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Is There Any “Liberty” in Liberty Training?
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Is There Any “Liberty” in Liberty Training?

What is liberty? Liberty, is defined as “the power or scope to act as one pleases.” But what is liberty training? It can be different things to different people. There are almost as many ways to train liberty as there are horse breeds. One thing is true though, the results may look similar, but the methods of getting there can be as different as night and day.

To me, liberty work is a path and not just an end goal. I let my horses go 'at liberty', or loose, and their response is a reflection of me and my relationship with them.

In liberty work, you can allow the horse to choose what they do or you can make 'the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard'. To me, those things are mutually exclusive, at least in the way most people understand the latter phrase. I would prefer to use the idea of 'rewarding the right thing and ignoring the wrong thing' Rewarding the behavior you want, the ‘good’ stuff, and ignoring the behaviors you don’t want, the ‘wrong’ stuff, practically eliminates the need for punishments or negative reinforcements.

The ability to be 'okay' with your horse whether they stay with you or not, is what it is all about.

Accepting the horse as they are is the first step in a bond that goes beyond mere requests and responses towards a deeper relationship.

This is why I am making a movie that explores the unique bond between horses and humans. Essence, is an artistic short film that will inspire you to build a deeper relationship with your horse.  To take a look at what I have done so far, please check out my project here:

Essence: Exploring the Horse Human Relationship


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  1. makeeler
    True, good horseman have always done the "Liberty" route. I like the Ray Hunt philosophy of making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. My Dad did this, many years ago, before anyone had fashioned it a style. To me, this is common sense. If you actively "punish" for everything, then should the right circumstance come along for a true reprimand (like kicking, pawing or biting) the horse is a bit immune. Great article!

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