Last weekend was rather busy! First the Arne Koets-clinic on Saturday, and on Sunday I held my first clinic of my own.
Arranged by NMBU Hestesport, a group of Animal Science students, we had gathered 24 people in Vestby that morning. We had planned an inspiring day focusing on the relationship between horse and human and wanted to show some new ways to communicate with each other, with the basics of liberty training and bridleless riding.
We started the day with a demo with Batman. I first spoke about our journey together, and how he taught me a different approach. Ask, don’t demand. Play, don’t struggle. Have fun, don’t stress. Don’t aim too high only to be disappointed, take one step at the time.
We then showed the audience the large variety of movements and exercises that can be performed from the ground, and Batman did a good job.
Next up was Tussa, a lovely Norwegian Dole mare. She and her owner Nina had done some liberty training earlier on, and we decided to focus on the most important things of them all; body language and praise.
Most horses are taught to walk after the human, but being side by side in all gaits is an advantage in liberty work. Having the horse next to you instead of behind you give you the opportunity to mirror the horse’s movements – and giving the horse a chance to mirror yours.
With Nina and Tussa, we worked a lot with Nina’s position and energy, and as with most horses, Tussa did everything we asked and more.
After a lunch break with some theory, a lovely team I have been helping this fall entered the arena. Maria and Merel, a stunning Friesian mare, is working on bridleless riding and the basics of liberty work from the ground.
Last lesson I had with them ended with Maria trotting around bridleless for the first time. In a very new setting, with a large audience and heavy winds outside the indoor arena, we started with some basic exercises in walk and trot, with lots of transitions. Walk, halt, trot, walk. Merel need tasks to remain connected, and Maria must work hard to keep her energic mare interested. They did great!
After Maria’s lesson, I rode Batman and let two of the participants try him bridleless and in liberty, and we showed a small piece of the process of trick training a horse with pure positive reinforcement.
I’m very pleased with the day and was so happy to see so many people showing up!
I hope you found some inspiration or learned something! I wish you all the best of luck with your own horses!
Thank you so much for the amazing photos, Lisa!