Liberty

This is a video of an amazing work at liberty:

I've always wanted to do liberty work! I also think Sugar would love doing it too!

Liberty is it's own kind of sport in the horse world. It also has a lot to do with trick training, (trick riding is separate). Liberty is all off line tricks, so no halters, no leads. The horse listens to the trainer's commands without having anything connected to the horse. There are a lot of tricks in liberty like bowing, rearing, lying down, leading beside, circling, jumping, Spanish walk, side passing and a lot more. Being able to lead beside well is one of the biggest fundamental parts in liberty. But overall do be able to do liberty there's a lot of fundamental groundwork involved.

I've practiced liberty-ish type of stuff with Sugar. She's actually very quick to learn! Today I spent a little time riding her bare back. But after that I took the bridle off and tied a string around her neck. This is just in case I need to pull on her head if I "lose her". There's an invisible circle around me where as long as Sugar is in that space of the circle she'll listen to me. But if she's outside she'll start walking off or not pay attention to me. My mission is to make that circle bigger! These exercises are a bit of a side project but since they're very useful I'm going to start working more on it. 

I taught her to lead beside me pretty well. She's not pushy at all! I can ask her to trot just by leaning forward, stretch my hand ahead as if i'm pulling on an invisible lead, and if I have to tap her with my stick towards her rump if she doesn't respond. I also encourage her to trot by doing it myself. 

I can stop her easily by stopping myself. A lot of the time as a to let her know ahead of time I'll say "woah". 

I also taught her to back up without having to turn around and face her. I march my arms and lean back a little. That's her cue to back up. If she get's "sticky feet" I'll add pressure by marching with more energy and tapping her legs with my stick. 

I can also back her up when facing her a pretty good distance. I can actually back her out of the invisible circle and still have her backing and not walking off. 

I can yield her hindquarters and forequarters with ease. I can yield her forequarters her with ease from beside her as well. A lot of horses will get pushy when you starting walking in a arc turning into them. Sugar is really good about respecting my space as well as following me.

The only thing I can technically do but not very well is changing sides. I've done this with her before but I need to a lot more work on this as well as more work on her other side. To change sides I look over my shoulder away from her and around to her butt. That's when she switches sides and now she's on my other side. 

And lastly, I can ground tie her. This she does very well in her paddock, arena, hitching posts or obstacle course. But she doesn't do as well anywhere else. A lot of the time she will stand there but I can't do off doing something else without wondering if she'll walk off or stay. 

Here's a picture of a ground tie session I did with Sugar awhile ago:    (with a halter and lead)