Liberty Leading is the sixth connection exercise from Liberty Training. Liberty Leading might be the sixth connection exercise but it does not always originate from Easy Herding. It can originate from any of the other connection exercises as well. When it happens spontaneously, then it is up to you to accept it and freely guide the horse as long as he feels like it. When the horse decides to leave again, then that is ok. Later you can also actively ask your horse to let you lead it, so then the initiative comes from you.
What is the objective of Liberty Leading?When a horse follows you, without you holding it and without you being able to prevent it walking away, it means that the horse enjoys spending time with you and in that moment and also follows your lead. Then you can decide the speed and direction, and the horse will stay with you and adapt his speed and direction to you. By doing this exercise, you learn to show yourself as a confident leader. That’s why it is very smart to take your time before a training session and work towards Liberty Leading. When your horse lets himself be lead by you, he is really saying: “Yes, I want to be with you and yes, I want to follow your directions”. If that does not happen, it is better to keep working on it than to just start training (for example, riding). Of course, this requires a different way of thinking from what most people have been taught.
Where do you do this exercise?Just like all the other connection exercises, we are going to work in the meadow or big riding arena, so the horse can take distance if he wants to.
How do you do this exercise?Often the connection exercises Bonding Time and Greet & Go are very good exercises to do to get your horse in the right mood and spark the right connection to get him to spontaneously let you lead him while he’s free. But for some horses, it can also be necessary to Greet & Groom or to more actively work on Your Spot, My Spot or Easy Herding. These last two exercises encourage your horse to become more alert and put more attention on you. Especially for horses that are distracted quickly or tend towards dominant behavior, these two exercises seem to work really well if they are applied with the right intention -- assertive but still friendly! However, you can also actively ask the horse to come with you and follow your lead by standing next to the horse and then asking the horse to come with you when you leave.
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