The Liberty class is designed to demonstrate the natural beauty, quality of gaits, and personality when the horse is free of any restraints. There are some misconceptions out there that a liberty class is where you scare your horse into running like crazy around the arena. That is not only a false perception, but that approach would result in a low score. Your horse should be at attention, but not scared, moving out but not a constant gallop, and he/she should feel comfortable enough to kick up their heels and have fun. Liberty is not training-intensive; it is more based on natural behavior. The horse is judged on its trot and canter in both directions, using the whole arena. The horse is judged by its natural style and movement, quality of type, grace, action, spirit, and ease of catching. Horses willing to “show off” and keep moving with moderate encouragement from the handlers are preferred. The horse should give the impression that he/she is enjoying their Liberty class time, and be moving willingly with exuberance and enthusiasm, not so much that he/she is being forced to perform. Personal expression and bucking adds to the performance.
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