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Main differences

This is a discussion on Main differences within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        12-13-2008, 07:16 AM
    I have nothing constructive to say as it has already been said I just want to offer everyone a big choc chip cookie for keeping this thread so pleasant to read :)

    Keep it up guys ;)
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        12-13-2008, 07:22 AM
    I guess I am a little confused. Does "classical" training only apply to dressage or to every discipline? When I think "classical" or "traditional", I picture the old cowboys putting a blind on the horse, cinching the saddle down, and climbing aboard for a wild ride. But then again, I am not intimately familiar with anything other than western. Thanks in advance for the explaination.
        12-13-2008, 07:38 AM
    Like you Smrobs, I am not too familiar with the more dressage world. But as for "traditional", I think it would fall more in that area. "Classical" on the other hand... Not a clue!
        12-13-2008, 07:51 AM
    Classical - traditional to me are essentially the same thing. In my eyes anyways. Someone else may have a different spin on it
        12-13-2008, 08:02 PM
    Oh, no. I was just saying that I don't need a trainer to let me know I shouldnt use a long shanked bit on a three year old =P -- We are pretty much on the same side lol
        12-13-2008, 09:30 PM
    Originally Posted by Midwest Paint    
    Some things I have noticed in seeing a difference in "traditional methods" with the "natural horsemanship" methods, are approaches I guess you would say. Now terming is generic so don't hold me to it, LOL. I think it has been covered better already on that one, but as for what things I see differently, are that with the "classic or traditional" methods, they are more mechanical and involve less using the horses natural tendancies. When I first started out working with horses, there were more mechanical tools being used to get the horse to submit to the demands placed. Items I see not being used in NH, are mechanical hacks, twitches, loud bits, and even some of the more corrective hobbles. It also used to be that when it came to saddle work on a fresh horse, the saddle was put on and you go for a ride until they stopped with the bucking and rearing. The NH approach places more emphasis on working with the horse on the ground prior to "just getting on".

    I appreciate this as not only is the horse more interested in learning and undergoing training, but as you get a little older your body can't take as much punishment as it did in your earlier years, LOL! Not to mention the horse fairs better and longer.
    Both yes and no in my eyes..

    Yes, I'm not afraid of using a curb bit to tell the horse what I want.
    But no, I'm not skipping his natural behaviour.
    Like.. I ride ''Art of riding'' or whatever to call it, classical maybe. Think of the spanish ridingschool and you're near.
    In a way it's very much mechanical means (I don't use side reins like they tho). But what struck me when I started was; I didn't have to teach the horse anything! He was unstarted under saddle, yet my instructor got up and made shoulder in and shoulder outs, lenghtening the strides and etc, without her hands or legs but just the weight and seat. And he reacted like he knew it already even tho he couldn't possbly been through it before. That's what I call working naturally.
    The only thing he had to learn was to follow the bit, and that came afterwards. He also had to learn to accept the legs touching his sides, because that was a little scary :P But that's besides the point.

    I feel that NH people want to use as little tack as possible, and sure that's fine especially seeing how many people are abusing their tack. But when tack can help without doing harm, why not use it?
    I also see how NH has become a name for methods.. and these methods are supposed to teach common sense to people. But it doesn't work that way.. when you start to work after a method rather than your head, where is the freedom to use common sense? No methos works for all horses without adjustment.

    Anyways, as I see it that's the differense: The normal horse world use tack, and parts of it does skip a lot of the natural behaviour and instead finds it necessary to teach the horse everything instead of using the way the horse already knows. The NH world refuses tack (except special made, ''natural'' tack that cost a lot of money, in differense to the un-natural tack that doesn't cost quite as much but still is expencive) and tries to teach common sense through methods.

