Working With Your Horse At Liberty
Yielding to a suggestion
Once your horse knows how to face you and follow you at liberty, you can show the horse you are safe and friendly by rubbing him all over with your hand. If your horse doesn’t like to be rubbed in certain areas you can approach and retreat gently until he becomes used to it.
Now you’ll be able to start playing with your horse at liberty and asking him to yield to a suggestion. To yield his forequarters, stand beside your horse with your bellybutton facing towards the horses eye. Stand straight and tall with energy in your body and using a rhythmic motion with your hands point toward the horse’s eye. Put more energy in each motion until the horse tries to take a step to the side. Immediately reward the horses try by stopping and standing relaxed and giving the horse a rub. Ask for a slightly better try from the horse each time until you can turn a complete circle from very little suggestion on your part.
If the horse does not respond from the rhythmic motion after three suggestions you may need to bump the horse on the cheek with your hand until he takes a step. Reward immediately and start again, asking for a little more try from the horse each time.
The same principle is used to yield the hindquarters. Stand beside your horse with your bellybutton facing the horse’s hip. Use rhythmic suggestions to ask the horse to step his hindquarters across.
Try the same technique to back your horse by standing in front of him with your bellybutton facing the horse’s nose and sideways by standing beside your horse with your bellybutton facing the middle of your horse where the saddle would be.
Your body position is critical for this exercise, so that the horse can distinguish which part of his body you are asking him to yield.
By now you have created a bond and form of communication with your horse which is the basis to build all communication for the future, whether at liberty or online.