I agree with others that have said natural horsemanship is about using the horses own language, you act like the alpha mare to gain the horses respect and trust. I like the methods but do not subscribe to any particular trainer, I prefer to read and watch many trainers and take what I can from each, and that goes for all trainers, not just NH ones. I think the ideas behind NH are very valid but marketing has taken over. NH is not a miracle cure, and it is not exclusive. I use a mixture of NH and other techniques when training my horse. I personally dislike when people think NH and dressage can't mix, it does for me!!
As for the over priced gear, that happens in all realms of the horse world, I certainly wouldn't pay $4500 for an Anky Salinero saddle but many would!!
Natural horsemanship? These is a personal observation and not a bashing of any particular individual or methodology
Having been a horseman for over forty years, I am fascinated with those individuals whom are drawn into the marketing used by trainers and clinicians of natural horsemanship. Each of these individual trainers and clinicians do have good knowledge of the horse that should be shared and yet the their efforts go beyond that with the result being the horse is actually shown disrespect. Being used as if it were a piece of machinery or even worse being used as if were merely a dominated breathing toy.
"KEEP IT NATURAL"
Great marketing tool!
There is no such thing in 'natural' horsemanship as spurs, whips, carrot sticks, dually halters, big red balls, clickers and all of the other gimmicks that the P.T. Barnums of the horserealm are selling. Showmanship v. Horsemanship; circus v. Reality......
I.e.....recently a trainer lost a $1.2 million dollar suit for schooling "bridleless" riding, because the rider was killed. Yet, the ultimate goal for certain individual trainers and clinicians is to get their students to ride bridleless. Why teach this absolute foolish form of riding? The rider has zero physical control of the horse if the horse panics or takes any abnormal drastic action.
Yes, the above objects can be useful to a very small degree in schooling, however, the users are more apt to become dependent upon them.
Natural horsemanship is the voice and the aids....schooling the horse from the horse's perspective.
I think Wild_Spot hit the nail on the head with "...Language they can understand." You will get a different interpretation from just about anyone you ask. My two cents: Communicate in a way that the horse figures out the desired behavior. The people have to alter their behavior to get the one they want from the horse.