When I start bringing a disconnected horse’s focus back to me, I think of the process as being like casting a fly-fishing rod with a very fine, long line. Once I “hook” my horse, or capture his attention, I must move very delicately with him to not break the line. When successful, I have secured the string connection and he “hooks” on and comes back to me.

Here are a couple of tips:

  • As soon as the horse looks at you, try to draw him with a bit of movement on your part. Walking backward on an arc to his side may help to “hook” him on. Move too fast, you’ll break the string; stand frozen, and there’s nothing for your horse to connect with.
  • If he stops and stands to look at you, walk arcs in front and around to each side of him and think about driving one side of him to draw the other toward you. In essence, this is what you are doing when walking the arcs, just at a greater distance. You are driving one side to draw the other. Your goal is to walk around to the horse’s side, trying to get the hindquarters to unlock in order to invite his front foot to take a step toward you. As soon as he does, smile, back away, and give your horse relief from the pressure you applied by walking the arc around to his side. Taking pressure off by backing away shows him that coming toward you is the right answer.

With Jonathan Field’s step-by-step liberty training method, you learn to have a better “feel,” to reward the horse sooner, and to time your aids just right to ensure you get the response you want.

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