Expression at Liberty

Just because your horse did it without a lead rope or bridle does not mean it happened because he was soft, relaxed, or interested in doing it. Watch liberty work where the horses ears are back. You don’t know what happened behind the scenes to get there. Horses may be doing it to avoid pressure or confrontation or punishment.
Watch the horses expression, not the gear. Keep an open mind. A lead rope or bit can be a great guide to connect horse and human. Of course they can be abused, but they can also provide a great pathway for communication. A horse performing with softness through his body is a sight to see, and once you know what that looks and feels like, you won’t look at anything the same, no matter how impressive the performance seems.

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