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Exercising my horse Blue Eagle at liberty

Monday, December 03, 2012

Before I do much riding every season I make sure that my equine athlete has been properly conditioned to carry me and the saddle, similar to a hiker getting in shape before carrying a heavy backpack. Especially a horse's core muscles must be in great shape to carry a rider without damage to the spine, legs or shoulders. Here I do what is called liberty work, which means that the horse is not restrained by a halter and lunge line nor under saddle.
Because we had very little time to ride this year our riding season starts in the winter.
This is only the second time this season that I'm doing liberty work in a round pen with Blue Eagle. A round pen is usually an enclosure that is made from heavy-duty metal or wood panels that keep the horse from leaving while it is made to move around the pen. This pen is different in that there is only a thin plastic strip surrounding the pen which any horse could easily run through or jump over. It is not designed to force the horse to stay with me but is more of a boundary marker. The intention of my training is to use the the least amount of pressure necessary to get my horse to move in the direction and the speed I am asking for without escalating my cues to a level that is causing stress or pain. I use the lunge whip as an extension of my arm, not to hit the horse. The horse is asked to do some through body language and verbal cues (which are hard to hear) and the horse is rewarded through words and touch. I also use what is called negative reinforcement, which means the release of pressure when the horse complies. As you can see, I'm not much of a horse groomer, just not enough time. emoticon
Hope you'll enjoy it anyhow. emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Beautiful! I am sure I will watch this frequently as I do not have a horse now and this video takes me back to better times. emoticon
    1966 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!


    Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
    Melinda (gopintos)
    Perfect Health Diet Team
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    1966 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    Very impressive you can control him that way! We don't have a round pen here, so that would be hard. I hope when I lose a bit more weight Alison will let me ride Colby.
    1966 days ago
    Loved watching the video, a lot of caring for Blue Eagle, nice to see. Because I have not been around horses, I also found it very informative, thank you.

    1967 days ago
    Very excited to see your blog on SP. I enjoyed your video; a busman's holiday for me LOL I live on a horse farm :-) emoticon
    1967 days ago
    1967 days ago
  • GLC2009
    did someone take the video or did you set up your camera somewhere? i want to get the glasses that have the video camera so i can tape what i am watching. ie: my horses when they are at liberty.
    i have finally started bill on round pen work again since his long long layup. had the chiro/accupuncturist out for him again yesterday and he is doing so well. i can hardly wait to ride him again.
    thanks for the video.
    1967 days ago
    1967 days ago
    Great video. Thanks for sharing. You obviously share a great rapport and trust w/Blue Eagle.
    1967 days ago
    I love your philosophy of love and kindness with working with your horse. I am very sensitive to how some animals are treated for the pleasure of humans. Glad you posted this vlog. emoticon
    1967 days ago
  • ERIN1957
    Amazing thank you so much for this treat you gave.
    You look like a teenager and very fit!
    Wonderful share of a part your life, again thank you!
    1967 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    I am so sorry that I never had a Morgan horse like I always wanted so much. My husband never had any interest in horses and so I didn't get one although I had a horse when I grew up on our family farm. I wasn't smart.
    1968 days ago
    Really cool! Love your video.
    1968 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing your blog with us! I work with horses and disabled children, and would love to spend more time with horses on my own as well. I really enjoyed reading your blog. When I was in my 20s I owned a horse and as I am getting older I realise that I am ashamed at how little I really knew about horses and their care.

    I look forward to reading more of your blogs, or even keeping in touch with me through Spark Mail.

    Have a wonderful time with your friend. You look like you really love and trust each other, the way we should with our equine family.
    1968 days ago
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