The whole is more than the sum of its parts! That applies to the 5 training pillars of Straightness Training which are:
3. Work in hand
Each training pillar will add a different dimension to an exercise and all training pillars strengthen each other.
And especially the liberty pillar will help the other training pillars to evolve.
You will be amazed to experience the benefits that training at liberty will give to the other training pillars, because your horse will take much more responsiblity to keep the balance, suppleness, shape, direction, tempo and rhythm.
So you’ll end up with not only self carriage in the body, but also in the mind!
And thanks to ST Instructor Kim Steutel for some ‘behind the scenes’ shots, so you’ll have an idea of how these 60 Seconds of ST are filmed by Marc Marsman and his new ‘Osmo’ camera.
Training on your own is like working in a laboratory, where you have the freedom to experiment within the boundaries of proven training principles.
I’ve been working in my liberty laboratory – my ‘lib lab’ – a lot lately to investigate training at liberty with multiple horses. Because I believe that the more I can understand a horse’s brain, the better I can train.
Now in my lab I’ve been experimenting and therefore I also made ‘mistakes’. So sometimes my approach was working, sometimes it didn’t, sometimes I had all horses nicely lined up, sometimes I ‘lost’ a horse. Or one of them didn’t understand what I meant. Or one horse put much more effort into the task than the other two. So I had to figure out how to get all minds aligned to the task.
Is your horse spooky in a certain corner of the riding arena?
Then you might be dealing with ‘conditioned fear‘.
With ‘true fear‘, the horse might have never been in that corner in his whole life and a good horseman let this horse investigate the ‘scary’ corner and then the horse will learn that it’s not scary at all.
But with ‘conditioned fear’, the horse might have been hesitated to go through a corner in the past and he might have then be pushed by the rider when he was not mentally ready. Then he associates the corner with ‘unpleasant’. And when he’s always pushed when approaching new things, at some point the horse starts to expect ‘stressors’ every time a new thing pops up. Then with every new thing he faces in life he starts to get less or more into a state of flight or fight. Then his fear is conditioned.
Now when you’ve baught a horse with conditioned fear, it’s hard to explain to the horse that punishment and ‘stressors’ are not going to come out anyore when he approaches a new thing. Then you need to do some counter-conditioning, and this is how you do it:
When a horse is always spooky in a certain part of the riding arena, start to make this a pleasurable area by giving the horse a ‘release, reward and relax’ moment in this particular area of the riding arena. After a while the horse starts to associate the ‘spooky spot’ as a ‘sweet spot’ and that’s the power of counter-conditioning. With counter-conditioning you can ‘overwrite’ your horse’s feelings concerning the corner and your horse will start to look forward to being in that corner.
Check out the video to see how to do it in practice: