Liberty Riding *** Rant!! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 05:58 PM
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going out on the trail without anything to control the horse should it spook, bolt, etc??? epically stupid in my books! taking along greenhorns on horses in the same manner? who do i give the Darwin award to???

riding tack-less in a round pen or arena where there is some measure of control (the fence or wall) is ok if you trust your horse and both horse and rider have the level of training necessary to do such things.

my lease horse i will ride in the arena bareback with a halter and lead looped and tied for reins. i will ride him at liberty with no tack in the round pen only. i will drop my reins when he is saddled and we are doing trot work in the arena because i trust him to keep on trotting and stay on the rail unless i tell him otherwise. i have the saddle to grab on to just in case something should happen. i never drop my reins or the lead fully when riding bareback - my balance isn't that good yet if when given his head should he decide he is Super Lateral Pony and sidepass without warning! lol. (which he hasn't done yet, but there is always the chance he could)
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Last edited by EdmontonHorseGal; 09-10-2013 at 06:03 PM.
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post #12 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 08:03 PM
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I agree liberty work on a trail with other horses is asking to have your head cleaved in. I think liberty work has its merits in the right hands and the right environment. Its very showy and looks great. I think the idea of training for liberty work is a bit convoluted. If you and your horse have a great bond (relationship, respect, whatever you want to call it) than you respond to one another regardless of tools. That said, you should be able to train a horse with saddle and bridle and then remove those tools and still have a horse respond. Which means that you should just be training for a good bond and not for liberty work.

In the wrong hands liberty work is asking for trouble and a bad horse. The folks who do liberty work from the ground and interpret themselves as having a great bond with their horse and "playing". The horse is actually behaving in an aggressive manner or dangerous (ie bucking, rearing etc). The idea that under saddle the horse is well behaved just as long as you are doing what the horse wants is another problem with liberty work. You can easily have the illusion of control because you don't have a way to correct a disrespectful action and many riders are not strong enough to stay on during outright disobedience.
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post #13 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 08:45 PM
Green Broke
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The ONLY TIME I used a halter out of the arena, Is when my friend and I trailred out and like a doofus I forgot my bridle -_-'. My mare did fantastic in just a web halter, will I do it again? NO! That mare has a history of "The trailer/barn is that way and im hungry, bye!". Will I ride without a bit? NO! That same mare, who I can ride with just a halter in the arena, tried to run out into traffic with a bit-less bridle. I wont ride bareback out of the arena (unless someone had a hold of her and we are walking from one property to the next). My mare can be ridden by traffic all day long and not spook, cross flowing rivers, jumping ditches etc. But god forbid she sees an abnormality on the sidewalk or pavement. And puddles are a no no unless I walk through them first. Can I ride this horse bareback and bridle less in the arena, yes, should I probably not. Would I tell others to ride without tack (expeshaly that horse)? Heck no!

And sometimes what happens on the trail has nothing to do with your horse. My friend was riding her dead broke horse bareback on the trails by where I board (long before I was there). She was talking to someone and a loose horse galloped and plowed right into her and her horse. She fell and her horse decided he was done and going home. She said if she had a saddle he would not have run away like that and she would not have fallen off.

Again, NO riding without tack out of the arena! (and this is coming from someone who hates arena riding XD)
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post #14 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 09:05 PM
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Riding in a halter, like I ride in a rope halter-is NOT the same as at liberty. Honestly-I think too many folks watched Stacy Westfalls famous bareback, bridless routine a few years ago and think they can all do it. Fairy tales and butterfly farts. NO. SHe is a professional, whose DH is also a professional trainer.

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post #15 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 09:25 PM
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Overall, I think that too many people who aren't educated on this type of riding try to do it without any sort of training or supervision. It's an easy way to get hurt, particularly outside of the arena.
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post #16 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 09:34 PM
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I will ride bridleless in the arena here and there. Never would I do so outside in the open trails. Bitless yes, but bridleless? No.

Its not that I don't trust my horse, its if my horse is in a situation where I need to be able to guide her fully controlled. For example, trying to get away from a bear/cougar. Your horse isn't going to look where its going, your horse is going to be RUNNING for its life. So you need to be able to fully guide the horse out. Or if your horse spooks and runs into a group of people. I'm sure those people will think your liberty riding is pretty cool, when you're running into a crowd of unsuspecting bystanders while trying to gain control of your horse.
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post #17 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
Its fun to play around with in an area, as a demonstration of how a horse works off leg and seat. End of story.

