As some of you may already know, I do quite a lot of rehab work with horses emotionally and physically. Liberty work has so many applications in my system and Whole approach to horses.
When I blend my eye for bio-mechanics with Horse Listening™, Liberty interaction and Customized (often in the moment) exercises, It allows me to help horses in a way that work with tack can’t do. The horse is allowed to freely move un-interfered with by tack. He can tell me his mental and physical truth. When a horse is severely atrophied and also has a long standing posture or conformation that he has adapted to, It takes a long time to change the muscle memory and the horses’ attachment to their defensive postures. Horses develop these postures for various reasons. It can be conformation challenges, poor riding, poor equipment fit, mental tension (which can come from any of these or the horses nature) or all of the above.
My Liberty FUNdamental™ work is a combination of fun Liberty connection building exercises integrated with Technical exercises that reflect where the horses need help strengthening, suppling and understanding more complex riding questions. This helps the horse learn how to carry, balance and find his Natural Outline™ without tack. Thus facilitating a horse that not only understands the movements we are looking for but needs little influence from tack or what I call non-tack dependent. This horse does not needs a lot of equipment because he understands what is being requested and is physically strong enough to do it willingly and happily.
When a horse is at Liberty, I can ask him questions about how he feels about certain movements and patterns. His responses to those questions in turn, give me information on where he is physically, mentally and emotionally with any number of things. He can tell me how fit he is, Which direction he prefers, what his natural posture is (good or bad), how he feels about transitions, his gaits, where his asymmetries are and so much more.
I use Liberty to gently bring horses back into balance by listening to what they tell me. Once I see where they are at at Liberty, I know what they can sustainably withstand with tack if they can sustain riding at all any time in the future.
I have learned to use Liberty to a degree which is very sophisticated and works on many levels simultaneously. It is fascinating and fun to me. Liberty has four categories I work in that range from Connection building to Liberty FUNdamentals which have beginner, intermediate and Advanced levels.
Liberty FUNdamentals are where Technical Training and Liberty Merge. This is a great way to work with horses before In Hand work and Line work because they don’t allow us to artificially shape the horse to what we think is the right posture for the horse. Often we try to create this ideal image of the horse that is not in line with where he actually is. This can create more tension then positive results. In Hand work can be used this way incorrectly as can any work with bits, and tack or gadgets that set the frame or head of the horse.
Once I see a horse go at Liberty and ask some questions of him without any attachment to the answers I get (just information gathering). I can start designing my training program around the horses’ responses. I will be offering more instruction in this work soon or if you’d like Virtual Coaching in this work I now have Live Streaming teaching available so you can see actual live demonstrations of exercises during your virtual coach session or my up and coming live streaming online clinics. Lots of exciting stuff here!