Tucson’s Liberty Jumping Featured in Horse Nation!

Tucson's Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation
Tucson’s Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation

My “once in a lifetime” horse Tucson passed away back in 2013. So, imagine my surprise when I found out he had been featured in Horse Nation. I love the idea that he is still doing his “demos” for people, even long after he has gone. I hope he is still getting carrots in heaven every time someone watches him jump at liberty!  As of today, there are over 30K views….that’s a lot of carrots!

Free Jumping at Liberty – Almost Ready to Jump a Course!

Here is the last step before Wiley learns to jump mini courses! Wiley can:

  • jump a single pole on command
  • be “sent”down a line of jumps
  • be “recalled” down a line of jumps

These are all the basics of free jumping a course. I have started adding some energy to the process as well. Wiley is starting to offer the trot for both the “send” and “recall.” Of course the “jumps” are only poles. I don’t raise the jumps until the horse totally comprehends the idea of jumping courses at liberty. Even then, the jumps are just gradually raised. Wiley is only 2 in this video, so he won’t be jumping any big fences soon, but he can learn the concept! My next step will be to create mini courses out of poles and teach Wiley how to learn the different courses. Even though I can’t ride the baby dinosaur yet, I can still have tons of fun with him….and bond a little in the process!


Horse Jumping Courses at Liberty

Just wanted to share this old video of my previous partner Tucson. “T” could jump courses of up to 8 fences at liberty….complete with in and outs, rollbacks, and bounces. It only took minutes to teach him a new course too. Sadly, I never got it on video. This is all that  was ever taken….just a quick shot on a friend’s cell phone while I was working “T” one day. I didn’t even bother to set all the jumps. I never dreamed this would be the only video of his most spectacular trick. I have started to teach Wiley liberty jumping. It is a long process. You can bet when Wiley finishes learning it, I will get it on tape!


The Stand Command

I had a request for a “how to” on this subject so here it is….How to teach your horse to stand still without being tied. This is one of the most useful “moves” you can put on a horse. I originally trained Tucson to stand/ground tie when I was doing a lot of jumping and setting/resetting my own courses. I didn’t want to lug my horse around to the fences with me. I found that this command was useful in soooo many ways. Cross ties full? No problem. Forgot something in your tack room? Just park your horse and leave him standing. Tucson could stand while I was completely out of sight. It prompted more than one confused rider to announce “loose horse!”  Continue reading “The Stand Command”

Horse Soccer

Horse Soccer Step 1

Wiley is learning to play Horse Soccer. I will eventually shape this behavior into something cool, but it starts out pretty slow. I first taught Wiley how to touch the ball using the command “touch” and rewarding him with a carrot. Next he had to move the ball to get a reward. Finally, he had to move the ball several times to get a reward. In the clip below, Wiley had been playing this game for a couple of days. I was trying to see how many pushes I could get Wiley to complete before he got a reward. Keeping  in mind Wiley is only 2, so his attention span isn’t great yet, I think he did a pretty good job. Try and count for yourself.

Horse Soccer Step 2

After Wiley was fully capable of pushing the ball around the arena, I started shaping what kind of pushes I wanted. In the clip below, Wiley is learning to push the ball to me. I only reward him when the ball is close enough for me to touch. This is day 2 of this training. He’s doing pretty well.

When Wiley gets confident with this skill, I will continue to shape the behavior. Eventually it will be a fun trick, but I am in no hurry to get it trained.


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