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Liberty Training = The Foundation

Liberty horse training-the-foundation

The Horsefulness Liberty Training program consists of 8 basic exercises.  I call them the 8 Connection exercises, because the most important goal of these exercises is to build up a bond with your horse and spark a deep connection!

By doing the exercises, your herd of two becomes solid and strong. Liberty training is the perfect preparation of any future training you will do with your horse.

The foundation

Just like a house needs a strong foundation, so does your relation with your horse! This foundation is built during Liberty Training. In my opinion, Liberty Training is the foundation of everything you will do with your horse.

Because how can you train a horse that walks away from you when it’s free? This horse is actually telling you it doesn’t really want to be with you… Training a horse that doesn’t want to be with you at all, let alone do something with or for you, is actually very disrespectful towards the horse. Essentially, you are forcing the horse to be with you, with no regard for your horse’s enjoyment or satisfaction.

Or how can you train a horse that doesn’t show respect for your personal space? There is a big chance that this horse will push or kick you during training and literally will take your place. And how can you train a horse that does not feel safe with you yet? This horse will be tense and incapable of learning anything. A horse that does not feel safe with you will be hard to lead, in any exercise.

The truth …

liberty leading

Liberty training is not only for horses just beginning their training. Even when you have gone through all the at-liberty connection exercises with your horse and have started with groundwork, lunging and/or riding, these exercises are a good way to know how much the bond with your horse has strengthened (or not) through your training.

A horse that always walks away from you as fast as it can as soon as you remove the rope or reins and that doesn’t want to come near to you afterwards… well, that horse speaks the truth.

Of course it’s important to look for the reason why your horse wants to get away from you after training, and to do something about it? Together with changing your training methods, the 8 connection exercises will help you to reconnect and strengthen the relationship you have with your horse.


The goal of the exercises from Horsefulness Liberty Training is:

  • To develop a clear 2-way communication
  • To get to know you horse 
  • To develop a deep connection with your horse, but also
  • To maintain this bond or
  • To rebuild and re-establish this bond
  • To solve relationship problems like lack of trust, dominance issues, not liking to be with you, …
  • To help the horse overcome certain traumatic experiences 
  • But also to find more peace and calmness in your work with your horse
  • And even to learn how to play with your horse
  • Of course, it will also prepare yourself and your horse for groundwork
    teaching your horse driving aids (Your Spot My Spot, Easy Herding, …)
    –> teaching your horse the different lead positions ( Easy Herding, Liberty Leading)
    –> preparing for circlework ( Spontaneous Circling)

All this is again a preparation for successful gymnastic groundwork and riding.

Can you see how everything builds onto itself and is connected?

The 8 connection exercises are

1. Bonding Time
2. Greet and Go
3. Greet and Groom
4. Your Spot My Spot
5. Easy Herding
6. Liberty Leading
7. Spontaneous Circling
8. The Boomerang

Find out more in these free e-books
2 free e-books Horsefulness Training

Go here to download the ebooks and read what others think of it


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    19 thoughts on “Liberty Training = The Foundation

    By Orianna on 27 September 2014

    How do i preform the exercises with my horse? Also what are they?
    Thank you

    By Karine Vandenborre on 27 September 2014

    Hello Orianna, on the right hand side of my website you find a title that say’s ” Liberty Training”.
    Go there to see the different exercises. The liberty work consists of 8 exercises which you can find there.

    By Jill on 18 January 2016

    Hi! I am new to the Liberty world. I have decided to work on a miniature horse for my first time. He is an amazing pony, but is not young. He is in his mid to late twenties. He has pulled a cart all his life. I know this horse will be quite the challenge, but I am determined. He generally follows me around anyway, he loves being with humans already, but his idea of following me is being by my side. I need him to follow me with his head towards the front of my body (I walk backwards and he follows facing me). He has a thing for standing directly at your side. Also, he doesn’t really have any cues for standing or stopping. He just sort of runs in to me or goes in a circle around my body. How do I teach a horse to stop when told, and how to stand still until told to move? How do I gain his attention without being aggressive? All tips for Liberty are excepted. THANK YOU!

