Horse Personalities Inc.


last updated:December 4, 2011

Liberty News & Views
Liberty News and Views is a place we express our comments on the events we have had a part in creating and experiencing with you and the horses. It is a chance for us to get our ideas on the table in hopes of learning and improvement. It is sometimes just a place to relive the good times and the special people who love horses as much as we do.  

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Trail Riding Camp
Trail Riding Camp

Well, it was only three days but somehow it seemed much longer! The trail riding camping adventure at Mesa Butte from August 24th to 26th turned out to be an amazing experience as seen from the eyes of the horses. Almost all the horses who participated (and their people) were pretty inexperienced.

First, there was getting in the trailer. This was achieved with patience and perseverance. Then, there were the tie stalls. We ended up not using them after some of the horses said “no way.” A couple did however show off their ability to stand in there quietly and munch hay. Eventually, one of the horses ventured in there, munched, backed out, went in again, munched some more, backed out again. We think he was training himself! We ended up fashioning little paddocks which worked really well.

Getting ready to ride took a while because everyone was excited, humans and horses alike. Once we were in the saddle, the horses were totally awesome, facing each new thing with courage, curiosity and enthusiasm. Big rocks, fallen trees, cows, cliffs, hills, rivers (okay, streams), gates and did I mention a mule? Yes, on the second day, Harold and Clyde (Harold’s the human) came for their first ever trail ride together. We think Clyde has done some trails before, but not Harold. He only started riding a few short years ago – after most people have retired!

Well!  The mule had our horses really going. “Look at the ears on that thing! Yikes!” But once again, we got everyone ready and an order established in terms of who would go in front of the mule and who would go behind – and we headed out. The trail that day was magnificent. We climbed up through the forest to a beautiful view. Then we worked our way down the other side, across a meadow and back through the trees to our camp site.

Most of us rode with rope halters and we were amazed at how responsive the horses were to them especially when it came to balancing down hills. It was really awesome.

On the third day we found a small group of feral horses. We took a wide birth around them, not sure about how they would react to us and how our horses might react to them. Later, we went back on foot to find them enjoying the sun in a meadow. Earlier that morning, a young horse greeted us on the other side of the fence from where we were camping. At first, we thought he might have wandered from somewhere nearby. But then we realized he was a young stallion and later decided he might be a castoff from the feral group. Thankfully, we had decided to leave him alone and not lure him into the camp!

We rode about two hours each day. For most of us, two hours was plenty! And after three days, we were ready to head home.

As for the non-riding activities, we loved taking care of the horses, feeding them, walking them, fetching them water. We enjoyed eating lots of smokies by the fire. There was a stream right behind our camp  down a steep hill. The evenings were quite cool and the days sunny and warm. In fact, the weather was one of the highlights.

All in all, we think we’ll do it again next year. However, in the meantime, we’ll practice a few things – like trailer loading! Thanks to our amazing horses for showing us how to approach a totally new experience with enthusiasm and finesse!

Beautiful Country
Kid's Training Camp
Women's Retreat
Mane Event
Chilliwack Oct. 09
  Cheers Big Ears!
  Feral Stallion & Junior
  Resting for the trail ride.
  Rocky Mountain trail ride 2009.
Kid's Training Camp (2009)

Training Camp turned out to be Kid’s Camp since all the participants were, well, kids! It was so fun. We weren’t mighty in numbers but we sure made up for it in enthusiasm. We approached it as a training camp for the most part working with our horses each day and building on basic skills and techniques.

We sure noticed the connection the horses had to their young people. Peanut gently showed her curiosity and willingness to help Jordin learn about Look/Lift/Leg. You’re probably wondering what that is. It’s a way of turning the horse. Starting at the walk, first look in the direction you want to go. Believe it or not, sometimes that’s enough to show your horse where you want to go. If the horse isn’t quite getting that, then lift the rein, preferably at the same time as the front leg lifts. (I know, this is tricky to picture.) If you need a bit more cue, then you can gently add your inside leg for your horse to bend around. As soon as your horse turns, release all the cues. Peanut and Jordin were really getting that.

