April 2019 - David Lichman Clinic Report
Written by by Suzy McMinn
Sunday, 31 March 2019 20:45
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Liberty Horses, Tennessee Walkers, and Laughter.

by Suzy McMinn

The multi-talented David Lichman presented “Liberty Performance to Music” at the Christiane Noelting Dressage Center in Vacaville on March 10. This free performance showed Lichman’s young liberty team in their third public appearance. It was a day of beauty, horsemanship, and many moments of laughter.

Lichman turned his three horses loose in the covered arena. Kinks and energy were worked out as these liberty horses caroused and investigated. The mirror at the end of the arena was magical to 4-year-old Roux, a uniquely colored gelding with the Iberian delusion gene. Roux, to the eye, looks like a liver chestnut with gold glistening through his coat, mane, and tail. This boy thought the mirror had another horse behind it and he wanted to meet it.

Paulo, a dark bay 6 year old Lusitano, Leon, a 3 year old black Tennessee Walker, and Roux turned the arena over to Patches, a Welsh/Shetland Pinto aged between 16 and 18, and his Australian handler, Tammy Wiehl.

Patches performed at liberty and really put his heart into his Spanish walk, his levade and his jumping. He is so talented and darn cute.

Lichman brought his three liberty horses back in the arena and the audience could tell how eager they were to perform. There was music for the horses to dance to, Lichman’s soft commands, and the enchanting high-school performance of these well-trained talented horses. Three horses spinning, waving, bowing, jumping as a threesome, working together as Lichman directed them.

The silliness began when Roux and Leon left the arena and the dark mini-horse, Pepino, joined Paulo to perform amazing feats, just the two of them and Lichman. Pepino knew his cues and did his act with Paulo but Pepino added his own input to the demonstration. The two horses bowed, did the Spanish walk in unison, reared and stood there, then jumped the obstacles. However, big, tall Paulo jumped the little jump and Pepino jumped the large jump and both horses looked so pleased with themselves.

David Lichman’s first ride.

Pepino walked under Paulo, through his legs, just as Lichman trained him. Pepino trotted away from Paulo and Lichman, nose to the ground, checking to see if anyone had dropped horse treats anywhere. Lichman asked the Mini to proceed with the performance and Pepino did what he was supposed to do, and then went away looking for treats again. He did this several times and the audience giggled and laughed at his antics. The laughter seemed to spur the Mini on.

In an email interview with David, he shared some of his background. “I’m not exactly sure when I first rode. I’m sure I did some pony rides before the age of 6, for sure by the time I was 11. I knew I was meant for horses from the first time I saw Silver, the Lone Ranger’s horse on TV,” he explained.

“I remember writing a career paper in junior high school on horse breeding” – it raised a few eyebrows in 1962.

Lichman didn’t get his first horse until 1983. He tried training horses for a year in 1992 but it wasn’t until he started teaching the next year that it all made sense to Lichman what he wanted to pursue.

Photo: Coco

“I had visited with John Lyons and Pat Parelli both in the early 90s, thinking that I’d like to become certified with one of them. Pat’s instructor program at that time was just beginning to take shape and with Linda’s help it quickly became structured and was an obvious choice for me,” said Lichman. I was 44 and I had one Tennessee Walker mare and one Lipizzan mare.

“I found out about gaited horses by accident. When I finally was able to get my first horse, I looked at an Arabian gelding that had the smoothest jog you could imagine.

Sadly, he didn’t pass the vet exam. I remembered that there were smooth-trotting horses like that, from my rental string riding days when I was young. But every horse I tried after that was super rough. Someone suggested that if I was looking for smooth, I should try a Tennessee Walking Horse and the rest is history. Turns out I made a niche for myself. At the time I knew more about gaited horses than any other natural horsemen, and I also knew more about natural horsemanship than any gaited trainers.”

Photo: Coco

Of the “why” behind his work, Lichman explained: “My mission is to help you realize your dream of having a great relationship with your horse, no matter what activities or disciplines you participate in together. Your dream horse is waiting for you inside the horse you already own.”

For more information on David’s Lichman’s methods, visit www.davidlichman.com or call him at 916-205-1092.

Author Suzy McMinn studied Horse Science and Journalism at Oregon State University. A former newspaper editor for the Placerville Reporter and now freelance writer, columnist, proofreader and photographer, she is also a trainer of riders and horses for 36 years. Suzy is considered an ‘equine expert’ due to her many years of horse related studies and a professional expert in the world of horses and riders.