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The Project:

Horses from many walks of life, communication through body language, tools used only for safety, never to train.


The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.


Discovering Interests

From my early childhood of galloping trails and jumping jumps with wild abandon, to my intense study of dressage and biomechanics of horse and human in my early adult life.


From my study of the equine mind and motivation patterns in “Natural Horsemanship” style training to my later development of Freedom Based Training®.


From the filming of “Taming Wild: A Girl and a Mustang” as a challenge to myself to think outside the boxes of horse training I understood, to later challenging myself again to cross a country with rescued horses while filming “Taming Wild: Pura Vida”.


Now I am at home in the present moment filming the third movie, “Taming Wild: Evolution” looking even deeper for answers.


I ask myself often, why do I do this?


What is my motivation to show up day after day and explore the realms of what is possible in the company of a horse?


There are many things we could fill our time with, yet for some of us everything feels better in the company of a horse.


My “why” reaches back to the childhood awe I felt when I realized a horse could lend me their strength and speed when I was riding, so that I too became stronger and faster like the horse whose grace I was borrowing.


Now, as an adult, I still ride but it isn’t the ultimate goal of being with horses for me anymore.


My ultimate goal now is the development of diversity in shared enjoyment, horse and human together.


If I want to share in the strengths of my horse, what do I offer in return?


I like the challenge of asking myself, “can I offer my strengths and skills in a great enough diversity of ways to the horse that they are interested in offering theirs to me in return?”


When I opt out of using halters or sticks or fences to control a horse, I also opt out of the dominant boundary setting that many horses appreciate.


When food is not something I bring to the horse and it is only one of many environmental options we share, I lose an intensity of power to reward or develop specific behaviors that shape the horse to share my human interests.


When freedom becomes the basis for building relationships, the mental agility of horse and human becomes the valued commodity.


This mental agility is what I develop when I take away all the tools and obvious rewards between horse and human.


This is why I train horses.


My own mental agility is both the challenge and the reward.


In reality, I am spending time with horses while they train me.


The end result is that we train each other to be better versions of ourselves.


The question of relationship starts with a natural community instinct that horses and humans share. Are you interested in the same things I am interested in?


At a core level, all of us seek a state of feeling better, however our individual strategies for feeling better vary in style and effectiveness.


A horse that seeks boundaries, someone else to tell them what to do or where to be, is a horse that does not know how to direct their own focus in ways that develop better feelings. I enjoy the challenge of keeping that sort of horse company in freedom as they develop skills of focus that make them the sort of partner that doesn’t need boundaries to lean on in the future.


A horse that eats perpetually is a horse that has a very narrow perspective on what might cause better feeling. I enjoy the challenge of keeping that horse company and celebrating every small stretch of their comfort zone that shows them better feelings come from far more opportunities than food.


Mental agility happens when the thoughts are collected enough to allow focus to change and move and adjust in the best direction in each moment.


What is the best direction for focus? The direction that makes us feel better. The more varieties of focus we have that make us feel better, that we can choose from moment to moment, the more diverse and interesting life becomes.
When a horse focuses on something that makes it feel worse, you will know, because it triggers actions of fight, flight or freeze.


When a horse focuses on something that makes it feel better, you will know, because it triggers actions of thinking, yielding and playing.


In freedom, a horse can choose what they want to focus on, and sometimes they choose something that feels bad. In those situations, I am happy to be their companion, but I will not be in harmony in any way with the decision to feel worse.


In contrast to that, when a horse focuses on something that makes them feel better, I am going to find as many ways as possible to be in harmony with those choices.


This is the base on which Freedom Based Training® works.


Horses (and humans) crave companionship. We all want friends who are interested in the same things we are interested in.


In freedom sometimes we lack the mental agility or mental collection to make the right choices of focusing on the things that make us feel better together.


As a horse trainer in freedom, I have to develop my own mental agility and mental collection first, leading by example, showing the horse that I am with them when they are making good choices.


From this foundation, the relationship is all about building variety.


How many different ways can we experience the world together and feel better?


Matching behavior and matching focus is the obvious reinforcer in Freedom Based Training®. When both horse and human value the same things there is harmony.


Horses will work and develop their behaviors to achieve harmony if it is offered the right way. The need for community is built into us all and is a deeply powerful motivator for development.


Complementary behavior and focus is where the art of the relationship is developed. Complementary behavior is where we are different from each other, yet still in harmony


The horse looks to the right, the human looks to the left. Looking different places, complementary to each other because as a partnership we now know the world is safe in both directions.


The human looks at the environment and the horse sinks into self-focus getting a little rest for a moment. Focused in different places, complementary to each other because one is keeping the other safe while the other rests, later the roles may be reversed.


The human stands still the horse moves around in a circle at speed, complementary to each other because one is the center point of the action and the other is the action, later the roles may be reversed.


Those are three simple examples, but the variations you might think of are potentially infinite.


My point is that, in a relationship you do not need to always be the same as the other to be in harmony. Harmony can be either matching or complementary and both are of value.


The key is variety, how many different ways can life be experienced as we seek better feelings together?


The discovery of variety is why horses want to play with humans, and humans want to play with horses. We don’t know what is possible until we try it.


Life with horses is endlessly diverse, and profoundly simple all at the same time.


Today, I feel the awe of those contrasting and yet balancing thoughts.


I will never know everything there is to know, but each day I practice I will learn a little more, and my mental collection and agility will become a little stronger.


Here is to all the horses who help me develop.


Here is to all of you, interested in some of the same things I am interested in.


Here is to our community, sometimes matching, sometimes complementary.



Hooves and Heartbeats,



(I have made a video about this subject, titled “Matching Focus, Complementary Focus”. If you are curious for some visual demonstration of the ideas in this blog post, join us at: )


    • Ritambhara Tyson
    • Posted December 22, 2019 at 8:43 am
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    The last picture of Atlas is so beautiful. He is magnificent! The more I learn about these beautiful beings the more I question my ability to live up to the responsibility of having them.

  1. So much good stuff in this blog! As you do from the horses I also do from you…learning a little nugget each interaction! Very grateful for all your time and dedication to this discovery and exploration of other different ways of connecting to horses!

  2. Beautiful post. Love the way you articulate the deeper relationship you are reaching towards and the value of complimentary and matching varieties of building good feelings. Thank you!

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