Question for all you NH'ers
 
 

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Question for all you NH'ers

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  • Ray hunt reprimands parelli

 
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    05-19-2009, 10:06 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Question for all you NH'ers

Ok, I'm asking this as a curious party who I'm sorry to say has been SO disallusioned by the Parelli cult, I can't even stand to do my own research because they make me see red. However, I DO love the general idea behind natural horsemanship, and incorporate it a lot into my training, mostly by just using common sense and developing my own methods that work.

My question is why do so many people consumed by NH swear up and down that "if you have ever hit your horse, you have abused your horse!" I see it constantly, and it's a huge part of my disenchantment with what seems like a cash grab industry. I found one website that claims the entire premise behind it is "harmony without dominance". But that's just wishful thinking. Horses don't understand a "non-dominant" world. Horses don't live in "harmony". They live with a well formed pecking order that always places them below one horse and above another.

On to the physical part, I don't understand how anybody can claim physical discipline as abuse. Do horses use purely body language? No. They back up a threat with one heck of a sharp hoof to a tender neck, or steel like jaws gouging hunks of flesh out of another behind. Of course, they don't instantly resort to violence until it's neccesary, but violent they WILL be. So how is me backing up my threat with a slap any different? If I am using my body language to push my horse back, and it insists on challanging me, why is it abuse if I tack on a physical note to my threat?

I'm just honestly confused. Do they say this stuff because people want to believe they can live as equals with their horse? Do they believe a horse performs to us because they want to, not because they've been trained to? Regardless of how you hash the games you play or the commentary you buy, it's STILL domination of your horse to do YOUR will, not his.

I guess I just really love the ideals behind natural horsemanship, and I don't understand how any horse trainer worth his salt can actually tell people "ONLY my method works, everything else is WRONG."

Any thoughts? And this was not created to be a bashing thread, I'm interested in genuine opinions from all, including Parelli followers since I'd really like some light shed on the controversy.
     
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    05-19-2009, 10:25 PM
  #2
Weanling
Saying one's method is the only method is saying the same thing as natural horsemanship says if you hit your horse its abuse. Everything is relative, and everything should be individualistic. There are, unfortunately, many stereotypes in the horse world. As you said, you take and incorporate what you want and leave the rest.
I believe you can find a pure partnership with your horse, where the two of you are working together to create harmony. But first there must be a mutual respect established or that harmony will never happen.
For those who think dominating the horses is the only way to go, well, maybe it keeps them safe. But the harmony will be missing. I prefer to go the path of least-resistance, myself. Find a way to communicate to the horse in such a way that less is more. That there is an easier way.
But, having said that, if a horse runs over the top of me or bashes me with their head, physical reinforcement is needed. Some corrections need to be louder than others.
I think that there are so many people out there that won't smack their horse for biting them, or won't wag a flag in its face if it continues to push into their space, so there has to be some trainer out there that markets those type people. Not every horse person has the confidence to correct their horse in any physical manner, and so horse trainers out there have developed a system that teaches people things you can do with your horse that doesn't involve violence or domination.
     
    05-19-2009, 10:41 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Thanks koomy! That explanation was really well written. I do agree with you on the harmony thing, I guess I didn't explain myself that well. I like to think me and my mare have about as mutual a relationship as it gets. I rarely ever have to discipline her, she knows where that line is and seems happy staying on the correct side of it. She's so honest in our relationship, that if she's having a bad day I can just say "Ok girl, it's your day" and get off. I can easily tell the difference between her stirring up trouble, and just feeling blah. So I like to think we have harmony in that I try hard to see what SHE wants to do, and cater to that as much as within my limits.

At the end though, I AM the dominate one, so that's where my statement came from. Our harmony only lasts until she feels like testing the waters to see if she's gained any headway over me yet, so that's where I see the human dominance. It definitely doesn't have to be physical in any way to exist, I don't think.
     
    05-19-2009, 10:59 PM
  #4
Weanling
I have two mares, and I have definately learned to respect their "mare days" lol
I agree in the rider being the dominant one, in the end. But as you said, each knows the lines and respects not to cross them. :)
     
    05-20-2009, 05:27 AM
  #5
Foal
NH is just the basic idea of not using force or pain to make a horse submit. But instead to use what the horse understands....a series of patterns and consistent correct repetition. For example, always use the lightest amount of pressure first....but use as much pressure as is necessary when needed. Rewarding with a release of pressure.

Quote:
My question is why do so many people consumed by NH swear up and down that "if you have ever hit your horse, you have abused your horse!"

There has to be an upping of pressure when needed. The moment the horse responds, a total release.

Hitting the horse....let's say....the horse kicks. You smack him. But every so often he tries & you smack him. Instead of hitting and reacting to the horse, I've always found it more beneficial to redirect that "negative" to telling the horse what I DO want. If I move his hip over, he can't kick me, he won't think to kick me. Problem solved.


