Today it should really be about the relationship between you and your horse – but not only the physical, but also the psychological one.
In the end, everything comes together in a good liberty dressage and cannot be separated anymore. Because there is no connection without bonding. So, which fundamentals have you set?
The start into liberty dressage
The foundation on which I build, as in my online intensive seminar, are, as you may know, the guiding exercises. I don’t lead my horse from A to B “just like that” but give him a firm place at my side – especially physically but also mentally.
I teach him to keep his neck at the height of my shoulder and not to fall behind me with his head or overtake me with his shoulder. This way I always have a good view of his facial expressions – and still have no problem in indicating speed and direction.
Experience has shown me that horses really appreciate to have “their place” in this.
This way they not only know where they are, but have also created a “comfort zone” for themselves. Horses like and need this security to always know where they stand – and are much happier when we humans give them appropriate rules.
Consider the psyche of the horse
And this brings us straight to the next topic: The psyche of the horse, which of course plays just as important a role in our training!
Because we can never achieve success in training if we only train the horse’s body – maybe even according to the rules! Every horse is not only different and must be “worked” individually by us – we must also give it the feeling of working together.
Because only if we go in the same direction together can a partnership relationship develop. Have you ever seen a team that really worked against each other?
And made life difficult for each other?
Together instead of against each other
Of course we do not want something like that! Free work should not only look light and free – it should be. At least within a safe framework.
Therefore we have to give the horse in our small herd of two what it needs – because it is a horse. For this we can simply take a “good herd boss” as a role model.
Because a good boss transmits security and consistency – without any unpleasant surprises. As already mentioned, this includes fixed rules that are always observed by every member of the herd.
And we should also take this as an example – even if often with a heavy heart.
Consequence: The A & O
As much as on some days we like to let the horse crawl into our jacket pocket to beg, we should not fall for his charm for the sake of the relationship.
For the horse does not understand why this form of begging is allowed one day – and not the other. It rather sees the inconsistency that speaks from this behavior. For the sake of our relationship, we should therefore always be consistent – and defend the rules we have set up.
However, you should never confuse consistency with hardness! In my opinion, toughness has no place in horse training. Especially not if you want to build up a relationship with your horse – without fear.
My motto: As much as necessary, but as little as possible – always and everywhere. And with the thought in the back of your mind to always see only the best in your horse and never the worst.
That simply creates a different basis in your training.
Become the best version of yourself with your horse!
It is also helpful if you prepare yourself before you greet your horse to know that you will have a great training today – and that you are the perfect trainer for your horse.
We all make mistakes – and that’s not bad at all as long as we work on ourselves and try to develop.
So approach your horse big and full of self-confidence, look forward to working together.
Because especially in free work it is important that more than just the rope connects you.
Often – and fortunately! – we realize before we see it how our horse feels with us in training. If you show your horse like this horse now and then a little insecurity is not bad at all.
Because when we teach our horse something new, we leave “our comfort zone” together, so to speak.
Depending on the type of horse, it can happen that your horse gets a little nervous or insecure.
But as long as you show your horse calmness and composure, your horse will relax quickly.
The secret ingredients for more closeness?
So I can’t give you a “secret recipe” for a good relationship with your horse and more closeness.
Because there are no “secret tricks” and exercises, so to speak, that make sure that your horse quickly bonds to you.
I can only say from experience that horses appreciate it when you try to become the best version of yourself every day – and a “good herd boss” on two feet, who with his training not only brings variety into the horse’s everyday life, but also fun in movement and flexibility in the head.
Horses simply like people who radiate calmness and self-confidence and know exactly what they are doing.
If you don’t feel that way yet, just try to get one step closer to this version of yourself every day by being more careful with your training.
Make mistakes – but learn from them. Soon nothing will stand in the way of a horse that follows you wherever you go!