11.09.2013

Correct Principles at Liberty

I like this picture because it shows how her placement is at a very specific angle to her horse, behind the wither line, influencing 2nd and 3rd positions on her horses body. The only thing that would help is if she stood taller and felt where her shoulders were, so would her horse. She is slightly on her forehand in her body.

It is super fun to play at Liberty with our horses but some people criticize certain types of Liberty for reinforcing bad bio-mechanics and or habits in the horse. I prefer to put my Liberty into categories. First there is Connection building Liberty with no real emphasis on technical "seed planting" as I call it. The emphasis would be on being with your horse more and doing less. As I start to angle toward technical "seed planting", I have Beginner level of Liberty Fun!damentals , Intermediate level (Geometry, Bio-Mechanics and Impulsion) and an Advanced level ( (Collection and lateral work).

In order to bring this Connection building style of Liberty Training to your practice, You have to think about what you would like from your horse when you are riding. More importantly you have to come into your body and feel the riding body language in you. I am constantly reminding people to not try to get their horse to do something. The idea is to get them to feel something that your are doing and connect to it. Horses are SO symbiotic with us it is astounding to me. Yet we are so unaware sometimes of how we are influencing for good or bad. At Liberty we have a communication level that can be both free and technical simultaneously. In really playful moments, I find it fun see how much I can get Mercury to Mirror me. I watch him studying me with a quizzical look as if to say "What's this about?" Then he tries to do it!

My challenge for this week is for you to really get into your body when you are with your horse. Every inch of it. Your head to toes. Especially hips and shoulder and feet. Breath deeply while you are working/playing and keep reminding yourself if you get too focused on what your horse should be doing. Get back into your own movements. It will really help your riding if you feel into some of you riding habits on the ground. I see people do exactly the same posture and communicating on the ground that they do when they are riding. I can see exactly how a person rides just like I can see exactly how a horse rides when I play at liberty with him. You can practice this at Liberty, on Line or Mounted. Just stay present in your body.

It takes a good understanding of what we want to communicate to our horses to become more clear and coherent. Many times when we get it right, our horse says "well why didn't you say so?" "I am happy to do that!"

In my clinics, I find that just helping people focus on coming into their bodies, slowing down, and communicating clearer breaks through a lot of the "issues" they come with simply, gracefully and eloquently.
In 2014 I will be offering more intensives on all these areas as well as how to move it to dancing In Hand and Line Work to Super fun Mounted success! Dates to be announced. Thanks to Natalie Bourchier Photography (http://www.nataliebourchierphotography.co.uk) for the beautiful photo.
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Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
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