In 2017, when I started looking into videos and stuff about horse training I came across this video:
And I loved it.
I wanted to be able to do something like this with a horse. At the same time, I was looking at a lot of videos from a lot of different trainers, and I couldn’t really find something that fit. So much of it seems too harsh, but on the swing side a lot of it looked too ‘girly’.
Another thing is that many trainers seem to treat horses as if they only had a basic level of understanding the world, and this is something I don’t believe (and that is another post altogether…). I wanted something that took things slow and gave the chance to get to know the horse. I wanted a communication between me and the horse. I did not want to just ‘train’ a horse, I wanted a horse that wanted to work with me, not just do what I was telling it to do.
With Shannie, I did a bit of this and a bit of that, but mostly just did what felt right to me. In the short time I worked with her, it seemed to work.
Horsefulness Liberty Training
Fast forward to my present situation, and I was looking for something I could follow along to do with Angel. Something we could do slowly together without a whole lot of pressure. There is a lot out there to choose from, but since there is no rush I decided to purchase the Horsefulness Liberty Training online program.
I was also curious about it. The name of the program seems a bit girly and I think there is a lot of misconception when it comes to this type of training. I find a lot of people who promote liberty and more natural horsemanship fail to show that there still needs to be defined boundaries when working with horses and that sometimes you need to put your foot down. I was curious to see Karine’s videos to see if she showed this. I wanted to see her showing that you sometimes need to be big about sending a horse out of your personal space. That you need to be clear about this, and that it isn’t always a discussion. So far, from the videos I have seen she touches on this, which is good.
One of the biggest reasons I went with this over other programs is because it isn’t really a training program. It is a get to know your horse and establish a relationship program. It is the thing you should do before your train your horse. For me this like a more natural progression with working with horses. I don’t think people spend enough time getting to know their horses and learning how their individual horse communicates.
It is not liberty as in tricks type of thing. It is working with your horse at liberty, which means the horse can choose to walk away at any point. It takes a lot of patience. It makes you slow down. It focuses on horses natural behavior. For me, a lot of it was things I was doing on intuition, which is how I do things most of the time.
So far it has been okay. I have finished the first 3 modules. I have made slight adjustments here and there based on what I felt Angel needed on whatever days. The beginning is focused a lot on doing nothing, but sometimes Angel asks to do something and looks for guidance, and in these instances, if I feel it will help her anxiety levels I will do something more with her. But, before starting the first 3 modules, I had already spent the time with her in the way the program describes. The first 3 modules are:
- Bonding time (ie. Hanging out with no expectations)
- Greet And Go (say hi to your horse, and leave again. I do this every time I am out in the paddock if she is close by)
- Greet And Groom (we have been doing this as well)
Those three things are pretty much the only things I have been doing with her since the beginning of March. I am very much looking forward to be moving to the next part of the program. So far, overall I think it provides a good starting foundation, and when I purchase my own horse, I will probably follow it again. I am also looking forward to going through the whole thing with Angel. I promise to blog about the process…