How do you define 'Natural Horsemanship'? - Page 3

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How do you define 'Natural Horsemanship'?

This is a discussion on How do you define 'Natural Horsemanship'? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    06-30-2009, 08:10 PM
Hmm, I see no gimmick here......Parelli works, you can't deny that. Plain and simple. And Pat is a master horseman. Anyone who wants to debate that, well, I think that person needs to pay a little closer attention to how horses respond to Pat.
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    06-30-2009, 08:36 PM
I can see that people get results that they would think would be desirable, but when you look through that shell, there is a lot more to unravel. I would be more than happy to debate how good the parelli program actually is for a horse in physical ways. I have done plenty of research into the parelli program as well as others, once you know what to look for, the problems scream at you. I personally know several horses owned by a professional horse person that left the parelli program because of what it did to her horses. That only skims the bucket. I know another horse that people think is amazing because of all of the "tricks" that it does because of the Parelli program. That same horse pins its ears and grinds its teeth while being groomed. I could go on and on from here.

I have watched the Parelli programs and to be perfectly honest with you, I either have to laugh or fall asleep. A good horseman needs to be good for the horse in all ways. I know plenty of people that can do amazing things with a horse, and they can ride! Go figure! Parelli puts people and horses through the exercises. They respond to the exercises and that is where there comfort lies, the horse itself never finds true comfort with itself or with the people. The exercises they perform are not necessarily good for the horse itself, the horse just learns to be obedient so they can stop!

If all you want is an obedient horse, then by all means, go with NH trainers, they make obedient horses, I won't deny it. If you want a sound, balanced, athletic horse, look elsewhere.
    06-30-2009, 09:08 PM
Hmm... I think that NH is, to me, as has been said before, using the way a horse thinks to advance and refine his training and correct/redirect undesireable behavior. As far as the line between NH and common sense goes, the line is one word repeated over and over: Advertising. Not sure what I'll do when "they" copyright Common Sense Horsemanship, lol.

Also, as has been said, a lot of today's "Hollywood NH" is fluff and advertizing. My dad compares it to fishing, overpriced junk designed to catch the fisherman, not the fish. Mom quoted the movie Tin Cup and calls some of it "paraphernalia for lost and desperate souls."

I do follow a lot of Clinton Anderson's exercises, they get results for me and seem easy for me to apply and for my horses to understand. I am not, however, a hard-core follower of any specific method. I simply find ideas that make sense to me and my understanding, and experiment. NH as the media has popularized it has a lot to offer, and so does whatever you call what existed before the NH "revolution." It's all about common sense and thinking it through and applying what is best for the horse, both in health and safety, and in training.

And, it all can be done on a budget. I had to make it work on a budget, trust me. Thank you RFDTV, eBay (I love benefiting from other people giving up on fads, lol), Equine Affaire off brand discounts, and improvisiation!

I personally employ some common sense training, and balance the "informal" (for lack of a better word) groundwork and foundation laying with some dressage based riding exercises. I'm hoping that at the end of the day I have a willing horse with the obedience of an NH trained animal, and the correctness and balance, etc. of a more traditionally (again, for lack of a better word) trained horse.
    06-30-2009, 10:36 PM
Perhaps you would be interested to hear what Karen Rohlf has to say about Parelli. Or to read her book. Karen, who is VERY well decorated in dressage, is a Level 3 graduate and incorporates Parelli into her dressage training. She takes the horse through the program before she ever starts any real dressage training. As she puts it, from what I can remember from her book, "I call what I do Dressage, Naturally, because I'm trying to fill in the gap where NH ends and dressage begins. NH teaches you a lot about the mental and emotional aspects of the horse, and some, but not as much, physical aspects. Dressage can teach you a lot about the physical aspects of the horse, but not as much about the mental and emotional aspects. If we combine these two things, then we have it all.....we have Dressage, done Naturally."
    06-30-2009, 11:21 PM
I must admit I have never before heard of her, so, I went ahead and checked her out. Thank you so much for proving my point!

