and then had them take their horse to Liberty while listening to their favorite song on their iPod.

Finally, the capacity to sense and guide a horse through a Magnetic Connection instantaneously opens a person’s eyes to the possibilities of how to fit in with a horse while also leading him or her at the same time.

It puts to light the style of leadership that a horse would want to follow in the field.

“That is something I am capable of.” It was possible for these pupils to recognize and trust in their own abilities to connect with and train their horses.

Only then will it be possible for you to step into your natural skills, which are those that you were born with.

You want to bring out the social side of your horse, so you’re going to wait for him to come to you on his own terms.

However, this is only true if the horse is not being pushed to do so.

For a horse, there is nothing natural about the situation.

Yes, it may be beneficial at the time, but it is rarely long-lasting, necessitating the repetition of the same coercion the next time and the next time.

Slowly but steadily, his spirit drains away until all that is left is that terrible, blank face that indicates that the horse has given up and stopped caring.

When you do, it’s as a result of the constant pressure, and it’s extremely sad to witness.

While it takes more time and skill to train a horse under pressure, it takes almost no skill to train a horse at Liberty.

If you discover that you and your horse are not getting along during your training together, it is most likely because you are either too pushy or too inefficient.

In the human world, leadership is frequently associated with entitlement, which frighten horses and causes them to show their opposition.

Remember this if you remember nothing else from this article: When your horse is able to work with you at Liberty and feels a feeling of freedom, he stops acting as if you are the predator, which in turn opens the door to a whole new universe of possibilities between you.

It is possible that Liberty Training will deliver you an entirely different horse — one you were absolutely unaware ever existed.

As opposed to an unhappy and reluctant stranger, it will be more like having a highly trained, herding dog with whom you have formed a bond and who enjoys his work. The Advantages of Liberty Training and the Reasons Why YOU Should Begin Training a Horse at Liberty

  • Your horsemanship abilities will improve at a faster rate, and you will be able to deal with situations with your horse that you were unable to handle previously. It will help you and your horse to become more united and harmonious. It is possible to see an improvement in your horse’s responsiveness to your guidance when participating in equestrian activities on the ground and in the saddle. With no gear, your horse will be much simpler to read, which can help you gain a better knowledge of how to approach communication with your horse. Because you are not physically tied to your horse, you may feel safer than you would if you were using equipment. It assists you in learning how to communicate more effectively through your body language. It enhances your capacity to relate to horses, and this skill only continues to expand
  • It also helps you to learn more about horses. In the beginning, your instincts start guiding you on how to approach training your horse
  • Increases the depth of your relationship with your horse
  • Using this method, you can re-establish your horse’s desire to respond to halt, walk, trot, and canter commands in a steady rhythm for perfect performance under saddle by exercising the bonds of trust and respect
  • Exercising the willingness
  • Exercising the focus
  • Exercising the connection
  • And exercising the energy.

Reasons Why YOUR HORSE Will Benefit From Liberty Training

  • The majority of horses will relinquish their ‘vices’ without you ever having to address the problems. During show performances, your horse will be considerably more willing and involved as a result of this training. Every type of horse, from shy horses to dominating horses to food aggressive animals to horses who have not been taught, can benefit from this program, including seasoned mares and geldings, young horses, old horses, and even terrified horses. Whether you ride a show horse or a family riding horse, your horse will be far more attentive and attached to you while you are in the saddle. When your horse is near you, it will give him a sense of safety and security. It aids in the development of healthy muscles and the enjoyment of spontaneous freedom of movement by your horse. You will see an increase in your horse’s drive to learn and perform since he will now find it interesting and enjoyable to be with you. When your horse does not feel pressurized, he experiences great well-being in his spirit. As a result, your horse’s intellect grows as he becomes more eager to learn new things and to perform for you smoothly, easily, and spontaneously when at Liberty
  • When your horse is permitted to dance at Liberty, he will be overjoyed since it corresponds to the spontaneous social interactions that take place there. Knowing that he and you are in a 50-50 relationship can help to develop a healthy ego in your horse.
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There are advantages to all equestrian pursuits.

