Natural Horsemanship in General... Want to learn :) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Natural Horsemanship in General... Want to learn :)

I really want to learn natural horsemanship and would like some suggestions on where to start? I think it would be a pretty neat thing to learn and would also be very useful. So where should I start? And is a horse at 15 years old too old to start? May be a dumb question haha.
For references, my two main horses are a 15 year old Tennessee walker and a 5 year old BLM mustang. Both are geldings.
I don't know if that has anything to do with it, I just know geldings are usually much easier to handle than mares and some stallions. :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 03:47 PM
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Natural horsemanship is really about mimicking what occurs in the herd situation. A dominant horse will cause a less dominant horse to move out of his way. This horse is turn will move another. -pecking order. There is much info on youtube.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 04:13 PM
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I just got into natural horsemanship too and I found that the most helpful thing to do was to simply look up as much about it as possible, the more different perspectives the better. I found that all the natural horsemanship people have the same basis for their teaching, but different methods, some of which works better for different horses.
15 isn't too old for your horse to start, but it may be harder for him than for your younger horse simply because he's had more conventional training. Then again if he's got an easy to train personality, he may even catch on faster than your 5 yr old.

ps. Mares are easier to train than some geldings. Personality is WAY more important than gender.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 09:21 PM
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Look at all kinds of different methods. Go with what -feels- right. Never stop learning, never stop changing and growing. Look to teachers whose own horses work in ways that you personally admire. For me, I like a horse to have an expression of not having a care in the world and naturally gravitate to people whose horses look like that. Look everywhere to find what you like! It's out here to be had, and it's really, really cool. :) but becoming a searcher is an essential part of the process!
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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If you can, I really recommend attending clinics as this is the best way to 'see' NH in action. I recently had the privilege of seeing Monty Roberts and he is truly amazing. The way he works appears to be magic but it's not, it's horse sense. I think any horse can respond well to natural methods if the handler is open to seeing and reading the cues a horse gives out. We also have to really understand how a horse thinks as it's very different to other animals we are 'familiar with' such as dogs. A horse's main instinct is to run away from danger and what it believes to be danger is very difficult for us to understand at times. Part of NH is working through issues but the main part is building trust between horse and handler using 'language' the horse understands. Once we establish trust we can move onto helping the horse resolve issues. But without trust, there is no real hope of helping a horse overcome anything as fear will be at the top of its mind and its responses will be to run. Start off slowly and build up gently. And use whatever combination of methods works for you and your horse/s. Have fun!
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 11:06 AM
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Natural Horsemanship is a belief that a horse is an animal with a brain of its own and as such deserves respect and kindly treatment from humans.
A trainer/owner/rider picks up the knowledge as they spend time with horses.

As a start I'd say buy any books you can find written by a member of the Dorrance family - especially the old man of the clan - Tom. - who was himself only semi literate but he knew his subject - the horse and the horse rider.
The books are hard reading but if you eventually come to understand what Tom was meaning to say, then you are on your way to understanding the tenets of NH.

Another writer to read is Vladimir Littauer - who at one time coached the US team for the horse Olympics. He was as a young man an officer in the White Russian cavalry who emmigrated to the US and who became a world renowned trainer of both horse and rider. Buy all his books - if you can get them off the internet.

First mission for you might be:
for the horse to come to the paddock gate and whinny at your arrival.
for the horse to doff its head so as to make it easy for you to fit the head collar; then for the horse to follow you at the shoulder on a loose lead line to the tacking up area, there to wait patiently as you start the process of grooming.

It might take you months to achieve, and maybe you can occasionally cheat by giving tidbits, but it is the foundation of your relationship with the animal. It is the start of the bonding process.

Not everyone believes in NH but there again not everyone has the patience, knowledge, time and temperament to achieve a bond with their chosen horse.
NH is all about non verbal communication and mutual trust.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-14-2013, 12:08 PM
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I am doing the Parelli program. It is very helpful and no horse is too old to do it. Pat Parelli has a very good program going.

Love is not a fight but it is something worth fighting for.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-14-2013, 08:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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It's never too old to start! In my experience, the basis of "conventional" and "natural" horsemanship are not that different. They may have some differences in their methods, but the end goal is pretty much the same. All good riders/trainers want to develop a strong foundation and bond with their mount. My advice is not to get caught up in one trainer and take their word as gold. Some *cough cough Parelli cough* are gimmicky and not particularly useful. It's best to take bits from different trainers that work best for you.
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