Liberty Clinic Full Report

Liberty Clinic Full Report

Thanks again to Anita for another excellent report. This time for David’s recent liberty clinic.


Liberty Clinic

10th/1th/12th June



Not even the Dartmoor weather could dampen the students’ spirits on this course! Throughout the three days there was mist, rain, wind, hail and then torrential downpours BUT nobody’s enthusiasm flagged as David guided we students and our horses towards liberty.


Day one saw us starting on line of course but playing as if there was no line. This really showed us how much we were “holding” our horses even when we thought we hadn’t been. As ever we needed to test out the friendly game, could our horses be relaxed whilst we played friendly from all zones, distances and approaches. If we couldn’t get it right on line then we would not be able to even attempt it at liberty. It made us realise how hugely important friendly game is. Next up was improving the stick to me game. David showed us how to encourage our horses to not just want to be with us but to be with us in the right place at the right time. Included in this were strategies to improve that all important draw.


Day two kicked off with a reminder of the previous day’s session. It was amazing to see how much our horses had digested over night; they were all so much more willing partners than the day before. David encouraged us to use longer lines, testing our ability to guide our horses from farther away and of course draw them back again. We got to test this out in the obstacle/play field which produced some magic moments marked by occasional “whoops & cheers” from students as their horses rewarded by following remote directions onto tyres & bridges, over logs and jumps, through a maze and even the brilliant “sand-pit”. We were almost at liberty but not quite, those 45’ lines were still attached, although now nearly always dragging on the ground.

The afternoon of day two produced a fantastic group session of guiding each horse in turn through a human “maze”. This taught us and our horses to “feel” each other’s energy bubble, enabling the whole group to experience the different way individual horses move and react to pressure. From simple beginnings of just guiding a horse around the rail we advanced to quite complicated patterns of circling, change of direction, figures of eight, bow tie and clover leaf. Not only did this session improve our team work it had the added bonus of improving our horses’ stick to me without even trying. It also produced the most laughter of the course!


Day three was dedicated to working in the round pen. Each student had the chance to be in the round pen with their horse for a one to one session with David. The remaining students watched from the sidelines in a hastily erected gazebo which provided very welcome shelter from the never-ceasing rain and wind.

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