We played polo cross on the ground (no horses) outside in the sand ring and then we got the horses used to the rackets and ball. Mona and Rachel, our most experienced pair, love polo cross. Mona isn’t afraid at all of the ball or racket. And as an aside, Rachel discovered something neat about her “Boss” horse (Mona is a DEAA in the horse personalities). She loves to have her butt massaged. She stood so quiet and still as Rachel gave her the massage. It was mesmerizing.

Catherine and Romeo really changed through the week. Catherine got really good at saddling Romeo and worked at getting over the butterflies in her stomach at the prospect of getting on that beautiful horse. Romeo was a perfect gentleman all week.

The kids learned about health care, taking temperatures, listening to the heart, braiding tails and manes and more.

It wasn’t all about training though. We had fun doing crafts and having Liberty Stables-style adventures. We tie-dyed t-shirts, hiked up the big hill, enjoyed a picnic in a tree fort and a hot dog roast outside the tipi.

It was fun and the days went by so quickly! We are looking forward to next year for sure.

Peanut & Jordin demonstrating look/lift/leg.
Polo Cross training.
Dessa showing Rachael how to braid Mona's tail.
Catherine & Romeo.
Health care and feeding of horses.
Food tastes better out side in the sun.
Women's Retreat (September -09)

We had a beautiful week as you’ll see in the photos for the Women’s Retreat! And the food was spectacular. We took turns bringing lunch each day. On Thursday night, we ate a
yummy barbecue steak dinner and then sat next to the tipi around a warm fire attempting to drum.

Right, and we played with our horses. There were many opportunities to reflect about what the horses were showing us. Not surprisingly, each human-horse combination was
unique and so each person worked on their individual relationship with their horse. They did what they needed to do, where they were at, with what they had. It was a testament to the evolution of all of our workshops. Thinking back to Dawson Creek, it was the same thing. Some people didn't even ride while others were working on body position, mobility, balance, all from the ground up. It’s not a cookie-cutter process.

Each day was comprised of meeting at the barn, gathering and spending time with the horses. We groomed them, fed them – just enjoyed them. And it was so peaceful and quiet
in the barn. Some mornings we talked about horse care and health. We measured the height and weight of each horse. We sat on the lawn discussing how to tell if our horses are
healthy, supplements, herbs, de-worming strategies, and more.

We had yummy coffee and bagels mid-morning. We got into the routine of establishing what each person wanted to do in the upcoming riding session during the coffee break.

Tex and Dagmar worked on getting used to each other. Dagmar is a new rider and Tex, more experienced: a good combination. And Tex loves his role almost taking care of Dagmar and showing her when they were on the right track. They got to where they could trot along the rail in an organized fashion. Tex loves patterns and so Dagmar used that to her advantage.

Ringo and Holly just rode a bit. Ringo, a rather large, young, growing horse who was having some soundness issues and so they worked together on his physical stuff. Ringo got to where he loved being in his stall (a brand new experience). You could almost see on his face the enjoyment of being at the Liberty Stables “Spa”. Holly tried a new saddle out and got Ringo started on some herbs. He was most interested in what the other horses were doing and he loved it when Holly did Reiki on him.

Pronto and Tina are a new combo. Pronto is only 3 and Tina is brand new with horses. Now you would think that would be a risky proposition. However, they are doing awesome
together. Tina got riding Pronto early on in the week and she practiced the ground exercises from the saddle. Pronto is a quiet boy but he is also a young horse and so he
challenged us just a bit each day with a little something new.

Star and Bridget are a dynamic duo. Star is just 4. Bridget is a lifelong horse lover. They found each other and are now enjoying a wonderful relationship. Bridget is working on body position in order to help Star move more easily. They got some neat things happening! The highlight of the week for them might have been the trailering. We found a really neat new way to teach horses to load and Star was a good example of a success.

Dessa will hopefully be writing more about this approach. It was something she had done with her horses in the past not realizing why it worked so well. It definitely works! Now you’re curious!

Wind Walker and Andrea are another wonderful pair. They’ve been together about 2 years which is how long we figured it takes to establish a really strong relationship. Wind
Walker loves coming to Liberty Stables. On the first day when we were meeting the horses one-on-one in the arena , Wind Walker came in, went to the other end and laid down! And she stayed there for several minutes! Through the week, Andrea worked on her body position. Dessa told the group that most people are a bit crooked and it shows up in
riding when horses can’t stay on the rail or their shoulders lean causing them to fall in on the circle. Wind Walker and Tex became close friends. That was neat to see.

