Liberty Obstacles - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By SarahK
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-25-2012, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 29
• Horses: 2
Liberty Obstacles

Thought some of you might enjoy this video of my mare Rogue and I. I made a little obstacle course and decided to make it more of a challenge by doing it at liberty. She had seen these things before, but I think she seems to enjoy something a little more difficult every now and then.

We had a few technical difficulties with the camera... It ran out of battery rather abruptly and I wasn't able to get much of the riding portion. She, of course, did a really good sidepass after it died.

Friendly critiques welcome.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: East Midlands, UK
Posts: 456
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Hi Sarah, I think your video is amazing. I'm really intrigued with liberty work. I have knowledge of join up and general NH work, but I'd be really interested to do this. Is there any chance you could tell me how and where to begin (like right from the very basics and work up)
If you could, I'd really appreciate it :)
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-27-2012, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 29
• Horses: 2
Hi HollyLolly,

To do liberty work with your horse you have be very aware of your body language. If you watch horses out in the pasture 99% of how they communicate is through body language. It starts in the round pen.

When I ask them to go I point up high in the direction I want them to go in, kiss, and if they don't go I will then use the whip. Always starting with the least amount of pressure, but will do what i have to get the job done. (suggest, ask, tell) Eventually they will get going off of the suggestion more often then not. When the horse is going around you want your body behind the drive line to encourage forward movement. (the drive line is where your imaginary girth would be) Try to keep your belly button pointed behind it. Whenever I work with my horse I want her to use the thinking side of her brain instead of the reactive side nature gave her. How do I get her to do that? By making her move her feet, and doing a lot of transitions and changes of direction. In the round pen to change direction you step in front of the drive line and run (RUN!) backwards when you have two eyes point and move back toward your horse to encourage her to move again. If she turns into the fence cut her off and make her hustle for a lap or two. When you get her turning in consistently, have her come in and rest with you. I usually use this time to desensitize her to one of my tools. (lead rope, stick and string, stock whip, plastic bag etc.) After she has had a rest I will get her to follow me by getting her hindquarters moving and walking in circles. (prey animals like walking in curves instead of straight lines) If she get confused and leaves just make her hustle again then come back and rest with you. It doesn't take them too long to figure out they want to stay with you and rest.

When you feel like your horse is really good in the round pen then you can try a small arena.

I got really good control of those hindquarters with the halter and lead. If i look at her hinny (Act like you are going to step on her tail and bow.) it better move away and she should give me two eyes. (In my video you can she me getting her to yield her hindquarters a lot when she is going over the poles and at the tarp.)

I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff, but that should help get you started. Hope that helps. Liberty is really rewarding and a good challenge for your communication with your horse.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-28-2012, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Michigan
Posts: 29
• Horses: 2
Just wanted to add that your horse should also be leading and lunging with slack in the lead rope. If you can get them to yield the HQs and Forequarters with needing to touch the lead you are in pretty good shape.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-29-2012, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 264
• Horses: 2
Really nice! You posted a liberty video a while ago, and I can see you have made some super nice progress since then. My only criticism is that you look a little tense, like your afraid she she might want to leave you. Seriously you can relax, she is totally hooked on you!

Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration.

I make custom horsehair jewelry at
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-29-2012, 10:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: California's Central Valley
Posts: 9
• Horses: 4
Thats awesome. a true conection with the horse. that is very rewardable! ITs looks great!
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