    As you might see I' not fond of NH, I think the trainers do a good job, normally, but I've seen too many times when people try to mimic it and doesn't really understand it. On the other hand, mechanical devices are also used wrongly in many cases. The differense between NH and other ways of riding is very clear but hard to describe.. and also depends on how you do the ''other'' ways. There is so mch more than NH and Traditional.. traditional what? Is traditional sacking the horse out whn it's tied dwn, or is it simply starting the horse lke f.x dressage people or jumpers do nowadays; with tack, half fast with some time for the horse to adjust but still a lot of domination.. or what is traditional or classical really? :)
        12-13-2008, 10:33 PM
    I don't necessarily believe in Natural Horsemanship to the degree it is advertised. I have a remarkable bond with my gelding that has built up over time. I don't think games and the like could strengthen it. I understand him to the fullest, and he understands me. I've used all kinds of equipment NH trainers would frown upon. (curb bits, double bridles, martingales, draw reins, etc.) Yet I can ride him bareback and in a halter at a full gallop, if I slip one way or another he'll naturally slow down to let me fix my position.. I've never fallen off of him bareback, and I've done full out gallops up hills (the hay field at my farm is on a huge hill, and the road is next to it, we wait at the bottom of a hill.. sometimes for a half hour-45 minutes for a car to come and race the car up.. as soon as he hears the car he starts, sometimes before I even realize the car is coming).. I jump him, sometimes a little higher than usual bareback, we gallop through the trails.. We've wound down a lot because he's getting older and I'm training my filly now... but back in our hay day.. :)

    I think its all the same, you can communicate with horses one the same level and achieve the same bonds with horses if you take the time to understand your horse... You don't have to play games or participate in the other techniques in order to achieve the same thing. You can use different types of tack. Obviously if my horse doesn't like a certain bit or piece of equipment, I can tell.. and I don't force it on them. I wanted to introduce a tomb thumb curb to my filly, and she HATED it. I haven't used it since. She has a very light mouth, and even though it's the gentlest curb, she would rear and throw fits in the long-lines with it.. so we switched to a happy mouth mullen mouth curb, and she likes that much better. I've used checks and running martingales on my filly.. She would get a little snippy and try to buck and rear under saddle. I no longer have that problem, the martingale and check helped me keep her head in a position where she couldn't buck or rear easily. Although, if she really wanted to, she could still buck me off.. but she learned it was an inappropriate behavior and it ended.

    A lot of times, NH takes a long time for noticeable changes (especially with horses with vices) to be seen. Using equipment is criticized as taking short cuts, but I don't see it that way. I think it can be a clearer path of communication. Sometimes people try to communicate with horses the same as horses communicate with each other. But we will never truly understand those lines of communication. The best way we can communicate with them is to understand them and let them understand us. Using equipment, IMO, should show them what you want and help them build muscle in different ways to achieve goals.

    Now that Scarlet understands bucking and rearing is not acceptable, I can ride without a check or martingale. She keeps her head in virtually the same spot. I never forced her head in an unnatural position, I never used the equipment to tightly or abused it. She has a light mouth, and I rode her with a light hand and a minimum contact rein. The martingale gave me downward leverage for rearing, and the check gave upward leverage for bucking. If she tried to get her head too low (she had several inches of room either way) as if to buck, she would feel increasing pressure from the check, and vice versa.

    Overall, I see nothing wrong with the humane use of equipment.. I have nothing against NH, but its not something I follow. I do what comes natural, I understand my horses, and I bond with them. In a way I participate in NH, but all forms of training should have some NH concepts incorporated. I just NH coined what people do, should do, or have been doing for years with horses, and made money off of it.