  • When riding dressage, riders may learn to balance the horse’s energy and attention so that he contributes the proper amount of energy to whatever task he is being asked to accomplish, whether it’s a comfortable walk on a loose rein or a prolonged trot with suspension. Liberty Training is a method of warming up the muscles of cutting horses, reining horses, and working cow horses so that they may move freely in spontaneous movement. The urge for a horse to herd cattle will also rise as a result of this. For horses used for pleasure riding, it will result in greater calmness and dependability throughout the ride. Liberty Training is particularly beneficial for competitive horses over fences because it teaches them to listen to their instincts and follow instructions while also improving their ability to be in sync with their rider. Liberty Training focuses on developing a horse that is in tune with his rider and on listening to his or her aids for both English and Western pleasure riding.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today! Take advantage of the present moment and begin Liberty Training your horse right away! Keep an eye out for a new blog post from Carolyn at Off The Desk of Carolyn every Monday, and may the spirit of the horse be with you at all times. -Carolyn Resnick, author

Liberty training – What exercises are good for my horse?

Working on the ground with your horse is the first step in developing a trustworthy and reliable connection with him. It helps to increase communication between a horse and his person, and it is also a very effective alternative program to riding and lunging for horses. Throughout this essay, you will learn how to get started with groundwork and what liberty training, as well as the well acclaimed clicker training, is all about.


  1. Equipement
  2. Fundamental ground aids
  3. The advantages and disadvantages of groundwork and liberty training
  4. Exercises for groundwork and liberty training
  5. Clicker training

The Equipment

Before we can begin working with our horse from the ground, we must first ensure that we have the proper equipment and that we understand where to begin with the fundamentals of groundwork. As a result, we must begin training in an enclosed arena or a circular pen in accordance with the guideline “safety first.” We’ll need a halter, a leading rope, and a long dressage crop to complete the look. As an added precaution, leg protection such as bell boots or splint boots should be used in the event that we are dealing with an easily frightened or clumsy horse is encountered.

Basic Ground Aids

The fundamental aids that we use to communicate with our horses are our voice, our body language, and mechanical aids such as the dressage crop or the clicker, among other things. And, of course, a bag of horse treats comes in useful, so this may be considered a help as well as an accessory. Groundwork is all about establishing a set of principles within which the horse may move and experiment with different situations. The most crucial guideline to remember is that both the horse and the human have their own personal space, which must be respected.

  1. When the horse bolts or trails off in the opposite direction, we are unable to maintain communication.
  2. As a result, if the horse walks in front of us, we must stop him by straightening our body posture, using a calming voice assistance, and elevating the crop slightly in front of him to establish a visible barrier between ourselves and the horse.
  3. It’s a good idea to just hold the rope between the index finger and the thumb in order to avoid accidentally tugging on the rope by accident.
  4. Tongue clicking is another technique that can be used.
  5. It is recommended to practice transitions from a walk to a halt as well as transitions from halt to walk from the ground as soon as this is successful.
  6. And keep in mind that if the horse does something properly, we instantly congratulate him and reward him with a well-deserved goodie.
  7. The next stage is to reverse the direction of the horse.
  8. The correct method of turning the horse is to halt him, turn in our own shoulder, and then proceed in the new direction.

The crop may be used to assist the horse and guide him in the right direction. Nonetheless, you should look at this groundwork course for a more in-depth explanation, as reading about something and experiencing something are two very different things.

The Benefits of Groundwork and Liberty Training

Groundwork and liberty training not only aid in the development of a very deep bond between the horse and its human, but they also have a number of other advantages. Having previously learnt advanced exercises like as the spanish walk or lateral movements, the horse gains a greater understanding of its own body and becomes more nimble and fit as a result. The horse’s gymnastics groundwork is a fantastic supplement to the horse’s gymnastics training, especially if the rider is not yet competent enough to teach the horse advanced exercises from the saddle.

Another significant advantage of groundwork is the ability to work together to learn agility courses.

And these are the kinds of characteristics that are constantly in demand.

