I’d like to talk about interacting with the horse at liberty, or not. First, a clarification regarding how I view the difference between unsecured and at liberty.
Basically, when the horse is unsecured, she is standing still, untied and we are doing things like grooming her, cleaning her feet, saddling her, etc. I do most things with my horses unsecured.
At liberty implies movement, whether she is simply being led without a lead rope, being lunged without a lunge line, performing tricks, etc.
Personally I’m not a big fan of doing things at liberty. I much prefer being up close and personal. My two biggest reasons for this are as follows:
The first reason is I love to have physical contact with the horses. Physical contact creates mental/emotional connection. Physical contact also inspires a feeling of safety, and therefore relaxation, in the horse.
The second reason is, whenever I am interacting with the horses, I want to take advantage of this time to create Proper Posturing and Proper Alignment. It is no different than sculpting. You can’t mold a sculpture from a distance. It has to be hands on.
Interacting at liberty and animal communication are the opposite of up close and personal. Not only is there no physical contact/connection, there is also no sculpting and molding going on of the horse’s body. Traditional mainstream interactions with horses also lack the up close and personal physical/emotional connection or the sculpting and molding of the horse’s body.
Just to be clear, interacting at a distance, without any physical connection is just not my thing. I am certainly not opposed to other people interacting with horses at liberty.
However, what I do recommend to those who are attracted to interacting with the horse at liberty is that you teach the horse how to move with Proper Posturing and Proper Alignment first. When I watch my two horses, Sweetie and Justy moving on their own out in the pasture, they are almost always moving with Proper Posturing and Proper Alignment. This is because I have taught them how to move in this way, and they discovered that it feels good. A horse will always choose what feels good.
The photos accompanying this article randomly show some of what I am talking about.