At least she does encourage the horse to release through the topline, but many of those horses, when asked to collect, are still bracing through the bottom of the neck and have very poor flexion through the hind legs and limited flexibility through the shoulders. Very heavy on the forehand in most of the shots I saw.

Dressage as a whole as been contorted and manipulated so much that there is a lot of discussion on what actually is right for a horse. I see a lot of grand prix level dressage horses that are still disengaged and weak through their toplines.

Now I will admit that I could not perform many of those things on my own horses, but whatever I will do on my horses will be done in or working towards an ideal posture.

From what I saw of her clinics, it was suggested that they already be a level 2 student. For many horses, a lot of damage has been done by this point. There is a way, "naturally" of course, to form a relationship with your horse without jeopardizing their physical well being.

Kudos to her and yourself for acknowledging the lack of physcial training in that program and working to put it in. However, perhaps you would be interested in learning a little more about the biomechanics of the horse. Good night, I'm tired.
    06-30-2009, 11:28 PM
Green Broke
Horses do respond to Pat. Horses don't seem to follow his minions very well at all.
    06-30-2009, 11:42 PM
Horses do respond to Pat. Horses don't seem to follow his minions very well at all.


I agree with others who say that NH is just common sense. I never really knew about Parelli until a couple of years ago, but guess what? My horses alreadyhad all the skills, without the 'games' and without any type of vegetable stick, and without any DVD's. Isn't it funny that such a 'revolutionary' system could have been stumbled upon by a 16yo girl?

The more I learn about Parelli through these boards and talking to other horse people, the more I find it echoes what I do with my horses but doesn't define it. It is not something that has to be done in isolation, as many preach. It is also something that can, and has, resulted in many bad situations for both horses and owners, although more commonly horses.

I don't dispute that Parelli may well be a fantastic horseman and have a great relationship with horses... But that isn't really the point anymore, is it? They have sold the idea that anyone can be and do what he does, which in most cases is not inly untrue, but dangerous.
    07-01-2009, 12:05 AM
Actually, I did not prove your point. Karen acknowledges that the program does in fact teach people about the physical aspects of the horse....just not as much. I'm studying Karen's way of teaching, working with her exercises with my warmblood, so I DO know about healthy, proper biomechanics in the horse ;) In fact, in my equine massage work, I SUGGEST people work on Karen's exercise called "finding the sweet spot." My warmblood came to me with some dressage training, but was he supple, relaxed, way. He was bracy, in his body and mind, lazy, had a bad attitude and hated being ridden. Now, thanks to Parelli, all those issues are gone. Working with an excellent chiropractor, getting his feet trimmed and balanced right, getting his teeth floated right, doing Parelli, and doing a couple of Karen's exercises, have turned him into a wonderful, beautiful moving horse who is a pleasure to ride. Personally, I have not seen with my horses, or any of the horses I've worked with in the past, respond badly, in any area including physically, do the Parelli program. And I do know what to look for, I've been trained (equine massage work).
    07-01-2009, 12:07 AM
Originally Posted by Solon    
Horses do respond to Pat. Horses don't seem to follow his minions very well at all.
Hmm, so if I'm one of his "minions" my warmblood should, according to you, be aggressive, vicious, unpredictable, still. Well, I can assure you that is not the case, so apparently he's responding to me quite nicely.
    07-01-2009, 12:15 AM
Green Broke
I don't know you from a corn flake so I don't know if you are one of his minions or not. All I know is what I see in person here and quite frankly none of us see these Parelli people creating a good foundation on their horses. They stand in the arena with their stupid equipment and NOTE CARDS trying to figure out the next step is.

People need to throw away that crap and be there with the horse and listen to the horse. These types of people ruin horses.

There are exceptions to every rule. Statistically speaking, there have to be some that end up with the knowledge that Pat has, beyond that it's complete chaos.

That's been proven here. The number of people that frown on Parelli and his methods. Sure he works a horse just fine. But that isn't translating down to the majority of the people. Ask any number of trainers out there retraining Parelli horses. There are a lot.

But hey as long as he's making money off these people, no harm right?

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