Exercises for Groundwork

Following the establishment of the fundamental aids and regulations from the chapter “Basic Ground Aids,” the following exercises are the next phase in the process. Consequently, the prerequisites of being able to halt and turn your horse around must be accomplished before proceeding. First and foremost, we must force our horse to take a step back. Before we may give the reverse aids, which include lifting the crop in front of the horse, tilting our shoulder slightly back, and taking a step back, the horse must stay still for a while without becoming agitated or moving without being asked to.

  1. After that, we’ll go around in a short circle and change directions once again.
  2. We establish a barrier with the crop once the horse enters the circle and shift our body posture to push the horse back into the circle, but this time on the new hand, after he has entered.
  3. Not only is it necessary to develop this new activity, but it is also necessary to make the horse’s body pliable since he must surrender and bend in both directions.
  4. In this exercise, the horse is introduced to mobilizing lateral motions from the ground, which serves as the foundation for subsequent leg yielding and shoulder-in exercises.
  5. We maintain the horse’s shoulders on track while still retaining the horse’s head in the middle and flexing it slightly to the other side, as seen below.

To give the horse the opportunity to sort out his legs in peace, we begin by performing this exercise at a modest tempo in the beginning. Of course, we should perform this exercise with both hands to ensure that the strain is distributed evenly.

Exercises for Liberty Training

Liberty training is, as the name indicates, a type of training in which the horse performs exercises without the use of a halter or leash, and in which the horse is often frequently allowed to roam free rather than in an enclosed arena. Typical activities include laying down, sitting down, rising, the complement, as well as exercises that we are familiar with from dressage, such as the piaffe, passage, pirouette, and levade, among others. The only assistance used in liberty training are the voice, the body position, and, on occasion, a crop of hay or straw.

  • However, any horse can be taught, and the fundamentals aren’t that tough.
  • As soon as this is proven to be effective, the halter can be removed.
  • There are several trainers and professionals in this industry who use a variety of tactics and approaches to achieve their goals.
  • If you think liberty training would be something you and your horse would enjoy, take a look at our course on liberty training and get started!

Clicker Training

It is possible to simplify working with horses from the ground by employing the signal produced by the clicker, which is a sound that goes “click click” when the clicker is activated. It is only after the horse has learned to react to the clicker that he will learn to anticipate receiving a treat when the sound of the clicker is heard for the first time. Consequently, this strategy is based on positive reinforcement, and every time the horse accomplishes anything correctly, he hears the click sound that signifies success.

It is feasible to direct a horse through an agility course without using any other equipment than a clicker and a little of common sense.

Additionally, maintaining a safe distance and protecting one’s personal space is important, so be sure you feed the horse from an arm’s length away.

Building a trusted and reliable relationship between horse and person begins with proper groundwork and grooming.

The liberty training process is the conclusion of thorough preparation, and it is the consequence of refined and trustworthy communications.

How to Train Your Horse at Liberty

This video demonstrates how to begin liberty training with your horse in a calm and simple manner. and then how to proceed gradually to activities such as liberty lunging, in-hand lateral work, horse agility, and freejumping! Working your horse free, without the need of ropes or reins, is what liberty is all about. Working with us at liberty is something we want our horses to choose to do because it is straightforward, enjoyable, and rewarding. Positive reinforcement, often known as clicker training, is a simple and efficient method of doing this.

It is not a difficult exercise to perform; anyone can do it.

Following these steps, you will be able to begin training your horse at liberty using reward positive reinforcement, teaching him to stand quietly and follow you when you ask him to do so, and then progressing to more advanced exercises such as the trot, canter, agility work, liberty lunging, liberty jumping, and liberty outside the arena.

  • You may have access to hundreds of step-by-step training videos on how to educate your horse through positive reinforcement by joining the CT Club, which is an online membership service.
  • More information and registration may be found here.
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How to Work with a Horse at Liberty

This video demonstrates how to begin liberty training with your horse in a calm and simple manner. and then how to proceed gradually to activities such as liberty lunging, in-hand lateral work, horse agility, and freejumping. Working your horse without using ropes or reins is simply called liberty. As long as it’s obvious, enjoyable, and rewarding, we want our horses to choose to work with us at liberty. A simple and successful method of accomplishing this is through positive reinforcement, sometimes known as clicker training.