    By Paige on 26 April 2016

    Hi Jill. If your miniature is running into you like that or circling they are being dominant. When he circles you he is trying to cut you off and sort of ‘herd’ you to stop. This is being dominant so to fix this you need to be the one stopping HIM so if he runs into you like that back him up. Back him up when ever he does that and he will eventually respect your space and recognise you as the leader. So back him up and even. Back him up a couple of metres if he is still being dominant. Be a calm leader and you can back him up by; pressure on his haunted till he steps back then release, use a training stick to tap him on the chest and stop tapping once he steps back and some people jolt down on their halter if they really are being disrespectful and getting too aggressive to get the point through. Hope that help ❤️👍

    By Tori An on 7 May 2017

    For making him stop first say your cue word stop if he doesn’t make a motion then w/ a halter and lead shake the lead rope side to side (like Clinton Anderson horsemanship) make him back up then walk say stop or cue hand motion then make him back up (move onto next motion if he dosnt stop first time)

    By Paige on 26 April 2016

    Hey guys. My heroes puts her ears back and scrunched her nostrils and sometimes cranes her neck and looking like she is about to bite when I do Liberty. Please help!!!

    By Del on 21 June 2018

    Esounds like you’ve may have been too hard on her. This kind of training needs a slower subtle approach compared to traditional training. Look at clicker training for tips on the madness behind the methods.

    By Jacklyn on 4 September 2019

    So my horse used to be like that. She stopped after i built an easy come relationship with her first. Just walking her around. Giving her grain and exploring with her on lead. Some horses also have been taught that if they act scary then the humans will leave them be. Thats how mine was taught. I sh9w her no fear, and she has now learned that im not gonna run from her, or leave her alone. Its built us a super tight bond

    By ali on 12 September 2016

    ok so i just recently bought two colts. they are 3months. i am having a hard time with them in the field. i can not catch them and they dont seem curious of me. i bring them in everynight… any suggestions? they are the only horses on the property

    By Karine-vandenBorre on 18 November 2016

    You could start with liberty training, the first 3 connection exercises are really helpful when horses don’t like to be haltered or are afraid/distrustful.

    By Leah on 25 April 2017

    From step 4-8 can a lunging whip be used to establish ques better?

    By Karine-vandenBorre on 10 January 2018

    I don’t recommend a lunging whip, it’s too long and too heavy. A short driving whip is better.

    By C.A. on 28 February 2018

    You communicate with a WHIP?? That cannot build trust. Your page spoke of respect, and a whip is a threat to the horse’s mind. I came here wanting to know what a Liberty Wire was, but clearly, this is the wrong website for respect and trust. I am Very morally disappointed that you condone the handling of Whips. That is not acceptable.

    By Debbie on 11 March 2018

    I believe in this context the whip is used as an extension of the trainers arm, not for discipline.

    By John Everett on 9 April 2019

    That’s correct

    By Jana on 27 July 2017

    Here’s my problem. I have a mare (haflinger x quarter horse) and we’ve reached a lot together. But here’s the thing. All exercices go great but when she’s following me and i start running, she’s like “oh no, that’s too exhausting” and then she just walks away or she follows in her own tempo (walking) i tried using a whip or voice command to get her to trot but then she usually just walks away. How do i get her to actually trot? Only way she will is if i have carrots…
    My gelding (shetlander) follows me everywhere and sometimes also trots behind me as sort of a game between us. It’s really fun and i really wish my horse would do this too

    By Dakota on 7 February 2018

    Hello!! My horse is 5 yrs old and she is the kind of horse that needs a lot of work everyday. I am 12 and don´t have a lot of free time at all. When we sent my horse to Finley University for Horses, she was the happy as ever! When we brought her back home, she was good for a few days then started to get snotty. It has been getting worse ever since. I am afraid of her because she is always rearing, bucking, and just being bad. But when my dad or brother leads her she is just as good as she was at the training stable. She has been getting worse ever since. How can I fix that so she is not bucking, and rearing for me and have a great bond with her?? Please answer me ASAP!! I really want to have the greatest bond ever with sooner rather than later!!

    By Jacklyn on 4 September 2019

    Just dont fear her. At some point you gotta relax and show her that your arent gonna let her oush you around. Along with this treat her when she gives a good day. Not everyday is ride and work day. Some days are for walking and playing. She bites, kicks, so on punish her for it. My mare was a mess when i got her. Kicked, bit, striked, pretty much everything but we got through it together

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