Training and Lessons
Lightness is the freedom of the movement. The study and preservation of lightness must be the constant concern of the rider. Lightness is classified as when the horse obeys the rider without leaning on the hands. The rider will be able to feel lightness when there is no resistances on the bit or the reins. When you apply a light tension on the reins it should allow the yielding of the lower jaw and the closing of the angle of the horses head and neck (Ramener). Any time the rider is requesting a movement from the horse, the rider must check for lightness, or the mobility of the mouth. When one is able to obtain lightness in this way the horse cannot contract any part of his body without contracting the jaw at the same time, and the rider will be able to feel the sensation of having no resistances in the entire horse.
Balance is realized when the whole weight of the horse is equally distributed on his four legs (including the weight of his head and neck). This is what gives the true lightness. What is the first step towards this lightness and balance?: it is self carriage. Balance must precede all action.
Liberty is the philosophy of training horses using their natural language. Horses in the wild live in an organized, social hierarchical system guided by a leader, the alpha mare, who is not the most dominant, but who has specific qualities of balance, inner strength, and good judgment. She always has the undivided attention of the herd’s members, who respect and follow her because they know and trust that she is able to understand their needs and guide them to safety and comfort.
When working with horses , the most effective way to relate to them is to learn and acquire the qualities of a true leader. Horses are mostly non- verbal creatures. Their way of communicating is mainly based on body language and subtle signals. We humans, mostly verbal creatures, often fail in correctly delivering our requests to the horse and fail to understand what they are telling us. The result is a series of situations that can create confusion, frustration, stress and discomfort to both the horse and rider.
Working with horses in Liberty means to use the language of the horse, to understand what they think and to express our requests using concepts and principles that are natural to them. Our body language, combined with a serene mental state, is all we need for a clear, profound communication. When we are able to show them the same respect we ask for, horses become trustworthy companions and partners.