Training Your Horse at Liberty

Nancy Zintsmatster with her horses in Costa Rica after a 5 day WHR clinic

Nancy Zintsmatster with her horses in Costa Rica after a 5 day WHR clinic

At liberty, a horse is in full expression of himself. Working a horse at liberty allows you to read him more easily than with the use of tack. Submission and obedience are not the desired goals and your horse is allowed freedom of expression. This freedom is of course beneficial to you, your horse, and the relationship that you share. Expectations take a back seat as the focus is on your bond.

Mindfulness of connection necessitates that you consider how your horse feels about his training and your companionship. Horses naturally seek connection and leadership. As a horse provides opportunities for leadership, people sometimes mistakenly think he is being difficult or dominant when in fact he is merely presenting opportunities for the person's leadership to shine forth.

Training horses at liberty from the outset creates equity and fairness for horses and humans. In today's society, we can become obsessed with performance. We watch competitions in which wild horses are "trained" in 3 days. The "best horseman" is the one who most quickly communicates the language of submission as he performs various feats. The "winner" is then rewarded with a handsome monetary prize. Help me to understand the merit in making a horse do anything if he has no choice in the matter! When a recent Women's Horse Challenge competition was announced, many people sent me enrollment information. Although I was honored that my friends thought of me, I also felt that they might not totally understand the method of horsemanship I teach. It is a method of connection in which the horse initiates the relationship. Having a relationship with a horse and developing a real bond takes more than a few days. As in any relationship, time should not be a sticking point. Every moment spent in the presence of your horses helps to develop the foundation for a stronger bond.

Beginning a relationship with your horse at liberty allows you to learn through trial and error which is one of the best teaching tools in the development of your horsemanship skills. You learn to "read your horse" in the moment and make adjustments in your leadership accordingly. You intuitively learn what works and what doesn't as you develop a feeling for when you are too strong or not strong enough with a horse. Your body language becomes clear and your connection with your horse grows deeper.

Horses have provided me with more gifts than I can possibly describe. The special bond I feel with horses has led me to have a deeper and stronger connection to humans, other animals, and to nature as well. The time that I share with these majestic creatures has taught me valuable lessons about the richness of being fully present in the moment.

People often ask which training method is the best. The best method is the one that you personally are called to follow. I followed my heart to train at liberty in The Carolyn Resnick Method and now I enjoy the most wonderful magnetic connection with my horses!

Have a great rest of the week as you focus on connection with your horses as well. The magic awaits!