Trail Etiquette

Liberty Guidelines

On-Line Store





Liberty Guidelines

1. A horse should NOT be at liberty outside a fenced arena at a public facility without the express permission of the facility.

2. A horse should NOT be at liberty inside an arena if:

    • the facility does not permit liberty;
    • any non-BASP-member horses or humans are present in the arena; or
    • any BASP member present in the arena has requested that horses not be at liberty.

3. Prior to any play day activities with horses, play day attendees may horseshoe up to discuss the play day challenges including liberty options to any challenges, to make sure everyone understands the possibility of a liberty horse leaving its human, and to make sure everyone consents to horses being at liberty. Be courteous and compromise if someone requests no liberty: the person requesting no liberty can leave the arena for part of the play day so people can play at liberty, and people wishing to play at liberty can keep their horses on-line for part of the play day so the person requesting no liberty can participate.

4. Guidelines for a horse that abandons his human while at liberty:
For the person who has been abandoned:

    • Announce to the group that your horse is loose.
    • After the second time your horse leaves you, your horse must go back on-line. This is recommended by PNH and a courtesy to your fellow savvy players. It is disruptive to constantly have to stop what you are doing with your own horse to send another horse back.

For everyone else in the arena:

    • Be Aware: Understand that when someone and her/his horse are at Liberty, there is risk that the horse will run loose. If that horse comes into your area, you will need to be prepared to address both that horse as well as your own equine partner.
    • Be Safe and Protect the Herd: The safety of humans is paramount, followed by the safety of horses. If a horse is loose in the arena and comes toward you, "get big" with your body language and wave your stick or arms to ensure that the loose horse does not come near you or your horse. As far as your own horse, because you are looking away from your horse when "getting big" the idea is for your own horse to perceive you as protecting your herd-of-2.
    • Make the Wrong Place Uncomfortable: Where practical (safety first), avoid petting or catching the loose horse. When the loose horse is near you, it is in the wrong place and needs to be uncomfortable there. The idea is that that the only comfortable place in the entire arena is to be with its human partner. You can help with the training.
    • Lead the Way Home: Point your leading hand toward the loose horse‚Äôs human partner. Apply the driving game to cause the loose horse to go away from you and toward its partner. You may apply a send (similar to playing the circle game): point your leading hand toward the loose horse's human partner, and use the four phases - lead, lift, swing, touch -to support sending the loose horse toward his human partner.
    • Make the Right Thing Comfortable: The moment that the loose horse is facing and moving toward its human partner, drop your energy and relax. This helps reinforce that the horse did the right thing.