    I think the purest way to bond with a horse is to groom it, let it loose in a field or arena and watch what it does naturally. Spend time with them in their stalls and fields. Sometimes when I want to be alone I just sit in Smokey's stall and watch him eat hay. When we went to New England (a huge A-rated show), they left the lights on in the tents. You could tell he wasn't getting much sleep. (Some of the trainers are crackpots and ride their horses at all hours of the night!) I came to get him ready for one of our classes during the day, and I saw that he finally fell asleep and was laying down. I went in and he didn't even wake up (he usually does, you know how light horses sleep), I sat down by his head and took it in my lap, and just let him sleep while I petted (is that a word? Lol) him. It was one of my favorite and rare experiences. My horse always gets up as soon as he hears me, I don't get to watch him sleep a lot. My trainer came by the stall and was calling my name, I was like "I'm in here!" and she looked in and I don't think she expected to see me holding him while he slept.

    If that's not a natural experience, IDK what is. I wonder how many serious NH followers have had similar experiences to me..

    I think you should do what you feel comfortable with and natural. I have done some of the Monty Roberts stuff with my gelding, like pushing him away until he comes up to you. But horses are naturally curious, at least my gelding is and I think he would have came up to me anyway. I like Monty Roberts stuff.. but no one else has made me drop my jaw at their "revelations".
        12-14-2008, 12:49 AM
    I would have to agree with you on that as well. Though I am not a fan of mechanical means, I think common sense and insight into using tack or items that most of NH Showman do not, can be helpful. Now granted I still avoid mechanical tack by all means possible. I too feel that in the non-NH worlds that these items are heavily depended on, and when a more observant look into what the root of the problem is would prevent one from going to that next level.

    In the mechanical tack area, I do my best to work with the least possible and go from there. Most often that is all that is needed. But on a few occassions I will have a "trouble or problematic" horse come in that has already been conditioned inappropriately and wont respond or respond negatively to the minimal pressure applied. My 10yr broodmare project is one key example. After saddle breaking her, things had always been a fight and she would not respond to the training snaffle I was using. Behaviors such as constant chewing the bit, pulling hard against the bit to cause her cherries at the crook of the lips, and throwing her face against lead pressure encouraged me to go to a quiet reigning bit. There was minimal changes in the design, but just barely enough that it changed her responce immediately and many of the habits stopped.

    Now I too like the basic principles of NH. But I am not one to use one specific "trainers" principles and only that. I like to learn as much as I can from as many as I can, well known and not well known or populised trainers to refine my own. I in no way have any problems with anyone who finds one specific trainers methods the type they like and works for. If it does them well, then more power to them! I happen to see a lot of the basic key concepts played over and over in the vairety of NH Showman out there, from Cox, Parelli, Anderson to Roberts and many others. Its just that each have a different view and approach differently when it comes to specifics. That's good in that it can give those others that are interested in NH a variety to chose from. Their equipment.. on the other hand.. Well, I guess they got to make money! LOL!
        12-14-2008, 08:52 AM
    Originally Posted by Midwest Paint    
    Now granted I still avoid mechanical tack by all means possible. I too feel that in the non-NH worlds that these items are heavily depended on, and when a more observant look into what the root of the problem is would prevent one from going to that next level.
    Part of the non-NH world :P Except from that I agree with you :)
        12-15-2008, 05:19 PM
    Okay, I know nothing about 'natural horsemanship'. I don't really know anything about any particular training method and have no on-the-ground experience with them. However, from loads of reading and seeing others discuss this sort of thing, I would hazard a guess at defining a distinction.

    It's important for a rider to be able to communicate with and understand their horse, and use techniques for this that avoid cruelty and get the point across clearly. For many riders, this is 'common sense'.

    However, many of these 'natural horsemanship' trainers and instructors offer a programme that guides you through these techniques and offers suggested schedules and training routines. It is an aid to learning about these technniques.

    Now, these programmes can vary in their quality: they may teach you the steps but not the essential reasoning behind them, they may have a huge commercial venture attached, they may be marketed with gimmicks or as applying to every horse when they do not.

    In some cases, these programmes can be seen by their aficiandos as all-encompassing methods for training their horses. Others, however, see them as a non-exclusive aid. Or, indeed, as rubbishy gimmicks that do not actually help a rider or horse.

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