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Greet & Go

liberty training, greeting your horse

When you have spent enough time on the first connection exercise Bonding Time, your horse should regularly come to you to seek out contact. At this point, it’s time to start with the second connection exercise, “Greet & Go”.

With Greet & Go, we turn things around: The human now takes initiative and approaches the horse for a greeting.

What is the purpose of “Greet & Go”?

The objective of this exercise is to build up trust. In this exercise, you move and walk towards the horse, which can signal to many horses: “Now something is going to happen, I will have to do something or go through something…

But with Greet & Go, we show the horse that the human doesn’t always seek out contact because something has to happen (i.e. putting on reins, having a training session, grooming, or simply petting. Not all horses like being stroked all the time.)

The horse also learns that the human shows respect for his emotions and boundaries. It’s very important that you learn how to see subtle changes in your horse’s body language to be able to show this kind of respect.

Where do you do it?

Just like with all other exercises from Liberty Training, I advise practicing in a large space so that the horse can move away if he needs to.

How do you do it?

First, take your time for Bonding Time. At a certain moment, when the horse is eating grass somewhere or is looking around, you calmly step towards him. Always be aware of the boundaries your horse is setting at any given moment.

When you arrive at the horse you invite him for contact, letting the horse smell your hand. Then you just go away.

Horse training Greet & Go

Don’t worry if the horse doesn’t really want to make contact. By repeating this exercise regularly, it will happen eventually. The horse needs to be given the freedom to take steps in his own time  if you want to establish a true connection.

Together with the first connection exercise of Bonding Time, this is the exercise to make horses more curious and more people-orientated. Even if your horse already is curious and people-oriented, this can still be a valuable exercise because you will learn to better recognize your horse’s boundaries, thus allowing a deeper form of communication to grow.

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    4 thoughts on “Greet & Go

    By Shiv on 26 October 2014

    Thank you so much for posting this article! When i go up to my horse to let him sniff me, he often sniffs and then nips me. what do i do to stop this? do i just skip this step altogether or should i just do it more carefully? thank you in advance

    By Karine Vandenborre on 8 January 2015

    Hello Shiv, the 4th exercise: “Your Spot, My Spot” is good to teach your horse to be more respectful for your personal and intimate space. So I would advice you to do that a few times and then going back to “Greet & Go”

    By Luara on 8 June 2015

    So you can see how great this practice is:
    Sometimes my mare walks away from me if I’m holding a halter. Then I drop the halter and she allows me to go and greet her (and rub her head or neck, which she likes)… and I go back to pick the halter and then she accepts it.

    By Karine Vandenborre on 17 June 2015

    Yes Luara, that is exactly what happens a lot! Horses need time to make contact and greet you. They will be much happier if the human gives them that time. You are doing it great! so happy to hear you know your horse this well and that you accept this from her (that she doesn’t want to just be haltered…)

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