I'm so glad I found this forum! I have been working with Liberty principles for several years now, but lately, I've been wanting to look more into dressage for conditioning and further opportunity to "play" with my horse. I have felt like an oddity among horse people because of my views, which are very much aligned with AND, and at times a little lost too. I don't ride my horse currently (it's a long story, maybe for another time) but I want to get him ready for the possibility and keep active and engaged when we are able to spend time together. Now, I'm doing more "energy" work, and plan to expand on those possibilities more in our partnership.
I started out with "natural horsemanship" and my horse very quickly let me know it wasn't for him! He is very skeptical of new things in general, but I could tell it went against his perception of fairness. I've used pressure only when absolutely necessary, but I want to find a better way so that it becomes completely unnecessary. I've also taken some advanced equine behavior courses, which really helped validate my approach of positive reinforcement, which I had been doing intuitively. So, my background is mostly western, but not necessarily by choice (if that makes sense), and that is what he is trained in for riding.
My horse, Brer Fox, is what some people call "difficult" but I know he acts the way he does because of his intelligence, combined with a very sensitive FoF trigger/impulse and possibly some genetic components. Because of this, and his overwhelming distrust of humans before I found him, he had been a challenge to train so I decided just to be his friend/protector. He was a breeding stallion for 12 years, and gelded at 13. For about 2 years, I just let him enjoy his freedom, as he was kept isolated by the breeder in a stall for over 3 years, with hardly any time out. I promised him his freedom and made it my #1 goal, and because of that he does still have a wild streak. Fox is a Palomino Morgan, with the old style build, and he's on the smaller side compared to show Morgans.
Well, I'm excited to dive in and get started with some of the things I've been reading about -- thanks for this resource!