Nobody has to be an expert to complete this task.

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Following these steps, you will be able to begin training your horse at liberty using reward positive reinforcement, teaching him to stand quietly and follow you when you ask him to do so, and then progressing to more advanced exercises such as the trot, canter, agility, lunging, jumping, and liberty outside the arena.

It is possible to join the CT Club, an online membership site where you can have access to hundreds of step-by-step training videos on how to educate your horse using positive reinforcement.

Please see this link for further information and to register.

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  1. 1Take the time to get to know your horse. 2Spend time getting to know your horse. Investigate what activities your horse appears to be interested in. Time spent just caring on and grooming your horse, as well as time spent strolling with your horse
  2. 2 Turn your horse out into a big, enclosed arena or pasture and keep an eye on him for signs of trouble. Send your horse positive and encouraging comments
  • Try sitting on the ground a safe distance away from your horse and waiting for him or her to approach you.
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  2. s3 Communicate with your horse. In particular, use your “happy voice” when speaking. Horses are capable of sensing and recognizing human emotions and feelings via the use of body language. This is why it’s critical to maintain a neutral stance in order to prevent creating the impression of predatory conduct. 4Know when your horse needs space and make certain that your animal understands your boundaries
  3. 5Make certain that your horse is aware of the fact that you are in command of the situation. This does not imply wielding a whip or shouting at your horse when he performs anything incorrectly. “No” must be spoken clearly and again, and the horse must be encouraged to try again. 6 Basic instructions should be taught. The horse must be able to understand orders such as: come here, halt, turn aside, and concentrate. But, most significantly, the horse must be taught how to move his or her feet on cue when under direction. Advertisement
  1. 1Don’t get too excited about riding right away. Instead, engage in more beneficial interactions in other areas. Always check to see that your horse is comfortable before trying something new, as it may be quite frightening for a horse to attempt something new. 2 Try teaching the horse some simple skills to keep him entertained. This is enjoyable for the horse and might provide a welcome change from the normal routine. Some entertaining tricks include: kissing, pawing, bowing, smiling, and so forth.
  • Always begin with the simplest of tricks. Don’t attempt more difficult tricks unless you are confident that the horse will be able to manage them and has complete faith in you.
  • 3 Practice leading your horse with a neck rope or a loose rope halter to get him used to it.
  • While you should not push the horse to walk, you should also ensure that it does so. Make it so that the horse is working for goodies rather than for the treats themselves by bringing treats. This indicates that they should be used sparingly, if at all
  1. Remove the rope from the horse’s neck and begin working with him without the rope once you have achieved the goal of training him to lead with you at his side without you having to tug or continually ask him. The horse may need some time to learn, but simply keep trying and the animal will eventually catch on. Work at a leisurely pace so that you do not overwhelm the horse with too many demands at the same time. 5When you feel more connected to your horse, try riding again. Simply go for a short ride and get to know your horse’s sensations and movements. 6 Riding without a saddle creates a physical connection between the rider and the horse. Consider having the horse accompany you while you go through cones and over poles. You may even attempt trotting and cantering with him if you want to be more adventurous. You and your horse are likely to feel comfortable playing tag and following each other about after performing liberty with each other for a year or longer with your horse. Advertisement
  1. 1Take note of how things have changed throughout time. There is no definitive point at which your horse is free to go about with you. This is a spiritual level, similar to that of several religions. Your horse must be completely at ease with you
  2. 2When you feel comfortable with where you are with your horse, push the boundaries further to accomplish more. You will never be completely completed with your horse’s training. There are always fresh opportunities to explore
  3. 3 Continue to make an effort to form a strong relationship. The entire purpose here is to develop a deep relationship with your horse
  4. The goal is not to be concerned with what other people think of you or your horse. Growing a spiritual, physical, and mental connection with your horse is the goal here
  • The important thing to remember is that you will never do something in the incorrect manner
  • It is your decision, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.