Its not the mark of a good trainer, or evidence of a great horse. Nor is it in any way evidence of a "bond"

I don't know if this is becoming so popular from the notion many people still cling to about the "magical bond" that has been popularized by the king of the wind, black stallion, etc, or what. Its annoying, misleading to the uneducated and fool hardy.

Horses have bad days. Things scare them. Some how being on a horse bare back and bridle less out on a trail ride when a bear decides to say hello doesn't sound great. Nor would a situation I was in last year, when a familiar trail was unexpectedly colonized by ground dwelling wasps. We rode over them, and my mare ended up with 20-30 stings on her belly. I rode it out, but my horse that never bucks or bolts, bucked and bolted.
We had a similar situation a few years ago. In a pasture that I've been riding for 20 years, there was suddenly a bumblebee nest in an area of high grass. We were doing close cattle work, trying to get some cattle sorted off from others, when my Dad rode over the top of the nest and out came the bees. They started dive-bombing us and we all (horses included) got stung at least once each. My step-mom had a bee fly down in her horse's ear. Thankfully, because of his inherent nature, he didn't have a complete meltdown but he darn well could have because that's not exactly something that you can prepare for. Dad and I were both on horses that had panic attacks and were pitching and trying to bolt.

As for liberty, it has it's place to showcase a well trained horse in a controlled area. Even on my best trained horse, I wouldn't dare take him out without something on his head. It's not that I don't trust him, but I know that horses are naturally flighty critters and if something were to happen, I like knowing that I can get control of him. Have there been entire rides where I left the reins draped over the saddle horn or laying on his neck? Yeppers, but they were still there had I needed them.

About as close as I ever come to riding at liberty is bringing up a horse from the pasture bareback with nothing but a string around his neck. If he chose to (or felt he needed to) take off, I couldn't stop him, but I'm in a relatively controlled environment and they have training that's good enough that they'll listen to my seat and that string in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Just because a person can do something doesn't mean it's something wise to do. The example the OP posted shows exactly that. The rider was more concerned with "ZOMG, look at how cooool I am that I can ride without tack" than the fact that she was responsible for taking care of the novice riders following her.

I've had to play impromptu pick-up man in the middle of a pasture for folks with bolting or bucking horses. Thankfully, they all had actual tack where all I really had to do was get close enough to dally up a rein, but I wouldn't have even attempted it if my horses hadn't been in full tack.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #18 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 10:18 PM
Green Broke
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I was not comparing it to just riding in a halter, more of lack of proper tack. And I ride in a rope halter in the ARENA. If we are on trails its always a bit.

If you want to ride bareback and bridle-less be my guest, just don't drag uneducated people into it and keep it in a safe environment (and by safe I mean for other people and the horse. If you want to do stupid stuff, do it in a place where the horse wont get hurt running loose).
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post #19 of 55 Old 09-10-2013, 10:38 PM
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Totally agree with Smrobs.

A thing to add out there is that a lot of people, oh whats the word...Declassify(?) horses. They don't treat the horse like a horse but rather something that is programmed not to spook, buck, bolt, rear, etc. People need to remember that horses are horses. Meaning they're going to naturally spook, buck, bolt, etc. You CAN'T train a horse NOT to buck/rear/spook; you can train a horse that bucking/rearing/bolting is bad and isn't something that should be done again (if that makes sense). You can desensitize a horse to everything and everything, but he will still occasionally spook here-and-there. You can never train a horse to not do something it was naturally built to do....That is, what I feel, what a lot of liberty riders forget.

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post #20 of 55 Old 09-11-2013, 12:32 AM
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I think this kind of thing is a load of nonsense. Most of the people who think it’s the greatest thing ever have a mistaken view of what exactly horses are, how people relate to them, and what they are capable of. Aside from the extremely experienced people who can do this sort of stuff to show of how well they have trained a horse, get the armatures who get all preachy about “bonding” with their horses, the ones who think that tack is “unnatural”, and let’s see how many of them could cut a steer with no bridle or saddle. As soon as I hear about this kind of stuff, far from thinking “wow, you are awesome at riding a horse” all I can think is “you have little to no idea about what you are getting yourself into”.
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