Your free resources
Find out more

Page content

Spontaneous Circling

horse circling at liberty

Spontaneous Circling is the seventh connection exercise. It is an exercise that sprouts from the preceding six connection exercises. Spontaneous Circling is a lot of fun to do, but not a precondition to start Groundwork.

Spontaneous circling requires a strong connection that you can obtain by doing the preceding exercises. However, when the first six exercises go well, you can say that the bond with your horse is strong enough to continue with basic groundwork. So don’t think that if your horse does not spontaneously start circling around you it means that you don’t have a strong bond with your horse yet.

What is the objective of Spontaneous Circling?

This exercise does not really have an “objective”. If it happens, it is very cool and fun, and you feel very connected to the horse, especially if it happens spontaneously. However, you can also work towards it and invite the horse to circle around you with body language. That also gives a grand sense of connection, because to do it you really need to be connected and communicate well.

How do you do it?

circling at liberty trainingIf it happens spontaneously, you notice that the horse walks or trots around you (or maybe even gallops) while you step in a small circle or maybe just rotate around your axis. Your horse is active, looks at you, wants to move and still be around you. Maybe he is challenging you to play, head high, tail in the air, snorting through his nostrils…

Or maybe your horse is actually very relaxed, shows a convex topline, good-looking lateral bending, tail moving along with the rhythm of the trot.

Whatever it is, however the horse moves, however long or short it lasts, let it happen and don’t try to “hold on to it”. Enjoy this connection!

I personally prefer to wait for the moment when it happens spontaneously, but some horses don’t offer it so easily unless you really invite them. You can start circling from Liberty Leading in the partner position or from Easy Herding. By using body language you invite the horse to go forward, think ahead, move and stay with you at the same time, watch you and circle together.

Your physical expression is very important while doing this!

Spontaneous Circling you do… TOGETHER!

The word “together” is key here — moving together and circling together. You, too, move in a very small or slightly larger circle. “Being together” in everything you do is very important and especially with this “exercise” (which is really more of a game than an exercise).

Horsefulness circling at liberty

The “technique” of putting a lot of pressure  on the horse when it leaves you until it returns, which is used in some training methods, has nothing to do with Horsefulness Liberty Training. It does have everything to do with fear and intimidation. If you want to build trust between you and your horse, fear and intimidation is not the way to go.

Putting pressure on your horse when it wants to go away from you can ensure that your horse becomes anxious and distrustful. Some horses eventually do what is expected but suffer inside, or will start to behave more like a robot than a horse…

So never, ever chase a horse that wants to go away from you!

Let Spontaneous Circling arise from a free choice, trust and the intention of “being together”. In this way, a connection can arise from the heart instead of from force and control.

I also have 2 e-books for you.

Enter your name and email so I can send you your copies.

You will also receive updates and free tips on horse training. You can unsubscribe at any time.
    Leave a comment

    Comment Section

    6 thoughts on “Spontaneous Circling

    By Mo on 29 May 2015

    I think it would give you more credit if you were 1) more organized and clear and if 2) you didn’t bash Natural Horsemanship.
    I’m interested in what you have to say and to see if it’s something I want to do instead of (or as well as) Parelli, but it is not nearly as clear to me in instruction and also I don’t like hearing that natural horsemanship is causing “fear and intimidation” because I would never cause that to my horse in a million years, and it ends up discrediting you and what you do.

    I’m saying this in good faith. I am curious about what you do and what this is, those two points are my advice to drawing in more folk like me and in holding my interest.

    I do appreciate your thoughtfulness of the horse and your basic philosophies so far.
    I’m excited to try this myself.

    I’ll keep reading through your site and lessons.

    I hope this was of help.


    By Karine Vandenborre on 29 May 2015

    Hello Mo, I try my best to give the best possible information that is suitable to post on a website. My website is not ready yet, we are still working on it, so I agree it doesn’t look organized yet.
    About your idea that I’m bashing on another method: if you mean my opinion about sending a horse away with a lot of pressure and only releasing the pressure when the horse looks at you or turns in to you, then I can only say that this IS making horses feel scared and intimidated! This is NOT something that horses give trust or relaxation.
    I have seen this a lot of times, in different ways of training, and it is something I don’t recommend doing.
    Another thing is this: I have studied a lot of different horse training methods and I learned from ALL of them. Also from Parelli and other natural horsemanship methods. I am very openminded. However, certain techniques applied to horses are not horsefriendly.
    I sometimes write about it on my website because I want to make people think about it. That’s my goal. How can I make people think about something if I don’t write about it…
    so, I hope you understand the intent after my texts, it’s really al loving intent with the goal of helping horses.

    By susie on 11 October 2015

    Excellent I love your site it is very informative in all areas and i believe no matter what experience level with horses that you are at you will always find something exciting in your website thank you keep it up.

    By Candice on 13 June 2015

    I think everyone is entitled to their opinions and I’m sure this lady has managed to have her methods work. And don’t uou think since animals have in the past been free without any types man made gizmos and gadgets that it’s best to try to adapt to them in their natural form as much as possible than to use all the crap that we have made to control them. So I think in my opinion she isn’t bashing anything she is just stating her opinion and trying to enlighten people with her methods. Don’t get offended and just be open minded. Thanks.

    By Ilia on 27 January 2018

    Thank you very much for your brilliant ideas on liberty training – it’s very helpful, makes good sense, and is exactly what i needed to know. I’ve been doing a little bit of liberty work with my horse lately which had been going well, she would stay with me for a little bit and then trot off, but always came back. Today i decided to try the other ‘technique’ you speak of and used a stick&rope to put pressure (slapping the ground etc) on my horse when she left me….i so wish i hadn’t! It has set our relationship back and resulted in her becoming very frustrated with me – she eventually bolted off in a tizz, bucked, reared, and ofcourse no longer wanted to be with me….won’t be doing that again, if only i had found your website sooner 🙂
    Hopefully my horse will forgive me!
    Thanks again for your knowledge 🙂

    By NutMeg on 29 May 2019

    I did something similar to that just the other day and, like your horse, my horse didn’t respond well. I’ve just found this website now and am very eager to try it out.

    Leave a Reply