April 17, 2021
I think it's fair to say we all dream of having a perfect relationship with our horse, based on mutual respect, trust and friendship. But if we're honest we can go through phases where the relationship is, let's say less than ideal.. I speak from experience, being the owner of a beautiful horse who has both a dominant character but can also get quite anxiuous. Not an easy combination to work with and I definitely realise that I am not always the best herd leader for him. Something I'm trying to work on.
I stumbled upon these wonderful educational videos of a leading liberty trainer and performer, Kenzie Dysli. They are full of theory based principles and practical tips on how to get started with some basic liberty training, all focussed on improving the relation between you and your horse. I will share with you my key learnings from the videos, to give you a sneak peak of what to expect. Of course I will also share the link to her videos, for when you have the time to invest in the relationship between you and your horse.
Character. It's so important to step back and analyse your horse's, and also your own character. Once you determine your horse is either submissive or dominant, curious or anxious you can adjust your training accordingly. Also take a hard look at yourself, what is your character and how can you adjust to improve the communication between you and your horse? Food for thought.
Are you the herd leader? A good herd leader is a calm and consistent friend, treating the horse with friendship while being a trusted leader. Are you always consistent and fair? A dominant horse may need a stronger leader, while an anxious horse needs more patience and reassurance. At times you may need to be stronger but always stay fair and be consistent, to create trust between you and your horse.
I loved the practical steps to start your liberty training; don't we all love watching a horse follow our movements and be one with our equine partner? Start with respecting each other's space, make sure the horse doesn't step into your space but also step back after each exercise and give the horse his space to release any pressure. Use your body language and energy, together with light touches or pressure points as Kenzie calls them and your voice to teach your horse commands. Start with the easy tricks with your horse on a halter and long rope, moving him backwards, move the hind quarters and his shoulders. This makes perfect sense, we start with small and easy exercises and give plenty of praise before moving on to the next phase.
You get the picture right? I couldn't recommend these videos more. Plus, they're available completely free for online watching! Have a look at kenzie-dysli.com. I've just finished watching video 1 and will definitely be back for videos 2 and 3. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
If you're feeling inspired after watching all this superb liberty training material and need some retail therapy.. have a look at our online shop here for lovely breeches and leather tack.
Until next time!
Lieke - EUR Equestrian
With many thanks to Kenzie Dysli for the inspiration!