General info about NH? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Red face General info about NH?

I'd like to know some constructive opinions about natural horsemanship please :) I do not know much about it at the moment but I'd love to learn!

Favorite trainers?
Favorite methods?
General concepts, ideas, and theories?
Fun exercises?
Youtube videos!

I've been really interested in it, but I don't want to dive into any one trainer's methods without a clue, and goodness knows I don't have the money to study multiples from DVDs and such!

Please and thank you!
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 12:44 AM
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I believe that what we now generally term 'natural horsemanship' began with the ideas of Tom and Bill Dorrance and Ray Hunt, who was the first one to travel around teaching it in clinics. Later came the currently-popular clinicians such as Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, Buck Brannaman, and others. Some trace their 'lineage' directly back to Tom Dorrance, others such as Clinton A. came from different backgrounds but all of these guys are generally under the umbrella of what we call 'natural horsemanship'.

The foundation of the entire idea is to train/work with/relate to horses in a way which works with the psychology of the animal and imitates certain aspects of their social structure and hierarchy, for example imitating the behaviors of 'lead' horses within a natural herd environment. My personal opinion is that there are good ideas within the various methods and that the clinicians themselves tend to be good horsemen. However, it is worth noting that much of what's put out for the public to consume is a lot of showmanship and salesmanship. The guys who are good at training horses make it look easy, and either omit or gloss over the lifetime of work and commitment it requires to actually learn to work with horses. Which makes sense, as the idea of slow, steady progress over a lifetime doesn't SELL very well.

As for which trainer to follow, I tend to think that if a person wants to choose just one then it should be the one whom they personally resonate with. Most of these guys are saying pretty much the same thing anyway, just in different ways. Myself, I study everyone. rents DVDs by anyone you could think of and I avail myself of their services often. :P

I believe that if a person really wants to become a horseman (which I understand to be a lifetime commitment) then it's important to broaden ones horizons by continually studying, experimenting, making mistakes, learning, forgetting, remembering, going to bed thinking about it and getting up in the morning doing the same, and (hopefully) eventually reaching the point where it just comes naturally. I think it's interesting that after thousands of years of domestication we still haven't come to a universal agreement on the best way to relate to these animals. To me that just says that horsemanship is an art and as such subject to individual interpretation. That's kinda the cool thing about it, to me.

In conclusion, I think that NH is a pretty good idea but that it pays to think critically and remember that the guys who are selling DVDs/tack/methods may be horsemen but they're also salesmen. Nothing wrong with that, but it's something to consider.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 01:05 AM
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Each and every person will have their own ideas about what works and what doesn't. The most important thing you can do is to remember that not one trainer will have the best way or the only way to do something. Regardless of how much better they claim their stuff is than the next guy, no rope halter in the world is worth $80 bucks. No one method is going to get your horse to "love" you.

If you want to learn from the NH masters that are truly great, then you need to go back a few years to Ray Hunt and Tom and Bill Dorrance.

As far as the more modern NH clinicians go, my first choice would be Buck Brannaman followed by Clinton Anderson and then Dennis Reis and Craig Cameron. They are the ones that I've actually seen accomplish something with a horse that I would consider impressive and they seem to have the most straightforward and least deluded ideas out of the popular NH trainers.

Lots of people get all woozy over Pat Parelli, but his program strikes me as more of a circus act than actual horsemanship, plus, you have to spend like $15,000 just to get your horse to jump over a colored barrel and mug you for treats. And there is another guy that had a show on RFD-TV at one time that was a complete and utter idiot. His name was.......Ryan Gingrich. Oh, and a guy named Rick Gore that has about a thousand youboob videos...avoid him like the plague.

What you'll need to do is just watch a bunch of stuff from other trainers as well; John Lyons, Chrix Cox, even Ken McNabb has some decent advice to offer. Absorb what you can from all of them. Remember what you think sounds like good advice and remember what you think sounds like silly advice. The parts you think sound good, give them a shot. Sometimes they work, other times they don't because they work on some horses and not on others. Absorb it all because there may come a day when you run into a horse that a certain method does work on.

Get hands-on help every time you can, attend clinics when you can, and don't get too overcome by anyone in particular. I may love the methods of a certain trainer, but I can still say "Well, that's not the way I would do that" or "I know that method wouldn't work for my horse" or "Hey, that's cool, I know an easier way to get the same result". Always question whether the method seems right or not, always be willing to listen to and try other methods.

And remember, respect is the most important emotion that your horse can feel for you. Love, trust, and loyalty all stem from respect and you can have none of them without it.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Couldn't have asked for a much more thoughtful response. :) Thank you. I've never heard of but it sounds like something I will be investigating!
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Also to smrobs, thank you :)
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Goodbye13lueSky View Post
Couldn't have asked for a much more thoughtful response. :) Thank you. I've never heard of but it sounds like something I will be investigating!
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My pleasure. I'm glad that I make sense to someone
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-06-2012, 07:00 PM
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I have to agree with Ian M. NH is about using the horse's natural instincts and social structure to communicate with your horse. I also agree that you should not go off of other people's recommendations as to which trainer to follow. Do your own research and find out who speaks to you. I studied a wide variety of trainers through RFD TV before starting the Parelli program 8 years ago, I still read books and watch videos of other trainers and apply what fits with MY OWN program. When it comes down to it none of these trainers are the one who rides YOUR horse on a daily basis. As horsemen we are the ones who have to make a training method work or not, and decide what it is we want to do with our horses.

When I started, I watched RFD because it was free, and couldn't afford to be part of any "club" so I purchased all of my videos on ebay where you can get things at a pretty decent discount, and I still shop ebay when I'm looking for a deal, regardless of which clinician I am looking for.

I have gotten wonderful results with all of my horses from PNH, and don't see where it is any more expensive than any other clinician's program, but also realise its not for everyone.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-25-2012, 03:09 AM
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I too have to thank you all for this thread- exactly what I was looking for with plenty of ideas to go away with & do my research

so thanking you all muchly!

Don't tell me that the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-25-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Fargosgirl View Post
I also agree that you should not go off of other people's recommendations as to which trainer to follow.
Amen. Don't avoid anyone 'like the plague' just because someone tells you so. I think Rick Gore is very good and honest. However, watch out for the people who think there way is the only way though. You need an open mind with horsemanship and not necessarily believe everything you read or hear or think you see.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-25-2012, 06:12 PM
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I agree! Rick Gore is a wonderful horseman to learn from. i have taken the philosophy that I can learn as much ,if not more from a bad horseman as a good one. Of course you learn what not to do. Listen to this guy and you will get hurt. I know I absoutely love when a horse almost knocks me off my feet because he doesn't respect my space. The first 30 seconds of this video is the begining of a VEEERY bad habit that will get you hurt.

Just a friendly piece of advice. Take it for what its worth. learn what you can from as many REPUTABLE trainers and clinicians as you can but learn to wade through the BS as well.

The list of NH people I like are
1 Buck Brannaman
2 Clinton Anderson
3 Chris Cox
4 Bryan Neubert
5 Richard caldwell.

Although Buck and Richard Caldwell gravitate alittle more toward the vaquero style of riding. In my opinion , good horssemanship is good horsemanship no matter what name you put to it.
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