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The Boomerang

Liberty training the boomerang
I call the eighth connection exercise “The Boomerang”.  This is a very active exercise, so your horse has to be in a playful and energetic mood for it, or you have to try and spark this playful energy in your horse.

What is the objective of the Boomerang?

playing at liberty boomerang

The primary objective is to have fun! This exercise fuels the fire of your horse. This energy is what fuels running, playing, and joyful bucking.

However, you must practice this exercise mindfully. If you start this game in the wrong moment, play it too long or too many times, or come across as aggressive rather than playful, the horse no longer experiences The Boomerang as a fun game but as something very annoying.

Where do you do this exercise?

All connection exercises are done in a large arena or meadow. A large area is especially important with this exercise because you definitely don’t want to give your horse the feeling that you are chasing him. In a large space, you can play, be energetic and go crazy, because the horse can take his distance if he needs to.  

Also, you should refrain from chasing your horse or staying too close to him. This will take the pressure off and let him know that it’s just a game. Your intention is very important here: it should be “let’s play together” and not “you need to run away now and then return”.

How do you do it?

Because of the preceding connection exercises, you should now be at the point that your horse enjoys your company very much and that he happily follows you at liberty. So your bond is now so strong that you can send your horse away actively, trotting or galloping. You do this with a playful intention: “I feel like playing, do you want to join me?”

liberty training boomerang

So, if our horse feels like it, we invite him to actively trot or gallop, sending him away in front of us and letting him run energetically, then inviting him to return to us afterwards.

The idea is similar to that of throwing a boomerang — when you send your horse away in the right way, most of the time he will want to return. Keep in mind that it is not an obligation but an invitation to return… not a command but a game.

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    7 thoughts on “The Boomerang

    By Olivia on 2 February 2015

    So you keep mentioning, inviting your horse to turn, or inviting your horse to gallop. How do you invite your horse to do these things without it coming off as a demand? I own a highly sensitive horse and I’m worried that he will misunderstand my invitation as a demand.

    By Karine Vandenborre on 24 February 2015

    If you invite your horse to turn, the horse can say “no” and then it doesn’t turn. If you don’t react on that by giving pressure, the horse feels no demand at all. Every movement towards you can only be an invitation. The horse decides if it will come or not.
    If you ask your horse to move away from you, that’s another thing. You can do this with the idea of: “now you have to do as I say” or “let’s move together”. Horses are very sensitive to this. With a very sensitive horse like your horse it is important to keep enough distance.

    By Candice on 13 June 2015

    Will you be doing any videos on your methods? Think that will clarify a lot of questions.

    By Karine Vandenborre on 17 June 2015

    Hello Candice, at the moment our Dutch online course (with video’s, articles, live webinars, …) about Liberty Training and the 8 connection exercises is being translated into English. In a few months it will be available for everybody who is interested in online coaching. You will hear from it when the time is there!

    By Hannah Freeman on 4 September 2015

    I really want to learn more about this, its what I’ve been looking for for a while, such a nice gentle approach.

    By Karine Vandenborre on 5 September 2015

    Hello Hannah, this year we will launch our English online program on Liberty Training. So if you didn’t download my free ebook yet, I recommand to do it, than you are in my email list and you will be updated about it!

    By Shannon on 20 April 2015

    I recently got a 9 year old Fjord gelding who hasn’t been worked with in a long time, and has never been broke to ride. I have some experience in training, though not in a very long time, and I’m an inexperienced rider. I really want a strong bond with my Indy before I get into training him for riding. I think this will be safer all-around for the both of us, and prevent a lot of problems in the long run. I’ve been doing lots and lots of research on training, and I’ve found that I like the ideology of a lot of trainers out there, but not the methodology. Until now. This is the first place I’ve found methods that really work for my style of horsemanship, and though I’ve only just discovered this website today, I’ve been doing many of the liberty games with my horse in the three weeks since I got him. Thank you so much for your clear, concise directions on how to bond with my horse!

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