Okay, question part b...
How does 'natural' horsemanship differ from 'conventional common sense' horsemanship?
The NH title was coined by Parelli for marketing purposes, because it sounds warm and fuzzy. And frankly, it worked, didn't it? Welcome to the USA home of capitolism.
The thing is...when you say, "NH" people automatically figure you're not going to break out the stud chain and start yanking on the horse, whipping the horse or tying his leg up to make him stand still, you're not going to be a rough neck,.....
Working with the horse, not against it, using THEIR psychology, not human psychology. Putting ourselves in their shoes. Understanding his ideas, his fears, his needs, and not making him feel wrong for acting like a prey animal. Never ever putting our goals before our principles. Becoming more horse than man, willing to change ourselves for our horse. Not using gadgets and mechanical devices to achieve results, but working with the horse in a way that develops him mentally and emotionally before physically.
There are so many things NH means, at least to me.
This is the same stuff that Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance.... first started telling people and Parelli and Lyons and all else, took those ideas and ran with them....marketing them to "revamp" horsemanship for the new horse owners who aren't fortunate enough to of grown up with a grandpappy teaching them common sense when handling horses.
It's not training for the horse, it's training for the human. Lots of horse owners nowadays have no idea what to do when their horse runs them over, or bucks them off....they don't know why...they don't know what to do.
So, here comes Parelli, Lyons, Clinton Anderson, etc... with a step by step clear way of handling their problems.
How is that bad?
I train using all of techniques that came from Dorrance and Hunt through Lyons and C.Anderson and all them....it is nothing more than common sense. But I didn't have a grandpappy to teach me the ropes. I didn't grow up around horses, I sure as hell couldn't train one, let alone fix any issues caused by bad handling..... til I started to read and study all the "NH" stuff....that made training into an easy way of understanding the horse.
I always tell people, they don't need anything special to train, and have been able to prove it. Just a full cheek or a dee ring snaffle bit, a web or rope halter (doesn't matter which nor doesn't matter if it's an "official" anyone brand)....doesn't matter what kind of lead rope, or whatever....
I haven't found a horse yet that cares what I use....he cares about how I use it.
Does the Sampson rope or the ropes like it make things easier? You bet. I like the feel of those ropes and I've found websites where I can get the exact same stuff for cut rate prices.
It does peeve me to hear people say that you need special stuff and to spend an incredible amount of money to "get it"....because I know that you don't. You can use whatever you've got from your local tack shop that's on sale.
I've used $8 halters, web halters, regular rope, heavy rope, light Sampson rope....doesn't matter. One has better feel than the other? Sure. But is it necessary? No.
I am glad for the "NH" stuff coming out to the public, because for the past 30 years, it's caused people who would otherwise resort to harsh tactics (beatings, real cruelty) realize that none of that is necessary....that there's a "better" way. A humane way to train and retrain problems...it's training for the human and the horse, mostly for the human. That's what sets it apart from regular horsemanship, too, I think. Instead of blaming the horse, NH suggests to see what you're doing to cause or not cause things to happen.
As Ray Hunt liked to say...the horse is never wrong.
So, what if NH has a label. Everything has a label if you want to sell it to the public. If it was just called common sense regular horsemanship, that would be fine. But it isn't. So, who cares? The label has gotten people to see and think about their horses differently...in a good way. And frankly, I think that's all that matters.