When working toward liberty work with wild play, especially, I believe it's important to have solid foundation on how to work away from the horse handler.
In this video Dakota, the former backbreaker, literally, and now a parade horse, that is too much of the time a lonely pasture ornament, I show how to do the foundation work.
As you can see I am not running with him. He's not that solid yet, and in fact this is his very first time working off lead at liberty.
The owner is operating the camera, and I am performing tests to show how far he's come. I'll but more pressure on him thatn I usually would because he's not going to be clicker trained after this and must be able to respond to cues out of pressure. I hated that part, but I was paid well for this rehabilitation.
You will see his athleticism in his smooth energetic turns that sometimes will result in a head toss, his habit I saw no reason to change. H'e a strongly aggressive horse who rated a 9 on my chase the tiger evaluation test. He dove on it immediately at first sight and stomped on it, marking him as unsuitable for that approach to more liberty play. Little kids would be handling him and he will, like all horses, when stirred up sufficiently, kick out.
If he were mine I would have explore wild play intensely because he has the capacity for airs and unusual gaits, such as Spanish walk. But I won't teach it to other people's horses. I would teach someone to do it, with careful attention to all caveat.
You will note he never switches his tail once, despite the heavy tension from another horse being clicked and treated nearby...Altea with Ann outside the fence for safety. This is a big test as he kick very near the head of the owner not long before during morning hay feeding, showing all who is boss. Hence today's test with Altea eating in front of him.
He is even tested on whether he will revert to old pressure methods I consider a litle questionable for safety. I want a horse to stand fast when I drop the line or lunge whip as in this instance.
I had in the course of the work entirely forgot I'd planned to test this, but he remembered his lessons under operant conditoin and positive reward. He reminded me, clearly at the end.
You'll see too what I call busy ears...the sign of an attentive but thought and calm horse. He does show signs of the tension of Altea being there, and I think working out the discovery of now being off line at liberty.
The only offline work we had done to the point was a solid "come touch," for pasture fetching, and a whistle that cued him to come to the mounting log, and line his body up under the stick for easy mounting. Circle had always been on line.
The raised single finger means to stand in place, and I've changed that recently to a flat palm.