If the horse bites and the person smacks the horse on the mouth. Does that fix the problem? Some horses do stop biting forever. But some don't. Therefore, hitting the horse on the mouth isn't a reliable way of getting your point across to the horse. Instead, prevention: don't let the horse mug you in the first place. Tell him where he should stand. How he should lead. Give him attention before he asks for it. Give him something more productive to do. Biting can come from plain ol boredom aside from dominance (the horse moving your feet).


Quote:
I see it constantly, and it's a huge part of my disenchantment with what seems like a cash grab industry.
Capitolism.

Yes, there's a lot of money in it. Yes, there's way overpriced stuff!
BUT it has filled a void that has helped people who otherwise can't afford a trainer, or who want to train their own horses....it is baby steps for the person who wasn't born on a ranch or otherwise had no prior horse training experience.

It's horse psychology. A different way to see the horse. Instead of "my horse is quirky and bucks.".... through the NH stuff, you can learn about why your horse bucks and stop it without resorting to being rough on the horse (like bucking him out).


Quote:
I found one website that claims the entire premise behind it is "harmony without dominance". But that's just wishful thinking

I think when you see these claims....they're talking about aggressive dominance in the sense that, there are people who will tie a horse's leg and throw it to the ground and tarp it to force it to submit.

So...to say harmony...you're going to learn how to go with the nature of the horse (pecking order, fair, firm, assertive leadership skills).....not against it (force, pain, intimidation, fear).


Quote:
Horses don't understand a "non-dominant" world. Horses don't live in "harmony". They live with a well formed pecking order that always places them below one horse and above another.
But horses will prefer to follow an assertive and FAIR leader, rather than one that is overly aggressive and they do want to live in harmony...peace...they don't want to always fight, that's what a pecking order is for. Will they still kick or bite at times? Yes. But they don't want the uncertainty of wondering who is in charge? That's stressful.


Quote:
On to the physical part, I don't understand how anybody can claim physical discipline as abuse. Do horses use purely body language? No. They back up a threat with one heck of a sharp hoof to a tender neck, or steel like jaws gouging hunks of flesh out of another behind. Of course, they don't instantly resort to violence until it's neccesary, but violent they WILL be. So how is me backing up my threat with a slap any different?

I wouldn't say that a slap is abuse, but it does mean that you are being reactive not active....you end up reacting to your horse, instead of telling him what you do want...you focus on what you don't want....and a lot of times when you do this, you get an even worse outcome. Which is why I never tell people, "if your horse is acting up, just slap him." Because it isn't getting to the root of the problem.

According to NH, the root of all problems....comes from one very basic natural horse instinct:

Whoever moves whoever's feet is the dominant leader.

Anytime you hit out of anger, you can cause the horse to get defensive and you can cause an even worse reaction. So, that's why hitting and otherwise thinking about punishment isn't as productive as redirecting the negatives into positives.

Quote:
If I am using my body language to push my horse back, and it insists on challanging me, why is it abuse if I tack on a physical note to my threat?
Depends on what you call a "physical note"

If I am walking in toward the horse. And the horse doesn't step back, I'll "cluck" or "kiss" then twirl the end of the lead line at its chest/shoulder as I keep walking. If that horse doesn't move, it'll run into the twirling lead line. The horse learns, if it doesn't move, it will run into the added pressure. If the horse backs up, he learns he will be released from all pressure.

The horse learns to back up when he sees me walking toward him (when I specifcally cue him to back up, that is)....this is the lightest pressure I can use....body language. But I won't simply walk into him and then smack him. That would be too much pressure too soon....not giving the horse the chance to think.


That's the difference. Giving the horse the chance to THINK about things. That's what helps the horse be willing to think and respond correctly to find the release of pressure.

Quote:
Do they believe a horse performs to us because they want to, not because they've been trained to?
A horse can be bullied, but that can backfire. A horse that is taught to respond correctly because there's a reward of a release of pressure with fair tactics...will be willing to respond. He's got a choice. If your cues are weak, he won't respond as you want.

Quote:
Regardless of how you hash the games you play or the commentary you buy, it's STILL domination of your horse to do YOUR will, not his.

Yes and no.

If you want to turn left and your horse wants to turn right and you drive him into the bit with your leg cues, and pick up the left rein and bend his body around your left leg (disengage the hip)....and release only when the horse gives to the bit pressure and moves the hip over....then he'll turn left without a fight....why? Because you're not fighting with him, you're simply making a right turn feel nearly impossible. But you're making the left turn feel easy.....so, he turns left. And you give him a release of pressure. He learns, that if he gives and doesn't resist, he will get a release of pressure faster and easier with less stress = he chooses to listen.

Quote:
I guess I just really love the ideals behind natural horsemanship, and I don't understand how any horse trainer worth his salt can actually tell people "ONLY my method works, everything else is WRONG."


I don't llisten to those.

Each trainer has tweaked it to make it their own, but it all comes down to the same principals.

I got cetified by John Lyons a few years ago, and since then, I've picked up the ways of different trainers. Some of the big names, some not big name. But I do stick to the basic ideas that Tom Dorrance set up for people to think differently about horses.

Tom Dorrance was the guy who first helped to bring NH into the public eye. The ideas themselves....be kind to the horse and never use force, pain or fear, instead, present the horse with an idea, let him figure it out.....have been around for centuries, since the Greeks.

