When people say they have a good “bond” with their horse, it can mean a lot of different things. I have talked in the past about the difference between an emotional bond and a working bond. What we work on developing in liberty training is the working bond. But the degrees of bond or connection people have with their horses when they come to liberty work can be varied. Here are some possibilities, including some not-so-good bonds:
Training is something not just for horse trainers to do, but for horse owners too.
What time is it? What does it matter? If you’re dealing with a horse, trying to get her to load in the trailer, or perform some activity by the end of your lesson, the lack of interest in your agenda can be frustrating at times. Most of us who work with horses know there is such a thing as “horse time.”
Each liberty clinic forms a community. Some of the six attendees at the March 30th clinic held in Santa Fe at Arrowhead Ranch knew something about the Waterhole Rituals by Carolyn Resnick before coming, and some did not know them at all. We started out getting a feeling for the Rituals with a short video. In the arena, we worked at first with each other, which helps to ground everyone and helps them get the rhythm of motion with a horse. Later we would see how to adjust energy to each individual horse’s needs.
I hear this phrase from a lot of people. It’s startling and disappointing for people who have gotten a horse that they think likes them and then they find out the horse doesn’t want to do what he or she is asked. In some cases, the horse has “chosen” them in some way, and they feel a special bond with the horse right from the beginning. Why isn’t that bond carrying them through? Why aren’t they riding that horse through magical landscapes with the sun setting golden in the west?
It always amazes me how much you can get out of a clinic even when it is bitterly cold and windy.
Reciprocal movement or “mirroring” – when horses mirror each other’s movement – helps horses help each other in healing and is supportive of the herd as a whole. I use this movement in horse bodywork and it is also used in liberty training – a prerequisite to dancing.
Ray Hunt used to say, is it getting better with your horse, is it the same, or is it getting worse? If it is getting worse or remaining the same without any improvement, it’s time for a change or maybe to do some things the same but add in a little something else.
Very often we hear about horses that need homes – desperately, right now! They can be horses that are rescues, or horses that have fallen on hard times, just moved from place to place after having had a long life with people who love them. Sometimes the people can’t take care of them any more. This has happened a lot since the economy crashed and more horses ended up without homes. A divorce, serious illness or job loss can be disastrous for much-loved family horses.