Just sitting with the horse

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Just sitting with the horse

This is a discussion on Just sitting with the horse within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    06-24-2013, 02:40 PM
Just sitting with the horse

One of my friends is letting me lease his horse while he's out of the state for awhile. The horse has trust issues and doesn't allow just anyone on his back. I had successfully trained my abused OTTB and turned him into a sound, cheerful horse from his previous high-strung, untrusting disposition.

I started off by just sitting with the horse for several days a week, in the corral and allowing him to get used to my presence and my voice. From there, I'd take him on walks on a lead rope and then we began ground work and went from there.

I'm planning to do this with this Quarterhorse, as well. Has anyone else done this? I'm worried that people at the ranch will think I'm weird for sitting in a horse corral, just reading and chatting with the horse (I'm a 27 year old adult, haha), but I really prefer to allow the horse to get to know me for awhile.
What do y'all think?
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    06-24-2013, 02:55 PM
Sounds like a good idea.

Who cares what the other people think? They might think you're weird but theyll change their tune when they see why you was doing that-- my favorite part!

I would go out and brush my horse and talk to her while she was in her pasture- I noticed she stops eating and hangs her head low and sleeps when I brush or pet her-- she seems more relaxed when im around her and she likes to be groomed pet and talked to, too.. I think it does good for both our and their souls.
    06-24-2013, 03:08 PM
Thank you so much, Toto! I think sometimes people forget that horses need that companionship as much as humans do. The horse spends his days alone in a corral and only gets turned out once a day for 10 minutes, if that. There's nothing more relaxing and comforting than being near a horse and just enjoying his or her company!
"Natural Horsemanship" is a curse word at this particular ranch, but since I'm paying to lease the horse, they can stuff it! Haha!
    06-24-2013, 04:00 PM
Super Moderator
You are paying the lease so you can spend your time any way you see fit -- period. But, please do not tell me that this is part of 'Natural Horsemanship'. This horse is not fooled into thinking you are a horse and there is nothing 'Natural' about anything we do with horses.

A horse that 'does not allow just anyone on his back' has much more than 'trust issues'; He is just plain poorly trained. There are many ways to overcome improper or non-existent training. It does not take weeks and months -- just good, sound training techniques.

Buzz words, like Natural Horsemanship don't mean anything. It is like paying more for produce that says it was grown naturally with pure spring water. You can test it for everything known to man and all you are getting for your money is 'less produce for the same dollar'.

When you take weeks and months to accomplish what a good trainer can get done in a few days with no abuse and no unreasonable amount of pressure, all you have done is taken more time; you don't get a better horse, a safer horse or a more trusting horse; you only took a lot more time to get it there -- if indeed, it is as well trained -- which most are not.

I find that many people that are so proud of their 'naturally trained' wonder horses, really have very poorly trained horses. If they were to hand the lead-rope to a stranger and tell them that they could take the horse and go ride it, it would probably come with a long list of what the handler/rider had to do to get along with the horse. This means that most of that extra time spent did not produce a better trained horse but only produced a better trained rider that knows what the horse allowed and did not cross certain boundaries that would have upset the horse.

If you find that many professionals have a negative opinion of 'Natural Horsemanship' it is because we have seen very few people bragging about how they used 'natural Horsemanship' to train their horse and they actually have a well-trained, well-mannered obedient and useful horse. We usually see either sour, mad horses that do as little as possible for their riders or we see poorly trained horses that have trained their riders instead of the other way around. Good trainers just go along and get the job done and have obedient, well-mannered, well-trained horses that anyone can get along with and ride.
    06-24-2013, 04:16 PM
Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I'll do what has worked for me and whatever seems to work for the horse. If you so badly disagree with "natural horsemanship," you shouldn't be in this thread, with all due respect.
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    06-24-2013, 04:17 PM
Super Moderator
If you want to sit with the horse then you go for it but I don't see that the horse will view you as anything more than a human sitting in his corral, he's been around humans so you will be just another of the species
The best way to deal with a horse with trust issues is to handle it as much as possible, make it rely on you for everything, once it sees you as the person it needs it will begin to trust you.
I'm not so sure about the one rider thing being a training issue though - our mare Honey has always been my sons ride but also gets ridden by me and occasionally by my husband, she has no trust issues at all, loves the vet, farrier, stands for anything and she's really well trained and responsive to ride but we had a young woman come here a few years ago who was going to help exercise her when my son went to college, she was well recommended to us and rode our other mare Willow OK but Honey was no way going to have any of her, she just stood still and refused to budge, not even a whip would move her and this is a horse that takes the slightest touch of the leg to get her to move - in fact you could almost 'think' the cues.
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    06-24-2013, 04:21 PM
Mainly I just want to chill in the corral because it's relaxing and quiet,.haha. But one thing I refuse to do with this horse is use spurs. I want him to learn to respond to light leg cues, not spurs.
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    06-24-2013, 04:34 PM
Super Moderator
With all due respect -- I DO use 'Natural Horsemanship' in the same vain as Ray hunt and the Dorrance Brothers. It is the people that have tried to turn it into kiss and love and petting and talking is Natural Horsemanship that have tried to turn it into something that it is not. Have you ever seen the lead horse in a herd love and pet and talk to a lower horse until it gets its nose out of the lead horse's feed tub?

Natural Horsemanship to me means that you use 'pressure and release' to teach and that you do not try to force or teach a horse anything he is not ready and able to learn and do. Then, when you ask him to do something, you do not accept anything less than full compliance.

Because something takes 10X longer to get across to a horse it does not get across any better or produce any better horse. It just takes 10X longer. It does NOT make it more 'natural' and it does not make effective training any less natural.

Ray Hunt, one of the finest horsemen ever born, used to rope, catch and ride a horse in one day and never use any force. He and the Dorrance brothers that taught him are considered the 'fathers' of Natural Horsemanship, so I guess I'll go by their definition and not someone that thinks sitting in a pen for days or weeks is actually training a horse.

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, but do not tell me I do not use 'natural' methods because they are as natural as they get.
    06-24-2013, 04:38 PM
Then quite simply, you use a different form of Natural Horsemanship. I would say that maybe one trainer's tactics will differ from another's.
I concur that pressure and release is one great aspect and one I intend to use. But I'll also be modeling my actions after Mr. Brannaman.
    06-24-2013, 04:54 PM
I do agree with cherie-- there is nothing 'natural' about keeping a horse or riding one.

I agree with vacowgirl too!

I don't think the horse thinks im another horse when I hang out with them- they do become more relaxed the more you're around them because theyre more used to you-- I do think how you present yourself (body language) has a lot to do with a horses reaction to you too.. that's 'Natural horsemanship'.

If you're calm its calming- if you're worked up they will be too.

'natural horsemanship' for me is being able to work out a horses thoughts not just body-- they get a brain work out and body work out and that's what a horse needs-- my opinion.
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