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Your Spot, My spot

Liberty horse training dominant behaviour
The fourth connection exercise is called “Your Spot, My Spot”. The horse that leaves his spot when another horse drives him from that spot shows himself at that moment as lower ranked. The horse that drives another horse to take his spot shows himself as being higher ranked at that moment.

In this exercise we take the spot where the horse is standing.

Why do you do  “Your Spot, My Spot”?

Through this exercise we tell the horse that we can show ourselves as being higher ranked when we need to (do not confuse this with leadership!). It is important that a horse will want to give his spot or move over for his trainer. This gets you more respect from the horse for as far as your personal space is concerned and it is also safer to work with a horse that moves away from you if you ask to.

By doing this exercise we learn how to be assertive but still friendly.

We also practise in developing our driving aids.  Because it’s not always about hierarchy, but it’s always about communication.  If you know how to use driving aids in a calm and friendly way, and your horse als yields to your driving aids in a calm and relaxed way, then yielding to driving aids in groundwork will also become much easier and fluent (think about asking the horse to take distance while leading him, or asking the horse to go forward on the circle, etc).

Where do you do this fourth connection exercise?

At first, you always do this exercise in a large space, like a meadow or large paddock/riding arena, so that the horse can take a lot of distance if he feels the need to.  If they have space to take this distance, they will not feel pressured.

How do you do it?

You step in the direction of the horse confidently  and by using the intention, focus, energy and body language you communicate to the horse that you want to take his place.

Horse training your spot my spot

You basically tell the horse: “I want to stand in your spot, so I want you to go away and move to another spot”. Then you effectively stand still on that spot so his/her spot has now become your spot. You have shown yourself as higher ranked at this moment, and the horse has shown himself as lower ranked by making space for you.

It’s very important that you take into account the individual horse, because every horse is different and you have to adjust your approach to the horse you’re working with! Read this article to learn more about it.

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    8 thoughts on “Your Spot, My spot


    By bri on 24 January 2015

    When i do this with my horse he just stands there and won’t move.
    Am I doing something wrong or should I take a step back and redo the other three liberty activities first?;


    By Karine Vandenborre on 24 February 2015

    There are a few things that can cause this:
    1. you doubt and your horse feels it
    2. you are not assertive enough and stop asking if the horse doesn’t react immediatly
    3. your aids are not given correct
    If you know which reason(s) causes your horse to not want to move, than you can work on that.


    By NutMeg on 29 May 2019

    So, what exactly are the correct aids? Waving arms, voice, looking the horse in the eye? In my case, my horse doesn’t live with other horses, and hasn’t for a long time, around 7 years. Does this make any difference to her herd instincts and how I must act and move to make her understand?


    By hannah on 29 May 2015

    I’m a little confused as to how you actually do this. In what way is the walking towards the horse different from when you approach for greet and go/groom. How are you making the horse aware that you want it to move? I sometimes have to move my pony’s field companion from the gate so I can get him in the field. When I do this I verbally ask her to move (tell her “away you go” and slightly flap my arms) she will move enough for us to get in. Is this how I would do it when playing ‘your spot, my spot’ with my pony?


    By Karine Vandenborre on 29 May 2015

    When you don’t want to the horse to move away from you, your bodylanguage is more passive. Also your intention is something the horse picks up! So when you want to take your horse’s spot, you are “active” in your posture and movements (with some horses that is only a little bit, with other you need to be more active the first time).


    By Clare Corden on 22 February 2016

    Same here Karine, my horse turns to face me on the your spot, my spot exercise?


    By Nathalie on 31 March 2016

    Hello,
    what do I do afterwards? Let’s say the exercise went all well, the horse moved and I’m at his former spot for a period of time. What then?


    By Avery on 3 April 2017

    Hi Karine,
    I got my first horse about a year ago, but just in the beginning of last month I started liberty training, using your 8 steps. He often pins his ears and tries to bite me. After observing when & why he chooses to do it, I came to the assumption that he could be showing dominance. I am already ready to begin the Greet & Go step, but im wondering if I should do Your Spot My Spot until he stops biting. I dont want to come across as a “predator” & therefore break the small connection we have built from Bonding Time. How can I come across as “assertive but still friendly”?
    Thank You

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