Once NHS, always NHS?

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Once NHS, always NHS?

This is a discussion on Once NHS, always NHS? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    10-15-2010, 05:20 PM
Once NHS, always NHS?

My little mare I have been working with is coming along wonderful... for me. I have been doing some forms of Natural Horsemanship by Chris Irwin with her. (check out his free video clips on www.statelinetack.com).

I can get her to turn her head to me and calmly accept the halter. I do this by using the same methods he does in the videos. I have been leading her like he does and she has been a much more relaxed horse and looks even forward to seeing me. She will stand quietly beside me with her head and neck level with her withers relaxed.

I love these methods, but I have been wondering this, as it seems to be happening. Since I use these methods on her, I know she won't react anywhere near as good to people who expect to just reach for her face and go. She hates that, she will toss her head, back up, and not let you "capture" her.

I am pretty sure, that once you train a horse this way, those methods have to be kept the same throughout her career, unless she learns to trust you more and more. So people who know nothing about natural horsemanship will say she is an untrained horse who won't lead, or is hard to catch. When in reality, she is easy... using a different approach.

Can anyone esle see the dilemma here? Have you expierenced trouble with this? When the BO tries to just stuff his hand to her face to pet her, she gets scared and throws her head, she is so different with me and my quieter freinds. Yesterday I put a pad on her and my boyfreind helped me get on her (belly flat) and we didn't even touch the lead rope, she stood, there smelling me and relaxing as I put all my weight on her for the first time. Would she do that with anyone esle? Probably not....
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    10-15-2010, 05:47 PM
Green Broke
Some horses are one women critters. They only trust their owners because their owners have proved to them that they are trustworthy. You should be proud she trusts you so well. I can see your problem though. Lots of people use the excuse, "She's a one person horse" or "She doesn't know you" when their horses are actually poorly trained. In your mare's case, she isn't poorly trained; she is honestly nervous of strangers.

It may help to get her use to all kind of people. Bring some quiet friends and let them groom her and catch her (with you there). Once she figures out they're okay, because she'll start to see that you aren't the only human around she doesn't have to be afraid of.
    10-16-2010, 07:14 PM
She sounds as if she is still in the early stages of training. You need to keep to the quiet, gentle methods for a while yet! But as horses mature, they get more used to different approaches, and while I think a horse has every right to avoid rough handling, most of them learn that there is no harm in clumsy or inexperienced handling. As horses mature, they become better and better at reading intent, so they know when someone's heart is in the right place, even if they are pretty inept (Like my husband, who the horses all love and can't even get a halter on first attempt. )
    10-16-2010, 07:40 PM
Just watched the clips. That trainer is brilliant. Thanks.
    10-20-2010, 01:58 AM
I do Clinton Anderson Training. Your body language is what is important as far as quiet yet clear. One of his shows he helps a National Show horse/Arab use the thinking side of her brain by having the crowd yell and scream till the mare lowered her head. As soon as she lowered it just a hint, the crowd would go quiet. In about 3 minutes, the mare was keeping her head lowered and the crowd could yell and scream as loud as they wanted... The horse came out a wreck but that one exercise did wonders for her. He did alot of other stuff too but this in particular might help you with your horse. Don't think about having to stay quiet cause that could set your mare back a little. Instead try to make sure YOU are communicating clearly to her and when she knows what you expect of her then other people should be able to walk up to her and she will listen. Whether its NHS or not, the basic cues such as leading and whoa, turn right, turn left, they are executed the same so once she knows her basics with you, she will be ok as long as you don't make a big deal over someone new coming into the picture. If you think you cues with her are different then other people, talk to the people then let them introduce themselves to her and figure the best way to learn with her. If you make a big deal out of it, she will know and then react to your body language.
    10-22-2010, 03:26 PM

I am pretty sure, that once you train a horse this way, those methods have to be kept the same throughout her career

Isn't this the point of training? I mean if I teach a horse to lower it's head by pulling down on the lead snap, I would not expect it to lower it's head because I put pressure on its poll.
    10-22-2010, 04:57 PM
Yes, but not many people around here know what 'natural horsemanship' is. This is cowboy country. I'm just saying, that could limit the potential owners of this horse to only those that use the same methods I do.

And, since the horse was trained that way, the potential buyers would have to adjust to that way of training, or re-train it themselves I guess. But an uneducated person in that realm, might call the horse not well-trained becuase the horse wouldn't respond to pressure on the poll, say as the example you provided.

That was what I was trying to get at in the initial post.
    10-22-2010, 08:53 PM
From what I have seen of the Chris Irwin methods, they are rather different from even the typical natural horsemanship ideas. And, in fact, I don't totally agree with his thought process on leading. I can see why you would be concerned about the horse's versatility. Guess you would have to reeducate the prospective new owner, no?
    10-22-2010, 08:59 PM
I am not selling her any time soon, if I do lol. But yes, I imagine so. But I am getting Stacey Westfall DVDs for christmas from my family =)

I can catch her like you would a normal horse now, I'm going away from too much of his kind of natural horsemanship becuase it wasn't working on some things. I do like the body languege talk, but that's about it. But, she still is weary around others, so she might be mine forever unless she gets over that with time.
    10-23-2010, 08:53 PM
[quote=B Thompson;790713]
Originally Posted by ChevyPrincess    

I am pretty sure, that once you train a horse this way, those methods have to be kept the same throughout her career

Isn't this the point of training? I mean if I teach a horse to lower it's head by pulling down on the lead snap, I would not expect it to lower it's head because I put pressure on its poll.
Why not? You start training by being totally clear and consistent, but horses need to learn alternative cues and to respond to "muffled" signals. If they only know one way, they really are not safe.

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