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  • Working with the horse “firmly” and “angrily” are not the same thing when it comes to approach. Being “firmly” implies letting the horse know that you are not going to tolerate this type of conduct on your part. “Angrily” implies that you are enraged with the horse, which is something you should never be. You should never become enraged with your horse
  • Instead, you should respect him. The first and most important rule is: Never press the horse to achieve anything, and don’t let him get away with not accomplishing anything, either. Provide regular breaks to keep the horse from becoming bored and to eliminate the danger of the horse refusing to continue. As previously said, this is vitally important because the horse must understand that he cannot quit anytime he pleases, and that he must finish the work before he may stop. Treats should be used sparingly and only when the horse does very well in a particular area. The horse must understand that treats are a reward, not the goal for which they are striving. Bits and whips should not be used. These induce dread in the horse and might cause him to become despondent. Lunging and allowing your horse to walk over tarps and poles can require a great deal of trust, which can strengthen your relationship. Make the decisions that are best for you and your horse. Only the two of you will completely understand what this implies in the long run
  • Before you begin, be certain that you understand and have studied the horse.

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  • Make certain that you desire liberty before you begin
  • Liberty is a long-term commitment.
  • When practicing liberty horsemanship, the horse has more strength than when practicing traditional horsemanship, so be cautious and learn how to handle the horse without using excessive force. Always be sure you wear a helmet. Failure to wear a helmet does not elevate your status in any way. Helmets assist to avoid a wide range of injuries.


About This Article

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Did this article help you?

So I wrote an essay last week on the many approaches and philosophies of horse training that are available. During the time afterwards, I’ve had a large number of inquiries on liberty horse training in particular. So I thought, why not take you on a deep dive with me today?

What is Liberty Horse Training?

Liberty horse training offers exactly what it says on the tin: it allows your horse to roam freely. To put it simply, you and your horse will be training in the open, with your horse being completely free to wander about. Even if they have the option to walk away from you, the idea is that through time, you will learn to communicate when you desire that they remain around. This is a significant departure from typical horse training methods. Pressure and force are used to train horses in the traditional manner, with the horses being rewarded with a release.

Instead, the goal of liberty training is to learn to recognize and understand their natural instincts and behaviors, and then to utilize these to teach your horse new skills.

Ultimately, this leads to the development of a deep bond between you and your horse.

Where did it come from?

The observation of wild horses has influenced the development of several ideas of liberty work and natural horsemanship more broadly. Gentler training methods, which are more focused on reassurance than of punishment, are first documented in Xenophon’sOn Horsemanship, which was written in 400BC. There have been other renowned advocates throughout history, such Antoine de Pluvinel and François Robichon de La Guérinière, to name a few. However, this procedure was generally seen as less effective than older methods, which provided speedier results.

Then, starting in the 1980s, it gained significant popularity.

What are the pros and cons of liberty horse training?

Perhaps the most commonly mentioned advantage of liberty work is the relationship that develops between you and your horse. Others might argue that liberty training is more compassionate than military training. Using conventional ways, in my opinion, is not inherently more humane; rather, when used by harsh trainers, old methods can be brutal. The most common objections leveled about liberty work are that it does not produce immediate benefits and that there is a lot of hype around the discipline.

Speaking of attempting it, I would strongly advise you to read two guest blogs on our site written by Equine Angel, which you can find here and here.

Interested in learning more about liberty horse training or other horse training methods? Contact us today. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! Wishing you a safe ride!

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No Strings Attached: Liberty Training

There are various advantages to working with horses in their natural environment. While playing with your horse in this manner, you may also learn how to communicate more effectively with your horse, introduce new things, and polish your horse’s motions. All of these things will contribute to the strengthening of your bond both on and off the horse.

Playing a New Game

When a horse is “at liberty,” he is free of gear and, as a result, is free to leave the lesson whenever he pleases. It is never too early or too late to begin liberty training. In this sort of learning and connection, horses that are not physically mature enough to be ridden, retired horses, wounded or insecure people, as well as completely sound and fit horses, may all benefit from the experience. Several years ago, Winnie and her husband, Bill Stott of Nobleton, Ontario, acquired a pair of weanling Lusitano colts.

