Two Ways to Work Your Horse at Liberty - Directive and Connective
Fact- The Magnetic Connection is not something that will always be there for you nevertheless you can always get it back though the practice of the Waterhole Rituals. It is normal to lose the Magnetic Connection when you are working on exercises or games that direct your horses where to go, like in the carrot game. The carrot game creates a controllable gas pedal, encourages politeness, develops enthusiasm, and engages the mind in the horse. It also builds the horse’s trust and respect for people in general. It does not however, develop the Magnetic Connection because you are asking the horse to work independently from you and as he gets use to working independently it temporarily takes away the Magnetic Connection. You will always need to make adjustments in the horse’s mind as he transitions from being directed to matching your movements in companion energy.
At liberty, your focus is on making adjustement in the horse’s attitude throughout your relationship to bring about the performance you are looking for. You do this through working with the Waterhole Rituals that strengthen the heart-felt strings of connection and from the exercises within the rituals that increase the synchronicity in teamwork. You are also focused on creating the proper energy the horse will need to follow your lead. You will always be adjusting your leadership to suite you horse and his performance.
At liberty, you learn the working formula necessary to create a magical connection where the leadership roles are shared between you and your horse. This becomes tricky for some people because often when people turn over their leadership to their horse, they choose to do so at the wrong time. The trick is not to allow the horse’s leadership if it will dissolve the Magnetic Connection or cause you to loose the ability to direct your horse.
There are two ways to work with a horse in connection. One way is Liberty Dancing, were you are directing the horse without joining him. The second way is when your horse is matching your movements and not wanting to leave your side, which I call the Magnetic Connection.
When I lose the magnetic connection, I analyze which of the strings of connection are missing and then do the exercises that will return us to the connective dance. If you have lost the Magnetic Connection and your horse is moving around you, you could start to regain it by focusing on getting him to move around you more quickly. Once you are in control of the speed of his feet and when he starts to head back in your direction, call him to you while running backwards. This will cause a “draw” and a deep need in the horse to return to you as he responds from his instincts to go toward anything that is leaving him (which will be you.) If he does not respond but continues past you instead of coming to you, drive him forward without being punitive and repeat. Once you can get your horse to come up to you, take a pause to allow him to reconnect which will rebuild your Magnetic Connection.
A Tip: One thing you do not want to do when you are sharing the Magnetic Connection is to carry carrots on you. When a horse becomes focused on the carrots, he loses the Magnetic Connection because his new desire becomes to try to direct you. However, because the carrot game is a directive game, it is OK to have carrot on you while you are practicing.
At liberty, it will always be your job to work back and fourth between the directing dance and the Magnetic Connection dance. When you are focused on the directive dance, you want to increase and improve the horse’s responses to sending and drawing to be at their best and to develop them to be extraordinary.
Games that emphasize the Magnetic Connection, as in drawing dance, will make your horse want to be with you and match your movements. As your partnership grows from your practice, it will get easier to maintain both and to get the horse to switch his focus between being directed and shadowing your movements during the Magnetic Connection.
An example of a drawing game is one where you put down food that your horse wants and keep him from it. Then call him to you and take him to the food. Practice the halt on your way to the food together to ensure you have reestablished the Magnetic Connection to some degree.
If you have had a good Magnetic Connection with your horse in the past, you have the ability to build it back again. That will always be your job to do,
Remember that working at liberty you are always making adjustments. It is just a fact of life that you will regularly need to repair the connection and performance in regards to the draw and send, from the to directive connection to the Magnetic Connection
It is like building a sand castle at the waters edge. When the waves come over your castle, you rebuild. As your moat walls symbolizing your connection get higher, the less you need to repair.
In a leadership role you will need to notice the loss of connection and repair it through choosing the proper Waterhole Ritual that is meant to restore the connection you have lost or one of the games you know would achieve a better connection and performance. From the onlooker’s eye, the process of losing and repairing the connection looks like a magical dance.