Originally Posted by smrobs
^^ Agreed Spastic, good horsemanship is good horsemanship whether it is labelled "natural" or "classical" or "traditional". Each is just slightly different in the methods used to work with the horse in order to help him (and you) reach full potential.
It all really depends on the experience and understanding of the handler. I have seen traditional "cowboys" who were wonderful horsemen and I have seen devout NH'ers who couldn't tell the horse's head from his tail. Of course, I have also seen the other end of the spectrum with horribly stupid and cruel cowboys and gentle, understanding, knowledgeable NH'ers.
Very well put, smrobs and Spastic!
It's how the aids are used, not that the aids are there. The only reason I say aids is that, as Nittany and Spirithorse said, the natural aids (weight, seat, legs, hands, voice) have the capacity to be just as abusive as a double bridle and a whip. A tool is a tool. It's the mentality, understanding, and intent of the user that determine whether the tool abuses, confuses, or helps. Double bridles are there for communication, not control. Like having DSL instead of dial-up Internet.
That being said, I have great respect for anyone who can get the training results that they seek, whether they want to perform a beautiful GP half-pass in tack, or do a tackless reining pattern.
And, that tackless half-pass was