  1. As a result of meeting and working with a couple of trainers who specialized in playing with horses and training them to perform “tricks,” Winnie’s imagination was allowed to run wild and she created a whole new world for herself.
  2. She then took over the reins.
  3. She enthusiastically consumes the advice and information provided by other trainers and behavior specialists, and she takes great pleasure in devising new challenges for them as well as for herself.
  4. Some horses can even lie down and sit on demand, as well as play horsey versions of soccer and baseball, according to their training.
  5. She drew inspiration from viewing movies and reading several books on training and learning theory, which she found on the internet.
  6. “Liberty is built on the foundation of trust and friendship.” Getting to know one of Rhonda’s donkeys, Apple Jack, who was fearful of humans when he first arrived to her, she said she found this technique extremely beneficial in getting to know him.
  7. Trainer Jutta Wiemers lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is the author of the book From Leading to Liberation.
  8. The following issue is familiar to many horse enthusiasts: what to do with a horse that has served you well for your riding but is no longer physically capable of doing so?
  9. The thought of selling him would crush your hearts, and the thought of becoming a lawn ornament would be incredibly monotonous.

Using “games and circus gym exercises, which preserve the body while expanding the intellect,” Jutta teaches horses and their riders how to interact more effectively. Additionally, she has developed a three-part series of DVDs titled “Playing with Horses,” which complement her book.

Practice Makes Practical

Winnie has also utilized liberty training to teach some fundamental skills in her horses, which have served her and her horses well when the time came to begin working under saddle with them. In addition, because of her passion for classical dressage, she trained both horses to piaffe and to do the Spanish Walk in their natural environment. She didn’t put a rider in the saddle until they had a good grip of the motions. “I can’t fathom working with a horse under saddle without having done this wonderful liberty work beforehand,” Winnie remarked of the liberty work.

  1. Both Zelador and Zeloso began to learn how to pick up a rear foot, hold it, and then put it back down,” says the trainer.
  2. Zelador understands the piaffe completely since he is not distracted by the presence of a rider on his back.
  3. This is especially useful when working with young horses.
  4. The trainer said that she was in the midst of teaching her horses to recover stuff from the ground.
  5. Mydonkeys are also good at retrieving, and they like playing the game with a variety of objects ranging from the Jolly Ball to the rubber feed containers.
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Putting the Trainer to the Test

Success in liberty training necessitates the presence of a specific personality type. To be successful, you must possess a unique blend of patience, kindness, perseverance, timing, inventiveness, and horse sense, all of which must be used simultaneously. When things don’t go as planned, you must be prepared to re-evaluate the situation and come up with a new strategy on the spot. If you are ready to put in the work, though, not only will your bond with your horse become stronger, but you will also develop as a horse trainer as a result of your efforts.

“With the horse untethered (no halter or other equipment), and working in a broad area where he has plenty of opportunities to escape you, you begin to LEARN!” You’ll learn how to maintain the horse’s attention for as long as possible.

The bond you form with one another is strong, and you are continuously working to strengthen it.” Rhonda went on to say that liberty work helps the trainer gain confidence in his or her abilities.

It helps me to be a more effective communicator and trainer.

However, they have the option to go and return to the hay bale or the other horses, but since they are a part of the relationship, they have chosen to remain with me.” “Liberty, when it means “free,” is the ultimate litmus test for a person’s honesty: do you truly have the type of amazing relationship with your horse that your horse “clings” to you even after the rope is removed?

“When the trainer is at liberty, she is not allowed to push, shove, poke, pull, or use any other unsavory methods to “explain” to her horse what she wants. She must learn to employ efficient training methods in order to polish her aids and enhance her horsemanship.”

Make it a Positive Experience

When it comes to good liberty training, there are a number of elements to consider. Understanding horse talk, also known as equine body language, is essential. Using proper body language yourself, as well as understanding and reading your horse’s body language, may help you communicate more effectively and keep you both safe. A circular pen or similar tiny, enclosed place with few distractions is preferred by many trainers when they are just starting out in their career. As your training continues, you will be able to move to bigger, more open places to put your connection to the test.

