Liberty Fun in the Summer Sun!

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for spring… So to take a break from winter, here are a few photos from one of our summer liberty training sessions with Sonny and Francis (coach and trainer at Combination Horsemanship). This handsome Welsh Cob is learning to jump at liberty using positive reinforcement and no restraints. Share this post if you love liberty too!


Sonny the palomino Welsh Cob has learned to jump obstacles on command.


Sonny knows that he’ll get a healthy food reward in return for the ‘work’ he has to do. This is called positive reinforcement and is a really effective way to train a lot of different things! But it does require some specialist knowledge to do it right – otherwise it’s easy to teach the wrong thing as well.


palomino welsh cob canter at liberty
Horse and Human: Different species, same determination!


He will even jump obstacles on command from a complete standstill. We think this is a neat trick – he’s a really clever boy!


Sonny knows how to clear multiple consecutive obstacles too. He gets a verbal signal to tell him he has done the right thing and waits until the end of the course to get his rewards. It’s a little bit like dog agility!


Liberty work has helped him become a better jumper under saddle too – both physically and mentally. But the true test is when no one is looking – sometimes he’ll go jump when you’re not really asking!


To keep his mind stimulated, we do more than just jumping. Sonny understands lots of other commands too including to ‘lie down’, ‘stay’, ‘roll’, ‘yawn’, ‘bow’, ‘shake’, ‘spin’, ‘back up’, ‘Spanish walk’ and more…


…and he is always learning something new because training is never finished! Right now he is learning how to ‘sit’ – but he finds it a bit difficult still… The most interesting part is that none of these positions were forced using ropes or restraint. Instead, these natural behaviours were ‘captured’ and ‘shaped’ using well-timed positive reinforcement.

I hope you enjoyed this brief blog about Sonny and the liberty training we do with him. A lot of people have told me that they enjoy photos and videos of training most so I will try to post more of that in the future! For anyone else feeling nostalgic about warmer weather, I hope this brightened up your day a little! Please do share the post with your friends if you liked this!

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