Pie charts and horses

One of the issues for many horse owners/lovers is how to spend enough time with their horses. When I hear myself complaining or feeling guilty, I think it’s time to make a pie chart.

Sample Horse Time Pie Chart
Sample Horse Time Pie Chart

A pie chart should afford you some grace but also gives you an idea of what time you are spending with your horses. I didn’t put anything like actual “work” on the sample because everything is pertaining to the horse on this one. You can factor in your work schedule, kids, other social activities, etc.

Are you spending more time with one horse than with another? Why? Is one sick? Is the one requiring more training or time to evolve? Time in the saddle is not time on the ground. Time on the ground could be a variety of things. What do they each need? What do you need?

IMG_3112I get caught by, I haven’t ridden this one – BUT I have done a considerable amount of ground work with this one. In some ways, you can accomplish more on the ground than in the saddle. Also, I realize horses love attention. Special attention can be a variety of things: grooming, bodywork, a walk with grazing, and of course, liberty.

What about quality time? What does that mean anyway? It may mean different things to different people, and to different horses.

When I was a child, I had two parallel experiences. The majority of my time with horses was spent riding and taking lessons, but the most profound time I spent with them was by myself, slipping on a horse’s back bareback, with no tack at all, and no teacher. Just me and the horse, and what we shared.

Many times one horse will need a lot of administering to, such as a leg that needs to be wrapped, herbs or ointments, depending upon their condition. That is quality time, but it isn’t time that is just spent in the company of the horse.

A student said that she took the time to sit with her horse and do a couple of new things she had learned. She was looking for a way to create more enthusiasm in their relationship. He was very curious about her doing Liberty Foundations and everything felt calm but kind of interesting between the two of them during their time together.Jazzie_Ruella_cometome

I read recently that good leaders don’t enforce, they don’t insist on performance, they inspire others to performance. When I hear a really dynamic speaker or teacher, what I get from that experience is this bubbly excitement inside, that makes me want to go back to my work and be more creative, more alive, vibrant.

So it is with us and our horses. I’m happy to report that the next time my student took her horse out to do some work, her horse was very enthusiastic – anything she wanted to do, he was eager to do it with her. In partnership.

I think our pie chart could include delineations such as: time spent with the horse, such as 1) chores 2) time spent bandaging and doing wellness things, 3) riding or aerobic or anaerobic work, and 4) time spent just being, Liberty Foundations, activities designed to build relationship. I’d like to start building in the “quality” of that time spent too, because in writing this I realized that it probably didn’t take long for the student to sit with her horse, and do a couple of liberty exercises. The quality of that 20 minutes or so was worth so much in terms of what she received as engagement with him.

When people tell me they already have a good relationship with their horse, I am sure that they do. Most people have built a good relationship based on deeds. Time spent together doing what the human wants. The horse wants to be with us, and sometimes the only way they can get that is by doing what the human wants. At some point, they may learn to enjoy it to some degree.

Here is a photo of our grandson Obie on our gelding Khami, while camping. Khami was usually game for fun activities with his peeps.
Here is a photo of our grandson Obie on our gelding Khami, while camping. Khami was usually game for fun activities with his peeps. Pecos, 2008

All this can happen without the person ever really asking the horse what she would like to do, or what her preferences are, or ever really seeing the horse.

I know this can happen because it happened to me while I was competing, and although I was good to my horses and loved them like crazy, there was a lot I didn’t recognize. For those who love to compete with their horses, they can have a much greater, deeper connection by learning the Liberty Foundations and incorporating them into their daily regime with their horses, than if they are simply “doing” all the time. On the other hand, Some horses are really game for a lot of activities humans have in mind for them. However it is arrived at, it’s important to have a horse enjoy her work.


The pie chart can be valuable for charting what you are doing in more of an energetic sense. Some people who compete often have a calendar where they have their goals – ride 2x a week 1-2 hours on trail, 1 hour on arena, big ride on the weekend. You can add – quality vs. quantity if you like. The nice thing about liberty is that it takes a short amount of time, or you can spend longer at it, by taking breaks in between, which the horse loves. Keeping that sparkle in their eyes is more than just dangling a carrot in front of their nose – it is the way to ultimately have that bubbly excitement every time you do anything with your horse, and know that your horse feels it too.

copyright Susan Smith (c)

Enjoy this video of myself dancing with Tex. [iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kVWje7Loc7o&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe]



New events added!

Services include:

Bodywork: (Ortho-Bionomy for people, Equine Ortho-Bionomy, Equine Positional Release (EPR)): private sessions,  tutorials, phone consultations, Horse & Rider sessions

Distance Healing Communication

Gift certificates

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Clinics, mini-clinics, workshops,

Private and semi-private sessions, tutorials

Consultations: by appointment:  505.501.2478 or emailing susansmith@orthohorse.info  Contact me for details.

Let me know if you want to do a clinic in your area. Prices will vary according to location & travel costs.

June 13 – Summer Liberty Workshop – 1-Day workshop held in Santa Fe, NM at Arrowhead Ranch. Contact susansmith@orthohorse.info for information. $140 before June 1 (Early Bird), $150 after June 1. PayPal and credit card payment available.

July 25 – Hang with the Herd – Join me and my herd under the cool canopy of the trees for some real quality time together –Experience herd, health and happiness. A new Liberty Foundations ½ day workshop for those who want an introduction to the work or to reinvigorate their liberty process.

We will sit in the cool of the trees with the herd during the morning, go work with the horses, then come back to the trees with cold drinks when it gets hot. Excellent herd to liberty experience! Space will be limited. Location TBA.  Time: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $75. Contact susansmith@orthohorse.info for information.


September 26-27 – Fall Liberty Weekend in Oklahoma — Susan Smith and Ruella Yates, co-instructors. Contact either of us: susansmith@orthohorse.info or ruella@libertyfoundations for further details. Cost: $325.


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