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Liberty Leading

leading a horse at liberty
Liberty Leading is the sixth connection exercise from Liberty Training. Liberty Leading might be the sixth connection exercise but it still does not always originate from Easy Herding.  It can originate from any of the other connection exercises too.

When it happens spontaneously, then it is up to you to accept it and freely guide the horse as long as it 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, then this means that the horse enjoys spending time with you and on that moment also follows your lead. Then you can decide the speed and direction, the horse will stay with you and adapt his speed and direction to you. By doing this exercise you learn to compose yourself as a confident leading figure.

horsefulness training liberty training groundworkThat’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 it is really saying: “Yes, I want to be with you and yes, I want to follow your directions”.  If that does not succeed it is better to keep working on that than to just start training (for example riding).  Of course this requires a different way of thinking…

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 a distance if it 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 the horse to spontaneously let you lead it while it’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”.

This because these last two exercises ensure that some horses become more alert and have more attention for 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!

liberty horse leading

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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    One thought on “Liberty Leading

    By Hannah Freeman on 4 September 2015

    I am not sure when is the best time to do these exercises, my horses are keen to be with me when its feeding time but this is surely false.
    I have two horses one who I have had for 7 1/2 years and is very laid back and friendly and the other I have only had for a year who is nice natured but wants to with me less. I would like to be able to connect with both of them more and better.
    I am reading and following this course with great interest, its nice that its not just aimed at horses that have been abused but for everyday horses who just need a bit more understanding. And I do mean us understanding them so that we can have a conversation.

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