How to practise liberty dressage with several horses at the same time?

by maxx

October 28, 2021


If you have more than one horse, it is of course sometimes nice to keep two (or more) horses busy at the same time.

I already introduced you to one variation – riding with a hand horse – in my last blog.

Today I would like to take a step back and work out with you how to train more than one horse in liberty dressage 😉

Liberty training – the basics

In order to work with two horses, both should of course have already learned various elements of liberty training individually.

This does not mean that each of your horses has to know the whole range of exercises and lessons from my courses.

After all, every horse has its own talents and not every exercise suits every character type. But the basics of the lead exercise as well as the reflex point should work well freely.

If your horse is always thinking about going its own way, it is definitely not ready to work with a second horse.

Because two horses means that you also have to divide your attention – and you don’t have each horse in the same way as in single training.

If your horse takes advantage of any carelessness, you should work on your relationship and your horse’s motivation.

As always, the more carefully you have worked on your base, the easier it will be for you to continue training!

Therefore, make sure that your horse holds the “comfort position” on his own, especially in the lead position to your right – and that he always remains at shoulder height between the gaiter and the nose.

To check this, it makes sense to vary your pace again and again. This is because your horse has to think along with you and adapt to your speed.

This also means that if he misses the exit and falls back a little, he immediately looks for the position at your side again.

This is best done under distraction. Because the second horse will also be a distraction.

Let’s go!

If you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself the first time, it is recommended that you don’t start the training with both horses fresh and full of energy.

They should still be able to concentrate and be motivated, but a little exercise beforehand (e.g. in the lead machine, on the paddock, on the lunge line, etc.) won’t hurt to calm their minds a bit – because some horses have a hard time with one or the other new rule 😉

The first rule

For horses, it is essential that the hierarchy between the herd members is clear. This is the only way for peace and harmony to prevail – after all, big discussions cost the flight animal unnecessary energy.

But at the beginning, things can still get pretty heated from time to time – and we don’t need that for our training.

On the one hand, we want to keep the risk of injury for horse and human as low as possible, on the other hand, we want the horses to concentrate on moving together and not on bickering with each other.

It is therefore extremely important that your position as “lead animal” towards your horses is clear, without you still having to defend your dance area.

Of course it is easier if the two horses know each other and like each other – but free work can also work with horses that are strangers to each other if the rule: No scuffles and discussions during training! is clear to all horses and is accepted in the same way. Nevertheless, please do not take any risks!

For example, if both horses don’t like each other and you are unsure whether you can handle this dynamic – don’t experiment!

Your horses sense your doubts and take advantage of them when in doubt. G

ou’d better be on the safe side until you have a routine and overview and know what’s important. Especially when working with stallions or bitchy mares, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

But if both horses get along well and the basics of free work have been established, you can really get started 😉

In the beginning, don’t be afraid to comment on the poisonous looks your horses give each other in order to reinforce your rule. Consistency from the beginning will definitely make your life easier in the long run!

Two horses double the pleasure!

To start with the free work, it is best to begin on the left hand.

This side is more intuitive for most horses, as we do almost everything from this side and are in the lead position, which your horse already knows well.

Now simply put the second horse on the right side of the first horse, so that both horses still hold the comfort position as usual.

As always, praise a lot at the beginning in order to really build on every impulse in the right direction in the long run. As in individual training, you should have both horses on the rope at the beginning in order to be able to influence!

The handling with two ropes is a bit more complicated at the beginning, but you will soon get used to it.

The more consistently and cleanly you work here from the beginning, of course, the quicker your two horses will understand what you want from them.

Which of your horses runs on the inside and which on the outside depends on their character.

The outer horse naturally has the somewhat heavier part at the beginning, since your connection is now a bit wider, and could easily feel pushed away by the inner horse – especially if the inner horse is high in rank.

But even if the outer horse is the high ranking one, the inner horse could quickly feel crowded. Therefore, make sure that none of the horses start a fight!

Of course, you can also test which position each horse feels more comfortable in – afterwards, however, you should keep fixed positions for your horses if possible, so that a routine can develop in which each horse feels comfortable.

At the beginning, practice one hand first and build in a safe stop and come to you in order to have an “off” button installed for every possible situation.

Afterwards you can also change hands. Remember that the goal at the beginning is not the speed, but a really clean execution.

The pace and the greater dynamics that come with it is something that comes with time.

You can also let the horses walk behind each other instead of side by side. For this, however, they have to have already broken away from your position in the individual training and if possible circle around you when you stand still in the middle.

By the way, joint circus lessons such as the Spanish step in unison can also be a lot of fun with the three of you!

There are actually no limits to your imagination 😉 In any case, I hope that you will have lots of fun with the three of you at the start of your training!

All the best,

Your Kenzie

Circensic Seminar by Kenzie Dysli

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