We had a guest instructor do yoga on horseback with us. Margit McNaughton is a yoga instructor and horse lover. She put the two together and showed us how to limber up and get connected while on horseback. The horses really enjoyed it too. We did a bit of yoga each day after Margit’s visit.

On the last afternoon, we free-jumped some of the horses which is always fun.

We did a little theory as well. We sat around the table one day after lunch and talked about balance/energy/relaxation as well as mobility/flexibility/collectability. We used
crayons and magic markers to draw circles and write colorful notes.

On another day, we colored Mandelas which is a very meditative exercise. You can go on-line and print off Mandelas to colour at home.

It was a wonderful week and we truly enjoyed each other and our horses. Some folks who were unable to make it this year are already signing up for next year, same week in
September (September 20th to 24th, 2010). Mark your calendars and contact us if you’re interested.

Tex showing Dagmar how easy it is.
Ringo & Holly
Wind Walker enjoying the day at Liberty Spa.
Beautiful duo Briget & Star.
Margit McNaughton instructing "yoga on horseback".
Ulysses greeting Holly & Ringo.
Tina & Pronto
Mane Event – Chilliwack October 23 to 25, 2009

We drove to Chilliwack from Millarville (southwest Alberta) and enjoyed a beautiful display of fall leaves along with lots of fall rain! We did manage to find a sunbeam in Kamloops and so did a quick 9 holes at the foot of a beautiful rock-faced hill where a half dozen mountain sheep frolicked (if you can call it frolicking on a sheer rock face!) for our entertainment. The folks at the Horse Barn took some books to sell in the Kamloops area. Thanks! We also distributed books in Vernon, Langley (see our list of Retailers).

The Mane Event was well-organized as usual. Our hats off to Ron and Gail for doing such an awesome job. There was quite a crowd there and the trade show was tremendous. As well, there were a variety of clinicians to take in. Attendees could watch seminars and demos in driving, western pleasure, western dressage, traditional dressage, jumping as well as basic horsemanship (have I missed anything?). Dessa really enjoyed watching Debbie McDonald, high-level dressage coach and competitor. She was very instructive, positive, knowledgeable and tuned in to the horses.

We discovered that “Is Your Horse a Rock Star?” is familiar to quite a few folks. We had numerous people come to the booth to tell us they’d read the book. Several had heard of it and many came back to get their own copy after having leant theirs to someone else.

Dessa gave an excellent presentation amidst lots of activity in the demonstration area. More and more people are recognizing that the horse personalities also apply to them. And making the leap to matching horses and people using the personalities was quick and easy. We had lots of fun exploring that.

Our working hypothesis is that you and your horse would be a good match if you were opposite on the first two letters, and the same on the last two. For example, if you were a Goddess (SECF), a good equine match might be a Reluctant Rock Star (DLCF). A good match for a Rock Star human (DECF) might be a Steady Eddy horse (SLCF). A human Skeptic (DLAA) might work well with a Perfectionist horse (SEAA). Does that make sense?

Dominants like to have a say in their world and so paired with a Submissive who is seeking leadership, there would be less chance for conflict or “head-butting”. Opposites in energy would conceivably balance each other out. In terms of choosing activities and approach to training, Curious gets along well with Curious (prefer variety and a non-linear approach to training), and Afraid tends to get along with Afraid (desire for predictability, knowing how to do something well before moving on).

For the last two letters on the scale – Friendly and Aloof – “like” tends to be drawn to “like”.

Of course, having said this, there are exceptions! For example, people who are CF’s (Curious/Friendly), sometimes appreciate having a match that has an “A” (Afraid or Aloof) because they have a tendency to be able to “stick with it” or hold a program.

Let us know what your experience has been on this (

Getting back to the Chilliwack Mane Event, it was very interesting as usual and we have many memories from the trip. We are hoping that a BC island tour might be in the future for Horse Personalities Inc. We discovered that there are quite a few horses and horse people tucked away on the various islands off mainland BC.

A break at the Kamloops' golf course.
Mountain Goats butting heads near Kamloops.
Mane Event in Chilliwack -09.
Chilliwack Mane Event -09.
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