|The Natural collected outline in Piaffe with my Liberty Rein|
As usual, I decided after studying all these points of view to go to the experts to ask them what they think. The experts are the horses. I ask them a lot about what works and doesn't work for them. Sometimes we (humans) decide that we know better then our horses and I think that's when we get into trouble.
I started exploring the natural outline at Liberty and watching horses with no tack. I then looked at conformations, movement, training, and habitual postures. I have the good fortune to work with many disciplines and breeds. It is easy to work with a nicely put together horse that is suited for a discipline. But, I am always most gratified to take horses on that are needing rehabilitation. With proper dressage exercises and good Fundamentals(and possibly some chiropractic and acupuncture), even the seemingly most challenged horses can have dramatic turnarounds.
This takes time and it is not a fast fix. There is often atrophy, asymetry and muscle memory patterns that will take patient, careful plans to overcome. It is a lot like Physical therapy in some cases. It can change from day to day and require constant adjustment to the needs of the horse.
All horses require time and patience regardless of talent, or conformation. In fact often the most ruined horses are the ones that show promise. They get rushed through the levels of training because of their ability. Their good nature is taken advantage of and or they are injured in the process. They are often mentally depleted as a result.
The exercises I use are centered around Liberty and my Liberty rein because they allow the horse the freedom to show me where they want to carry their posture. They are trained from where they tell me to start. You can do theses exercises with my Bitless bridle, Halter, or Bitted bridle. Another reason to choose the Liberty rein is that is will deter you from being able to pull on the horses head. The Liberty rein allows you to focus on your communication and body language and removes the temptation of controlling the horses head. Watch your horse without tack and let him show you where to start. See Natural Outline Liberty rein exercises at the FDHorsemanship Virtual Clinic