The art of becoming horse-like

Liberty work takes on a life of its own. Even when I know the horses involved, they do not always do what I expect.


The idea of having people come and work with my herd came to me even before we all moved to more land. Sometimes I don’t know how these things will take shape, I just know there is a shape forming.

herd_at_waterThere are many people who don’t have the opportunity to observe horses together. Lack of agricultural and open land, the way most horses are kept, make for challenges in horsekeeping. Even for those who are lucky enough to have space for their horses, the work with herds is continually instructive.

Bringing people to my horses is also valuable for them. The opportunity to work with different people with different types of energy, expands their world and knowledge of humanity. Horses seek us, so when they find us, we must be something worth hanging out with. Who they seek can be different day to day, dependent perhaps on what they need or what we need.

We worked with each horse in the herd, and each felt we needed to learn something in particular. Patches felt that the group needed to know what to do when a horse pushes against you, then once I asked for him to give space, he came back and moved close to each person, but not crowding. He loves to just be close if he likes someone. Khami was the greeter, greeting each person individually. When he got nippy, a student asked him by moving into his space and raising her reed, to stop, and he then fell asleep next to her. Later we took the two mares IMG_3296down to the arena to work with.

The herd is still somewhat in flux, as Jazzie has only been with the three others for a little over a month. My older mare, Zuzka, has stayed out of her way for the most part.

Jazzie is a lead mare and has been relatively easy for me to work with, but she was challenging for others and she has been challenging for my herd. Working with her gives people the sense of “I must bring my energy forward to work with her.” Being nice isn’t enough. It’s very good for women to work with a horse like this because you learn to be strong and bring your truth forward. She will then recognize and respect you. And when you get walking connection with her, you feel a powerful bond. I realized later that because she now has a herd, she has become more powerful and it takes more forward, specific energy to work with her than it did when she was not in charge of other horses.

Zuzka woIMG_3309rked beautifully with walking around the small arena with Judy, and then wanted to simply stand and breathe with Christy. She was connecting without moving. She does this with me a lot; we spend a lot of time standing and breathing together. It’s one of her favorite things of late. Christy had an amazing sense of Zuzka nurturing her and extending herself. It was beautiful to watch.

Later we came back to sit under the trees and Judy said she had a poem her husband had written about her rescue horse, a mare. Zuzka came to stand under the trees with us. As Judy tried to find the poem on her phone. Zuzka pawed at the fence impatiently. She wanted to hear the poem! Then once the poem was read to her satisfaction, she snorted lightly and moved back with the other horses.

After we brought the horses back from the arena, Linda observed that the two mares were standing together at the water trough companionably. There was such quiet between them it made me happy to see. They have been hanging out together a bit more lately. I was grateful to the group for the fine work they did with the mares, as they each watched the other work in the arena with the students, as well as worked themselves and demonstrated beautiful connection.

Because the herd is still shifting around in terms of who is responsible for what, the differences before and after working with individual members can be seen more clearly. If you can work with just one horse in a herd, it can have a ripple effect to the others.

IMG_3300While riding Jazzie the next day, she felt more grounded, more connected to me. Although some of the exercises we did may have seemed at theIMG_3307 time like we were not doing much, it meant the world to the horse. Our observation of the individual horses, then cooperative interaction, build our “horse-like” qualities and make us much more appealing to the horse.

If we observe what the horses do together, standing, perhaps taking one small step toward another horse, a small step back if the other horse flattens her ears, this is all important. If we can bring ourselves to this level of awareness, we can do great wonders in relationship.

Then you may have a horse who would like to listen to poetry, a horse who would like to just breathe with you, or one who would like to walk with you to the ends of the earth.

Copyright (c) Susan Smith


Take advantage of a special offer: $20 off a Horse + Rider session ($95 value) from now through September 1! You can purchase it now and use at any time.

Article in Horse Around New Mexico about Horse + Rider work:

Horse Around Article P1Horse Around Article P2









Professional 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

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Ask about The Equine Body instruction & curriculum beginning in September!

Liberty Coaching:

Clinics, mini-clinics, workshops,

Private and semi-private sessions, tutorials

Consultations: by appointment:  505.501.2478 or emailing  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.

Saturday, September 19 – The Equine Body Workshops presents “Tenets of Equine Healing” one-day workshop at Arrowhead Ranch, Santa Fe. For the owner, horse professional or person interested in learning who would like to be able to do some bodywork on their own horse or others.

This approach to equine healing provides a framework for the student to use simple techniques to aid the healing of the horse. These techniques follow the horse’s natural tendencies, resulting in specific, sustainable results.

Cost: $140 Early Bird (paid before September 1), $150 after September 1. $15 trailer in fee if you wish to bring a horse. We will use ranch horses.

To enroll, contact Susan on Facebook, email or 505-501-2478. Payment can be made by check, PayPal/credit card or cash.


September 26-27 – Fall Liberty Weekend in Oklahoma — Susan Smith and Ruella Yates, co-instructors. Contact either of us: or ruella@libertyfoundations for further details. Cost: $325. Clinic is filling quickly, be sure to enroll!

Saturday, October 10 – “Hang with the Herd” – Third in a series of Liberty Workshops. Join me and my herd under the cool canopy of the trees for some real quality time together –Experience herd, honesty, healing. A new Liberty Foundations 1-day workshop for those who want an introduction to the work or to reinvigorate their liberty process. PayPal and credit card payment available. Whether you have studied Liberty Foundations with me before or not, you will benefit from this workshop.

We will sit under 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, and possibly go to lunch at a nearby restaurant. Excellent herd to liberty experience! Space will be limited, be sure to enroll soon to ensure your spot. Location: Mac’s Overnight Stables, Canoncito (near El Dorado), Santa Fe, NM.  Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $150 Early Bird before Oct. 1, $160 after Oct 1. Contact or 505-501-2478 for information.

December 7-11 Sahaja 2015 5-Day Clinic on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean – Susan Smith & Stina Herberg. See details:

Independent Liberty Trainers Network

Susan & Stina Team Up to Make the Sahaja Clinic an Unforgettable Experience

Sahaja 2015

Susan is a member of the Independent Liberty Trainers Network.

Associate Instructor, Advanced Practitioner – Ortho-Bionomy & Equine Ortho-Bionomy

Practitioner, Equine Positional Release

Liberty Foundations Coach



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