Liberty: Gossamer Threads of Communication
Winter is well and truly upon us and due to our lack of grazing at home, all three horses have been temporarily moved to a 5 acre field near by. Although I miss not having them right on my doorstep, one of the advantages is that their winter grazing is on the side of a local beauty spot called May Hill. The views from the top are amazing and you can see seven different counties on a clear day. Semi-wild ponies roam the area and over the last three years, I have gotten to know them all and have enjoyed aquainting myself with each new wobbly legged addition that arrive each year to swell the ranks.
While I am wintering the horses here, I have taken the opportunity to expand our liberty play. I have always loved liberty but from time to time it has been a challenge to achieve, particularly with Axel (pictured). Axel is very sensitive to any kind of pressure, no matter how subtle, which can work both for you and against you when it comes to liberty. Many years ago, I watched a DVD of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling playing with one of his horses out in the countryside, circling, running, jumping all at complete liberty. From then on I was hooked on the idea of playing at liberty with no physical boundaries. For those of you who know Axel, you will know what an achievment this is. To have him seek me out as his place of safety and remain relaxed and engaged feels nothing short of miraculous to me sometimes. Whenever any of my students feel a little deflated with how their liberty is progressing (or not!) I tell them about the liberty course I attended a few years back with Axel who proceeded to jump out of the arena.... oh dear....! If we can do it, I tell them, anyone can!!!
I don't have a huge amount of words to share in this blog. Instead, I made a video which I hope transmits how I feel about taking Axel out with total freedom to stay or leave. I hope my smile sums up how I think we are both feeling about our relationship.
Merry Christmas to you all and I hope 2016 sees your relationship with your horse go from strength to strength.