Do you ever look at some of those horses working at liberty and wonder about the conflict behaviours they're showing - you know, the pinning ears and swishing tails. I do.
I wonder what I would be thinking if my horse was giving me those signals when I was riding, umm, what would I think?
Do you think we feel differently about the horse displaying these sorts of behaviours when we are riding than working at liberty? Could this be because we can't see the 'pressure', in terms of bits and whips, being used? Does that mean that there is no pressure? If so, what are the behaviours being directed at?
And, why do so many of those horses working at liberty pin their ears, or worse, at the handler? If you haven't really noticed this before, pop along to YouTube and have a look. You'll notice the best trainers get very little of these behaviours, so what's making the difference? Oh, and here's a tip to help you watch - do so without the sound. We tend to see what we're told to see, it can make an enormous difference. Try it and let me know if you think it helps. I tend to watch once without the sound and work out what I feel is going on and then watch again with the sound and see how different the two are. It can be a very educational exercise and a great way to learn to read the horse.
I think they're important questions that should be asked. I have a theory about it myself but I'd be interested to hear what you think first, so leave me a comment below and I'll come back to this topic next time.
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