This is the sort of work I enjoy the most. It is not a show nor a trick: it is a basic stage in the training process, previous to the use of reins and to riding.
With the means of increasingly slight body signals, I direct the horse's movements and control his speed; in this way, he learns how to move in balance without the mechanical interference of tied reins or a taught longeing rope. These exercises develop trust, obedience and relaxation; but also collection, turning and quick responses, among other important aspects which prepare work under saddle.
This sort of training is not an end in itself, but a means to teach the horse movements through subtle and effective stimuli, from the very start.
This video shows how a three-year-old stallion responds to this work.
I used to call this "Liberty Training", but I have changed the title of the video (and the "label" of my work at this time) for now I know that the term is not precise. Carolyn Resnick, to whom, by the way, we owe the phrase, defines it like this:
"Liberty Training is a method of training a horse in a free environment without tack from the ground in a wide open space large enough for a horse to avoid his training if he wants to."
http://www.carolynresnickblog.com/demystifying-the-waterhole-rituals/
The implications of training horses at liberty are, like the work itself, boundless. There is much truth in Carolyn Resnick's way of being with horses, which is why I am currently studying her method. This is an example of my work with her method:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foG1r0SZ1uI

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Comment by Cyndi on November 27, 2010 at 8:57pm
I appreciate your feedback, Martin. Thank you!

I've heard a lot of great things about the Carolyn Resnick Method.
Comment by Stina Herberg on November 23, 2010 at 8:49pm
great video Martin!
Comment by Martín on November 22, 2010 at 10:19pm
Thank you for your comment, Cyndi. You are right about the style. I did that part of the training inspired in Hempfling's books.
I don't like giving advice just through texts, as I am constantly striving to steer clear off formulas, but here are some thoughts:
I think you are right about your body language, but I don't think you have to worry about small postural details just yet, especially if you don't have qualified guidance. I would focus more on your mare's position and attitude towards you. If she is crowding you, you can teach her to also move away upon your request, and look for -but not expect- the "happy medium" right from the start.
At the time of the video (end of 2008), I used the walls and corners of the "picadero" to help me shape the horses' movements. I have since continued to study thorough training techniques, trying to polish and deepen my communication with horses. Thus, I am now working with the Carolyn Resnick Method, which leads to beautiful work at liberty (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foG1r0SZ1uI). If you are interested in getting to know your horse better and communicating with her in more effective ways, I highly recommend looking into her work.

Hope that was of help.

Martín
Comment by Cyndi on November 21, 2010 at 7:38pm
I really enjoyed watching this video! Your movements and style remind me very much of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.

How do you keep your horse moving around you in such a playful manner? My mare always wants to stop and look at me, or else come to me. I think it's my body language. Should I be "facing" her shoulder with my belly button? Should I be looking at her eye?, or her shoulder?

Even in a large field, she will want to crowd me, and if I wiggle a rope or whip to move her away, she will sidepass rather than move out. If I use a bit too much energy, she will trot away from me. I can't seem to be able to find the happy medium between these two extremes.

I am calm with her and not aggressive. She is smart and very sensitive.

Any thoughts?

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