Monday, 6 June 2016

Private lessons with Jo Bates Parelli 2* instructor Part 2 - Liberty

Fun at liberty

In Parelli, we don't practise "join up" and do not chase the horse around. Sometimes we might ask the horse to move its feet or encourage it to keep moving. If the horse loses concentration and connection, a technique is to ask for the hindquarter yield to bring the head round and this usually helps the horse to reconnect, the move can be repeated but will be replaced by more subtle signals as we progress in our understanding and confidence together. The stick and string can be a useful tool as a prolongation of the body and give us body length, and clarity in signals. 

Using the round pen gives us a safe area and an advantage, it's easy to "catch" the horse and reconnect if he leaves.

Preparation is playing on the 22' line at the end of it, and "stick to me" alongside the horse on a slack line. Liberty is the test of connection and progress. Test and challenge by playing sideways at the end of the rope, or weave fromthe fence. Notice if it comes unstuck, and at what point.

Ask yourself, how can I communicate more clearly? How long does it take to establish a good connection? How can I cause her to stay connected?

Once the halter comes off, there is only the truth...

Jo shows me how to slip the halter by undoing the knot and holding both ends, then disengage the hindquarters and walk off, as if going somewhere... the horse follows closely, and the crowd goes wild...

At liberty, in the round pen, developing draw - one of our first topics, was very relevant and here in this photo I have Fina coming towards me happily as I go backwards; I like the French word for it : aspiration

And again, as she comes in off the circle:

Once or twice it was too much for Fina, and she left me, taking herself to the perimeter of the round pen in trot or canter; Jo reminded me to act as if the rope was still there, to disengage to turn her in and come back to me.

Tests and challenges: will she walk when I walk, stop when I stop. If she goes past me I can use the stick in front to back her up a step. The sweet spot is now the side of the neck.

Stick to me in figure 8.


Yoyo, how far can I drive her. Be accurate, don't drive one eye, make sure energy is centred and the stick position too.

Use the centre, with me, as a sweet spot, a desirable place to be.

Don't let her leave, but if she does, treat it like a circle game. Don't let her decide when to stop or turn in; gentle but firm resend, thanks for asking but not yet... 

Experiment to find out what causes her to leave - pressure, distance, etc.

What motivates her to stay

Invisible string, use hand as if the rope is still there.

Get playful, provocative, use the "ping", don't be afraid to bring her emotions up.

This stuff is soooo much fun....

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