“Liberty training is designed to bring the horse a sense of freedom and safety without using any tack, halters or ropes.”
Patrick Sullivan, Collinsville, Texas, will be in a return engagement discussing advantages of liberty training horses during EquiFest of Kansas.
“Working with a horse in this way will increase the horse’s desire to interact with the handler,” Sullivan explained. “Liberty training a horse will create a deeper bond and a more dependable performance under saddle.”
Sullivan’s presentations at last year’s EquiFest attracted spectator raves creating their desire “to learn more.” So, he’s returning to the Saline County Livestock Expo Center and Tony’s Pizza Events Center at Salina, March 16-19.
“It’ll be a really fun time,” Sullivan promised. “I’ll have three separate one-hour clinics during EquiFest this year.”
They’ll include a bridle-less riding demonstration, advanced liberty training, and problem solving especially with herd-bound horses.
Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Sullivan was heavily involved playing soccer successfully through college and professional ranks. He became a high school and college soccer coach before “finding horses” in 2015.
“I became intrigued by horses,” he admitted. “I began to pay attention and listen. There are infinite ways to develop a bond, trust, and a strong, safe, relationship with our horse partners.”
Through several top horsemen, Sullivan developed his own personal skills leading to major horse starting-training competition titles.
Likely, Sullivan is best recognized for riding a horse 2,500 miles from California to Kentucky completely bridle-less in 2021.
“During the trip, we stopped at 17 different non-profits, raised $50,000 for them, and helped rehome 15 horses,” Sullivan said. “We are now working on a book dedicated to those who ‘dare to dream.’ It will be all about the trip including documentary footage we captured during our six-month adventure.”
Ample credit is given to his mount who made the ride possible. “There has been no better teacher for this journey than my black Egyptian Arabian mare Gamilah MJA who I call Gami,” Sullivan said. “She has been pushing me beyond my own established comfort zones since the day we began our partnership.
“Nothing seemed to quite get through to her. She still didn’t trust me. She was the reason I dug deeper, looking for other ways I could establish a true connection with her.”
Liberty was that key. “It opened the door for the friendship that we share, and a tool to dig deep within myself,” Sullivan said. “To become intentional with what I believe in my personal values, and who I strive to be for others.
“My love and passion for people and coaching expanded my love and deep respect for natural horsemanship,” the clinician continued.
Through his Modern-Day Horsemanship, Sullivan has a full schedule nationwide presenting clients and demonstrations.
Gamilah Unbridled was started as a non-profit service. “We help provide liberty horsemanship education to underprivileged youth and rescue horses,” Sullivan said. “Each year Gamilah Unbridled takes on a different project to help others and promote the power of liberty.”
Connection between the horse and the handler is the basic principle of liberty, Sullivan insisted. Any age horse can be trained to work at liberty starting out when turned loose in a pen.
“It might take five minutes or even an hour to get that eye-to-eye connection,” he explained. The larger the pen typically the longer period it will require.
The best time” to start working a horse at liberty is when they are a yearling. “However, liberty is a foundation for every level of horsemanship,” Sullivan said. “Even the best trained horses in whatever discipline will benefit from liberty training,”
Different sources have varied definitions of liberty horses. Circus and rodeo acts are advertised as liberty horses or sometimes high school trained horses. They often will bow, lay down, even rear on command.
“That is fun and entertaining, and we can typically train a horse to do those things,” Sullivan said. “However, our liberty training is more about connection between the horse and handler working together.
“I unquestionably believe that horses help us to reach a deeper connection with ourselves,” Sullivan said. “Their connection to others is horses’ gift to this world. Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
Additional information about Sullivan’s program is available at www.moderndayhorsemanship.com.
Schedule for Sullivan’s presentation as well as other details concerning EquiFest can be found at www.equifestofks.com.
Liberty training horses will highlight Patrick Sullivan’s demonstrations at the EquiFest of Kansas in Salina, March 16-19.
Patrick Sullivan rode his black Egyptian Arabian mare Gamilah 2,500 miles from California to Kentucky completely bridle-less in 2021.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” Patrick Sullivan works with horses and people of all ages through his Modern-Day Horsemanship demonstrations.