During Straightness Training it's important that your horse not only understands what you want him to do, but that he's is also inspired and willing and motivated to meet your request.
Especialy during ST at liberty it's important that your horse feels inspired, because when you ask your horse to do something ‘difficult’ or if you ask for something that requires a lot of effort and energy, such as the piaffe, it's important that he will still choose to stay with you rather than to leave you.
Now at liberty a horse may stay with you when you don’t ask him anything or when all the things you ask him to do are very easy. But as soon as he has to work a little harder, or you leave the ‘comfort zone’ and you enter the ‘stretch zone’ with your horse, he may choose to leave. But he will not if he’s inspired and motivated to meet your request from the inside out.
Therefore you need to be sure your horse is interested in and inspired by you, that he’s motivated to work with you and that he’s attracted to you. If you have enough draw for your horse, if he sees you as the best place to be, no matter what, he will not leave you at liberty, even though he has to work a little extra or has to put some serious effort to get the job done.
Of course the same 'spirit' of the horse is also desirable not only at liberty but also in the other training components - groundwork, longeing, work in hand or riding.
- Do you just want to have a happy, healthy horse?
- Do you want to have a balanced horse so you can hack out?
- Or would you like to jump 1.60 m?
- Do you want to reach the top in competitions?
- Or would you like to ride with 5 horses at liberty?
- Do you want to learn western riding?
- Or do you want to master classical equitation?
- Or the academic art of riding?
- Or something else?
At the moment I am teaching Prince Elmelund collection on the longe line.
This is still 'work in progress' but he's getting better and better.
In our communication I have to wait a little until he's mentally seen really ready to collect, and sometimes it's better to go a little bit more forward again first, before going to the utmost possible physical collection to avoid disturbance of the rhythm and to avoid getting too much weight on the front legs.
So by asking him gradually to collect, he's giving the best possible performance in collection.
This is my horse Romanesque in the canter pirouette and I ask it from the 'groundwork' position, that's when you are positioned on the horse's concave side, then the horse will be cantering towards you.
You can also do the canter pirouette when you are positioned on the convex side of the horse, then the horse will turn away from you. I will make a video of that soon 😉