11/12/13

Not a discipline.

Recently, a new "discipline" has taken over Instagram. It's called "Liberty". Pretty much, it's natural horsemanship with a twist. You have a bond with the horse, you play with them, they chase after you, you teach them tricks and ride tackless. While some call it a discipline, I call it a copy.

Someone the other day asked me if I did liberty with Red after seeing various photo's of me riding Red tackless. I replied with a big, fat and bold "NOPE". I do, however, practice natural horsemanship. As little iron as possible. I want a bond with my horse.

Here's the thing, having a bond with your horse should never be a discipline of it's own. Riding bareback isn't a discipline because you can still ride "english" when riding bareback and vice versa. It's in the cues and the way you ride and the way your horse walks, trots, canters, etc. I don't really know what my discipline is. For now, I'm a trail rider. I ride in parades, etc. I do some ranch work here and there, I ride my horse tackless and bridleless just for the fun of it, I don't show right now but I'm thinking about possibly showing some day soon. I guess you could call me more of a pleasure rider. I ride English and Western now, but I'm still mostly Western and I don't consider myself an English rider quite yet.

The most important thing to me is the bond between myself and my "pony". I don't want him to dread seeing me, or run away from me, or bite me in order to get me away. I don't want him to hate seeing the saddle, Western or English, because he hates working for with me, I want him to say, "oh yay it's her!" when I walk in.

When I first met Red, he ran away from us in the pasture. I mean he booked it. Bucked, reared, squealed, anything to stay away away away. We had to corner him in the round pen and I slipped his halter on with shaking hands, after all, I wasn't used to being around them, let alone being around a huge horse that did NOT want to be caught!! Flash forward about a year, and he runs to me in the pasture, even when he sees my tack. He does this everytime he sees me:
 

Just because he likes me.I posted that same photo on Instagram and was asked so many time "how did you teach him that trick?" and it's NOT a trick, people. That's what liberty is right now. The horse doesn't hug or kiss you because it wants to, on it's own free will, it does it because they know there is a treat in it for them. It's a trick. Not to say all "liberty" riders are like that, because they aren't. But the majority are. I don't ride tackless because I believe tack is evil or to get attention or whatever, I do it because I trust my horse 100% to take care of me, to stand when I need him to and to be calm without his hackamore. I do it because I love him and I have a bond and I know he loves me back.
 Yesterday.

I will NEVER call this a discipline because it is a bond, a relationship and I have to work for that, yes, but it isn't taught.
 

A bond can't be taught, they have to learn that they can trust you to hop on their back, to let you come close. It's not a discipline.
 

18 comments:

  1. I love this post! I really admire you and Red's bond. Just be looking at your pictures and reading your posts, I can tell that you guys really trust each other.

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  2. You and Red are so cute together. ;) I dunno, the whole "discipline" thing is really fuzzy to me once it gets outside of the show ring...people ask me what I "do" and really, what I do is try to keep my horse and myself happy and healthy, physically and emotionally and mentally! Which for us means some dressage, some jumping, some trails, some bareback (with a pad, oww!), some tricks and treats. Maybe some tackless eventually. I guess I am in the "happy, healthy horse and rider" discipline. ;)

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    1. Thank you! :) That discipline is the best. After all, what little girl dreamed of having a pony just to belong to a certain discipline? I personally dreamed of galloping around, having fun, laughing with my horse's mane flowing through the wind, riding on trails and etc. :)

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  3. Out of curiosity, why no helmet? You often post cute pictures, but I always can't help but worry that you don't wear one...

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    1. It's a fuzzy area for me, but the biggest reason, although there are more, is that a helmet isn't going to protect me from everything. A kick in the back, a bad landing on my leg, or even a broken hand from something. I have the utmost respect for those that choose to wear one but I just don't feel like it's for me.

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    2. I know I have ranted before to you about the helmet, but honestly, this response is just so naive. Of course it won't protect you from everything, but it CAN protect you and YOUR FAMILY from some absolutely horrible things. I really wish you would rethink things.

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    3. I appreciate the concern, but if God chooses to take me, He'll take me, with or without a helmet on. It's not a topic I plan on arguing over. I didn't get Red or begin riding or get into this "sport" to argue over stuff, but to make friends and have fun. The minute people start wearing helmets in cars, I'll rethink. I've seen my step-sister in a coma for months and almost die because of a car accident, police officers from around this nation said themselves that it was one of the worst they'd seen. She didn't wear a helmet, but the car was dangerous. With this, I will end the topic. For now, it's not up for discussion. Thank you for the concern.

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    4. I really didn't mean to start something, helmets are just very very important to me. A couple years ago, I fell off a pony and landed on my head. I cracked a chunk the size of a fist out of the back of my helmet. I would have died had I not been wearing but instead managed to escape with a concussion that left me with headaches for months. As you said, had I landed on my arm, a helmet wouldn't have protected me from breaking it, but I didn't, I landed on my head.

      I know Red is a good horse, as is Missy, and you think you don't need one, but horses are so unpredictable. One minute you may very well riding the trails laughing with friends and the next you might be in the ER. Helmets don't save everyone's life, but one sure as hell saved mine and might just save yours should make make the right choice to wear one.

      I only say this because I do care.

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    5. No worries. I really, really do appreciate the concern and I totally get where you-and everyone else-are coming from, like you said, even horses like Missy and Red have their moments, I've been caught in those moments before, even on Red. And to be honest, even him cantering when I don't expect it, or him slipping and falling, could harm me. But, it's a choice I've personally made and just like I wouldn't say anything to helmet wearers, I expect the same courtesy. (not to say you or T Myers didn't give me courtesy, I'm referring to a few other people, lol)

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  4. Great post. I think I consistently get asked, "Do you ride English or Western?" Or "What kind of riding do you do?" My response is usually, "The kind where I try not to fall off". It's all about making the horses I ride the best that they can be. Working a horse at "Liberty" they say is that light but deep connection you have with the horse that you're working. Being able to have them follow your body language, and yeah sometimes it's fun to have a cool party-trick up your sleeve. You guys look great and keep it up. We don't ride a certain discipline... We just ride.

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    1. Thank you. :) I love your comment!! I didn't start riding to be in a discipline, but to ride my horse!!!

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  5. I don't know what sort of Liberty discipline you mean. Liberty, as I remember it, is a class at horse shows. That is when you let your horse do whatever it wants for 2 minutes while let loose in the arena. While your horse is loose in the arena, music (of your choice) is played. You get more points if you horse runs and bucks and stuff. then you have 2 more minutes to catch your horse.

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    1. I so meant to respond to this sooner, sorry, lol. That would be the correct DISCIPLINE, the original I suppose, but the "new" liberty is basically letting the horse do what it wishes, like you said, riding tackless, teaching tricks and etc. Basically a deeper form of Natural Horsemanship.

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  6. This is all so true. Such a good post :)

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