Equine Liberty Training: A Year in Review

2014 saw the birth of the Independent Liberty Trainers Network (ILTN), a loose knit group of seven trainers from three different countries, who spearheaded a new paradigm for the horse.


ILTN clinicians gave clinics on equine liberty training to students around the globe: in Spain, Norway, Colombia, U.S., Denmark, Italy, Australia, UK, Caribbean and New Zealand. In the U.S. alone, clinics have been held in Oklahoma, New Mexico, California, Florida, Washington and the East Coast. Online classes are offered by Ruella Yates and Susan Smith, reaching students in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Australia, Japan, Sweden, UK, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, and Germany so far. Farah DeJohnette and Alessandra Deerinck also offer online classes.

Our clinicians also gave presentations: Ruella Yates gave a Liberty demonstration at the American Horsewoman’s Challenge in Guthrie, Oklahoma with a horse she had only just met. See Ruella’s blog.
Ruella and Pocket at the American Horsewoman’s Challenge in Guthrie, OklahomaRuella and Pocket at the American Horsewoman’s Challenge in Guthrie, Oklahoma

pocket_and_ruellaAlessandra Deerinck participated in the Western U.S. Championships for the Mangalarga Marchador breed in Las Vegas, with Tesoro winning the title of Champion gelding for conformation and Allegria gaining the title of overall Champion mare 2014.

We also had articles published in Mio Cavallo, The Horse Magazine and our blog kicked off. By the end of 2014 we already had 300 blog subscribers. The Facebook response is in the thousands.

The primary goal of the ILTN is to give horses a voice, a choice in their treatment and training, a way to form better relationships between horse and human through the work we practice and teach.

We are making a difference for horses and their people, one horse and one human at a time. Thank you all for following us and we look forward to 2015.



My own journey this year began with some wonderful moments with the horses I work with. In January and February, I conducted my OrthoHorse Bodywork Tutorials for equines here in Santa Fe. The object of those workshops is to introduce horse owners and professionals to equine bodywork so that they may learn techniques to use on their own horses.

Catherine Sobredo Photography

Catherine Sobredo Photography

This work complements the Liberty Foundation Training perspective in that no force is used, and the horse has a say in his treatment.

In March, Florida was the scene of a Weekend Liberty Foundation Clinic along with an OrthoHorse Tutorial. In April we held the Spring Liberty Foundations clinic, co-taught with Ruella Yates, in Oklahoma.

The year can be viewed in blogs, videos and photos taken along the way. As liberty training took root in new places, more people took that knowledge home and introduced it to their horses.

Equine Liberty Foundation Clinic Comes to Florida

My Horse Likes My Trainer Better than Me

Liberty Work for Rescue Horses

For the Love of Ponies

A summer trail clinic incorporating some of what was learned at liberty on the trail, managing the energy of a group on horseback, with riders of varying degrees of expertise.

Sharing Heart and Mind with Your Horse on a Trail Ride

In September, the Fall Liberty Foundations Clinic in Oklahoma, held the weekend before the American Horsewoman’s Challenge. Among the clinic activities, we were preparing a young entrant and her mare for a liberty competition at that event.

5 Paths to Building Connection with Horses

On the Way to Performance with Liberty Horse Training

In October, I began my Online Liberty Foundation classes. My blog Body Language now has 730 readers.

The Santa Fe Winter Liberty Clinic was held in November before the really cold weather hit. Here are some videos from that event:


dsc_0103-2And in December in sunny Florida, the Winter Weekend Clinic brought together a fine group of horse people to make some profound changes in the horses there.

The Shaping of a Liberty Horse

And finally, my 10 New Year’s Horse-olutions for 2015!

Keep an eye on the calendar as more events will be added as they are planned.

copyright: Susan Smith, OrthoHorse


Services: Bodywork: (Ortho-Bionomy for people, Equine Ortho-Bionomy): private sessions, tutorials, phone consultations, Horse & Rider sessions, distance healing communication and gift certificates

Liberty Coaching: clinics, mini-clinics, workshops, private and semi-private sessions, tutorials, consultations: by appointment: 505.501.2478 or emailing susansmith@orthohorse.info Scheduling now. Contact me for details.

I’m now putting together the 2015 Clinic Calendar. Let me know if you want to do a clinic in your area. Prices will vary according to location.

January 27-March 4 or 18, 2015 – Horses at Liberty Online Advanced will continue the instruction for those students who have taken an introductory online or in-person clinic from me.

The work builds on what has been taught in the introductory course with refining movements, body language, knowing what and when to ask for change, celebrating the horse’s gifts of engagement. Cost: $311

Payment for the Advanced Online can be made by check, PayPal or credit card. A PayPal button for each of those events is available on the home page of my website, http://www.orthohorse.info

March/April Clinic in Santa Fe: Stay tuned for dates!

April 10-12 – Spring Liberty Weekend in Oklahoma — Susan Smith and Ruella Yates, co-instructors. Contact either of us: susansmith@orthohorse.info or ruella@libertyfoundations for further details.

September 26-27 – Fall Weekend Liberty Foundations Clinic in Oklahoma — Susan Smith and Ruella Yates, co-instructors. Contact either of us: susansmith@orthohorse.info or ruella@libertyfoundations.com for further details.

Who will benefit from this work?

All horses and humans, but specifically:

  • Horses who have not responded to traditional natural horsesmanship
  • Horses who have been frightened, abused and in other ways traumatized
  • Horses who may be aggressive or too passive in their herd situations
  • Horses who have problems with humans
  • All humans who may be puzzled about relationship with horses and want to deepen their connection.

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