Working the horse in freedom

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We believe that some of the best and finest horsemen that we met in our life were some artists working their horses in freedom. We think that among many of them, Magali Delgado and Frederick Pignon show really a special ability to connect mentally a physically with their horses as well as Lorenzo whose last show was so touching that I found myself (Cristina) in tears.

To understand a bit this charming discipline or perhaps I should call it "art" I strongly recommend the book Gallop to Freedom - Training horses with the founding stars of Cavalia - by Magalì Delgado and Frederick Pignon and I would like to propose you a short extract by this fantastic book.

Each Horse Has His Favourite Game

"I like to reward a horse who has done good work by allowing him to play his favorite game. I soon learn which games each horse prefers and it is not difficult to enter into the fun of it. For instance, I might run away from him as fast as I can, knowing that we will enjoy the chase. What is more, I often interleave games with hard work on an exercise like the reverence, the bowing movement that is arduous and requires a lot of effort to do. As I mentioned before, Aetes, one of my oldest horses, likes to get up on his box (the wooden cube) on the stage and do a jambette for the fun of it. He will even come up to me and gently nibble my chin. I allow him to do this and when he does it during a show the public thinks that it is a result of long training. Not a bit of it! Aetes thought of the idea himself, and by permitting him this pleasure, I help to reduce the stress of the performance... My horses often show me great affection but this is only because I have own their respect and confidence over a long period. I do not allow them to overstep the mark. My responsability is to make each horse as relaxed and free from stress as possible and I have never to forget for one moment that each one is an individual and has his own likes and dislikes."

fm Gallop to Freedom by Magalì Delgado and Frédéric Pignon
Staff Il Paretaio 2015-11-23