But through people like Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Bill Dorrance, etc.... the ideas caught on with people like Parelli, John Lyons, Clinton Anderson, etc.... who brought em further out with symposiums, clinics, etc....

It's training for PEOPLE....in how to communicate to the horse in a way that he understands, not through pain, force, fear....but through better understanding.
     
    05-20-2009, 08:34 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Thanks Calamity Jane! That was extremely insightful and helpful. I guess when it comes down to it, my question (probably badly stated) is if it's REALLY Parelli (for example) teaching these people these things, or if it's just people taking it to the extreme and translating it into a negative. It sounds more like the latter the way you explain it. I guess common sense is needed with EVERY training method, and no trainer can guarantee people aren't going to take everything literally.

Thanks again! That was the answer I was looking for!
     
    05-21-2009, 12:38 AM
  #7
Foal
Darn, When I read Mikos question I thought, Oh, Id like to add my 2cents. But then I read C Janes reply and she pretty well got it. I havent been doing NH long, But in the time I have, I sure have created a much better relationship with my Horse.
     
    05-21-2009, 06:01 PM
  #8
Started
One big key in NH (at least in the Parelli program, which is what I follow) is always remembering that the horse is a prey animal, who thinks in a way that makes survival top priority, and that the human is a predator. Horses are born not trusting people, it's in their DNA. Humans look, smell, act and sound like a predator to a horse....we have eyes on the front of our head, not on the sides like a prey animal, we walk upright, we smell like what we eat (meat) and when a predator gets mad we growl (in one way or another). Humans are also very direct-lined in their thinking....we know/see what we want and we go straight for it, and we don't like distractions.

Horses kick and bite each other all the time. But why is it that the lower ranking horse still loves his alpha? Couple reasons. One, the alpha delivered the kick/bite, etc. in a FAIR way and gave the other horse warning. Two, the lower horse's alpha is ANOTHER HORSE. There is no threat involved, there is no danger in the horse's mind, it's just another day in the herd.

Enter the human. If the horse goes to bite, kick, etc. and we deliver a smack, usually followed with a NO! Or Stop it! Or some other kind of vocal reprimand. To a horse, a prey animal, who thinks NOTHING like a human, this is an aggressive act. We smack and growl. That just proved to the horse that 1) we can't be trusted, that we are indeed the predator he thought we were all along, and 2) that we don't care about his feedback and his thoughts on what was just happeneing. Of course we can't hurt the horse, that's not the issue. The issue is the RELATIONSHIP. Some might say "Horses are so much bigger than us, so you bet I'll act aggressive if he bites." But why should be allow the horse to go there in the first place? Why not listen to him in the beginning and PREVENT the behavior altogether? A horse will only bite, kick, etc. AFTER he gives us warning. He will "turn up the heat" when we don't listen to him, it's like he's saying "Hey! Listen to me! I don't like that!" And then when he's trying to communicate to us, we smack him for it. Not good for the relaitonship. At all.
     
    05-22-2009, 01:14 AM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj    
Thanks Calamity Jane! That was extremely insightful and helpful. I guess when it comes down to it, my question (probably badly stated) is if it's REALLY Parelli (for example) teaching these people these things, or if it's just people taking it to the extreme and translating it into a negative. It sounds more like the latter the way you explain it. I guess common sense is needed with EVERY training method, and no trainer can guarantee people aren't going to take everything literally.

Thanks again! That was the answer I was looking for!
You're welcome!

I was talking about this with a client recently....she says that Parelli's lessons do tell you to raise the pressure as needed, always start with light first,.....but that was always something that she just didn't understand.

I really think that even though a person can buy the DVDs and do the lessons, it's just no comparison to having a trainer right there with you, to show you where you're missing on the details.....I think some of it,...unless it's so specifically detailed in the DVD (which most times it's not).....you just don't get it...or gloss over it easily....

Then you get the folks who say that anything other than a little tappity tap is abuse. Which it's not. IF put into context within the lesson. Light pressure, raising it in increments.....reward the slightest try. No emotions. No anger. No punishment. Just the steps. Rhythm and patterns.
     
    09-09-2009, 03:27 PM
  #10
Weanling
Alot of it is people practicing what they see rather than what they hear. You never see a BNNHT smack their horse a good one, because their horse already knows the ropes and respects it's trainer.

Some of it is also the fact that the trainer's message gets scrambled in translation when heard by newbies. When dear Pat says "ideally you won't have to use force" a newbie hears "don't use force because it's not ideal." They don't stop to think that progress rarely is ideal.

Also, part of it is splitting hairs. A lot of NH people I know cringe at the thought of smacking their horse with their palm, but reenforcing a message with the far narrower and more rigid stick is well within the realm of acceptability. Even though the stick is supposedly an extension of the arm, most people think of it as a training tool, where as there hand is the tool of choice for backyard horse abusers.

Old school commonsensemanship people like myself will use whatever's on hand within reason that will get the message across, hand, stick, or otherwise.
     

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