Waiting for Your Horse… Builds Initiative in Your Horse.

I posted on this on my personal facebook page recently. Check it out, if you’d like. In Liberty teaching, sitting and waiting for our horse to come to us is a very popular and often utilized technique. The thinking is that it’s important that we give our horse choice in the relationship and experience with us. This is sound advice.

However, I think that there’s an even more important reason to sit and wait for our horse to come to us and to engage us – It builds initiative in your horse. The simple act of sitting and waiting for your horse to come to you begins the process of showing your horse that he can be active in the relationship he has with you. You see, most horses have learned by the way that we have been enjoying them, that they are not to suggest ideas or movement, but to WAIT until we suggest or signal something. You know… training.

Interestingly, when socially bonded herd mates are with each other, hanging out or even playing, they take turns initiating things. Now, the older horse of the pair may initiate ideas more often, but not by much. This back and forth, in my opinion, is what a true Liberty relationship looks like.

I have developed many different ways to encourage horses to offer up ideas and express themselves. I have found that some horses want a lot of independence and free will in the relationship, and when offered it, will take it and run with it (sometimes literally). I have also found that more often than not, horses are not comfortable initiating an action in the beginning. Many feel very secure knowing that if they wait for a suggestion from you and then go along with it, that things work out very well for all – this feels good to many horses. For this horse, I don’t insist that they be independent, but rather, do small acts that may naturally encourage them to step up and do something for themselves.

Which is why sitting and waiting for your horse to come to you can be very profound for some horses. Standing at a distance, your horse needs to first have the thought of coming over to you, and in the absence of you inviting them over, they need to decide to act on their own free will and make it happen. Initiative.

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