  1. Positive reinforcement is, without a doubt, a very effective motivator in the context of liberty training.
  2. Trainers employ a specific, unique signal – such as the sound of a clicker or a word, such as “yes” or “good” – to indicate the behavior they want the horse to exhibit at the exact moment it occurs, and then present a reward to the horse (food, scratches or praise).
  3. The inclusion of a pleasurable reward increases the likelihood that the behavior will occur again in the near future.
  4. “The horse is extremely concentrated and recognizes right away when he is learning to perform something new.
  5. He isn’t concerned about the possibility of giving a bad answer.” “Clicker training makes it very easy to pinpoint certain times in time,” Rhonda said.
  6. Consequently, I start him out at a trot and then wait for him to drop his head and gather himself.
  7. As of recently, he has begun to collect more fast when trotting.” Positive reinforcement through clicker training is most effective when it is implemented in accordance with the principles of shape.
  8. After a while, the stages start to come together and you stop awarding each individual section and simply reward for completing the entire task.

To begin, you may want to get your horse to touch or “target” an object (click/reward); then toss the object a few feet away and walk him to it (click/reward); ask him to lower his head (click/reward); get him to target an object on the ground (click/reward); entice him to take the object in his mouth (click/reward); and encourage him to drop it (click/reward).

According to Winnie, “the clicker solidifies the process of dividing things down into little bits and educating each element.” “I’ve made the mistake of thinking I was teaching the very first step only to learn that I’d skipped over quite a few stages!” says the instructor.

“This system is designed in such a manner that each learning step builds on the previous one, so that the horse constantly learns something new from what he already knows.” It is necessary for the human to have sufficient knowledge of training facts (including both the specific exercise and the training principles) in order to effectively communicate her desires to the horse.

And, of course, nothing works without incentive when you’re at free.

An unmotivated trainer who is incapable of making training enjoyable for the horse will be ineffective while working with liberty horses.” If you’re interested in liberty training, the choices are virtually limitless. The only thing that can stop you is your own imagination.


equine psychologist Antonia Henderson was contacted by Horse-Canada and requested to offer her ideas on liberty training from a scientific standpoint. Q: What are the advantages of working with horses in their natural environment? For the sake of creating a partnership, I do not feel that working with a horse at liberty is any more magical than working with a horse under saddle in terms of developing a partnership. Liberty work may appear to improve the horse-human interaction because it is more likely to incorporate positive reinforcement in the training process, according to some researchers.

Additionally, when owners include liberty work into their daily routines, it is probable that they will spend more time with their horses, which will strengthen the relationship even further.

I think of it as the “transferable talents” that we would use in the job to describe someone’s abilities.

Q: What is the most effective method of working at liberty?

For example, there are many ideas on the use of food rewards, round pen training, the relevance of body language, and so on.

My objective is for my horse to come to the conclusion that spending time with me is more beneficial to him than spending time anyplace else.

Both methods are effective, but positive reinforcement is more enjoyable.

Positive reinforcement is when we inform the horse that he has made the right choice and then reward him for it (food, scratches, inviting body language, etc.).

I have a feeling that horses are not much different.

A: I don’t believe the body language guidelines for a horse at liberty are any different from those for a horse in cross ties or a box stall.

When we are out racing about together, one of the most important rules that my horse must learn is that I am not his equine friend.

Because horses appear to naturally like liberty work, a simple method to demonstrate that a particular behavior is undesirable is to terminate the enjoyment at the first sign of any type of play that might be potentially detrimental to the horse.

They get the concept pretty fast.

I believe that many natural horsemanship and liberty trainers have done an excellent job of determining which positions horses find frightening and which attitudes they find welcoming.

The scientist in me perceives things in a more logical manner.

Are there any research on the effects of liberty training on people’s behavior?



She discovered that horses who were pursued by a trainer in a round pen did learn to follow a trainer over the course of several trials, and required less and less chasing with each trial that they participated in.

The results of Dr.

Presented with the option of either following a trainer or grazing on pasture with their herd mates, all horses that had previously been trained to follow a trainer in an arena environment preferred the latter option.

Kruger’s findings appear to be at odds with what we observe in many liberty training situations, which do take place in broad places and with several horses at the same time.

Ideally, I’d want to see study that investigates liberty training in a controlled context to determine whether or not trained liberty horses would make this choice on a consistent basis, and if so, why.

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