I thought today I would write a little about a hanging out session I have had with some of our horses.
As part of my Straightness Training Mastery course Liberty is one of the sections, so as an introduction to Liberty we 'hang out' with our horses while at pasture, to help them get comfortable with us with no pressure.
Today I headed up to the field that all 17 horses share as a herd, 5 of them where out doing other activities which made connecting with my horses a bit easier.
As I got to the field I sat and watched them for a while to see who was with who and how they were moving as a herd or as smaller herds. I found a nice surprise of the horses which I wanted to connect with where all in a nice group together. Riah, Merlie, Alfie and Poco all began to graze towards me, Riah leading the way. When we connected she decided that chilling out was far to easy and she wanted to see if she could get me to give her a treat, so after pawing the ground a few times I decided to ask her for her Spanish walk to which she performed with precision!
Later I moved closer to Merlie and Alfie, they are both quite pushy so on their approach I asked them to stop at a nice distance and come to me more politely, I then spent a nice few minutes re-connecting with Merlie (after some time off at the end of the show season), it was really lovely to spend a really relaxing time with him, Alife I don't really work with apart from general care but it was still nice to spend some time just chilling out together. Poco, the real cause of my 'hanging out' session finally made her way over and even with her lower ranking in the herd and more nervous disposition enjoyed a session chilling out with me, Merlie and Alife.
But I think the nicest surprise of all was to see the interest our newbie Tjarda took in the session, he came over and enjoyed some chill time as well as leaving with Alfie and Riah to find the headcollar I had left on the ground and play while Alfie throw it in to the air over and over again!
To see so many of our horses having some empowering down time was a real breath of fresh air, I am sure our future training sessions be it at liberty, ground schooling or ridden work will greatly benefit.
Unfortunately I could not take a picture during this session as I feel it is only fair to give the horses my full attention, but maybe next time I will give someone with a camera a hint to take a walk over the fields.
Feel free to comment below or contact if you fancy trying a hanging out session with your horses and would like some tips or advice.