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?If 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). 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.
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