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Natural Dressage doesn’t start with exercises for the horse, but instead with exercises for the human. The first task as a human is to convince your horse that you are fun and interesting enough to play with, because at liberty you won’t be able to hold him close anymore if he doesn’t want to be with you. So instead of overruling him, you’ll now have to start convincing him.

The training program for Natural Dressage really is quite simple; it consists of only three messages that you’ll have to convince your horse of:

1. It’s fun to be with me: spending undemanding time together
2. It’s fun to move with me: playing together
3. It’s fun to focus with me: focusing on collected movements together

If you think about it, this list isn’t something that you just read out to your horse. It’s something you’ll have to prove to him every day again. That’s the hardest part! Because if you become a bit too demanding when focusing (3) on a collected movement like the piaffe, your horse will soon become less enthusiastic about moving in general (2) and eventually will start to dislike spending time with you altogether (1).

Sjors sitting in the sun Titum in a giant leap Esprit in a wonderful trot
Spending time
Having fun
Feeling focused
Luckily, training dressage at liberty makes it very easy for your horse to express those feelings: he can simply walk away! That makes Natural Dressage more than just another kind of horse training. Above all, it’s human training. Because once you’ve accepted your horse as trainer, you will never stop learning.
Read, write and ask more about Natural Dressage at the Art of Natural Dressage forum.
For info (in Dutch) on clickertraining and the book Vrijheidsdressuur: www.vrijheidsdressuur.info
© of this site, pictures and texts: Miriam Nieuwe Weme