Liberty Work Clinics
Horses are herd animals that work within the hierarchy of dominating or being dominated. In the natural herd there are leaders and followers. There is no middle ground. The hierarchy is always changing by successful challenges by lesser stallions and mares to become the new leaders. A horse will leave or fend for itself if it feels that there is a lack of leadership. For humans to be safe around these half-ton plus reactive animals, we need to become their leaders. When humans lead, the horse can relax into the secondary role of follower. To successfully become a horse’s leader and to connect on a communicative level, we need to be courageous, compassionate, connected, aware, and mindful leaders – leaders that lead from our souls.
“At the deepest level, a leader is the symbolic soul of the group. His role is to fulfill the needs of others and, when each need is met, to lead the group on to fulfill ever higher needs, lifting the group’s potential at every step. The inspired leader’s power base comes not from other people but from her very being, and the path she walks is guided by her own soul. Its hallmarks are creativity, intelligence, organizing power, and love.” Chopra, Deepak (2010-12-28). The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness (p. 10). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
The goal of liberty work is to develop trust and a connection with your horse. Through liberty work, one can explore different leadership styles and skills. This setting allows the horse to choose to seek out and follow a strong leader or to leave if the horse feels abandoned and has to defend itself on its own. Horses are very aware of the different energies that arise from humans –leadership, courage, fear, tension, and domination without compassion. Horses positively respond and seek out Soul Leadership that embraces courage, compassion and connection and move away or disappear inside from fear, tension, and domination.
During the clinics, Soul Leadership qualities and skills are discussed. To be leaders for our horses we need to feel grounded and sure of ourselves. We need to be centered as generous beings that are there to support the horses so that the horses can trust and follow and choose to willingly be in our presence.
The liberty work can be held in a small arena or round pen.
Printable PDF: RPH Groundwork Clinic Handout
What do RPH Groundwork Clinics provide?
RPH Groundwork Clinics provide the rider with a fresh perspective on how their horse moves and a deeper awareness of tensions within the horse. This adds an important dimension to the rider’s understanding of their horse’s body, and the suppling, strengthening, and conditioning the horse needs to perform well.
Groundwork allows the handler to refine his or her skills and aids. Riders leave the clinic with new tools that they can use at home to school a green horse, relax a mount prior to riding, reduce lameness while improving performance, and most importantly–improve their equine partnership.
What does a groundwork clinic typically include?
Clinics are typically three days. The first evening is spent participating in an interactive lecture to learn the fundamentals RPH. The second day begins with technique and exercise demonstrations, followed by group hands-on practice session. The third day involves individual sessions with your own horse, trouble-shooting, and one-on-one time with Karen.
RPH clinics may cover:
- Understanding Your Horse’s Body
- Biomechanics Basics: Understand equine movement
- Relaxation: Techniques for creating relaxation
- Developing Healthy Posture: Assess and improve balance, throughness, flexibility, and suppleness
- Exercises to Address Your Horse’s Needs
- Passive Exercises: Back and neck, poll flexion
- Dynamic Exercises: Shoulder and haunches suppling variations, soft and collected backing in a circle, lateral exercise variations, lunge variations
- Troubleshooting and Common Problem Spots
- Continuing Refined Performance Horsemanship at Home
Who can benefit from this type of groundwork?
RPH was developed to improve a horse’s physical and mental wellbeing. RPH is also for horsewomen and horsemen in pursuit of a deep and productive partnership with their horses. Riders from all disciplines and training style backgrounds can incorporate RPH techniques in their training programs.
How is this type of groundwork different than how you’ve trained before?
RPH emerged from over 20 years studying a vast range of horsemanship principles, including natural horsemanship, classical principles, biomechanics, conditioning and schooling. Karen Ososki, founder of RPH, has applied these methods with successful results in various disciplines – from western to dressage to jumping.
Through study and practice, Karen refined each discipline to its core and extracted elements that combine to create a holistic approach to horse training that results in relaxed and willing minds and balanced and capable bodies.
RPH clinic participants learn mounted and unmounted exercises that focus on developing muscular and skeletal foundations that are biomechanically healthy. Once a horse is able to move freely, he becomes a more willing partner and he is capable of performing at a higher level while preventing lameness issues.
After using RPH techniques, horsemen and women alike experience a partnership with their horses like they’ve never experienced before.