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Questionnaire Human-Horse relationship and NH for thesis

This is a discussion on Questionnaire Human-Horse relationship and NH for thesis within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        10-05-2013, 08:57 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
    Yes, very much so. They have made me more patient and more greatful. They have have helped me develop my work ethic and goal-setting skills. They have taught me the importance of boundaries, and they have allowed me to experience the feeling of sucess acheived through hard work. They've also taught me how to communicate more clearly and be more straight forward.

    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
    No. While horses might be a "portal into nature" for some people, that's not how I see them.

    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
    No-nonsense...with a healthy sense of humour.

    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?
    She's like the equine version of me, which is both a blessing and a curse. We have been through a lot together. We trust each other, which I think is the basis of our sucess together. Our good days are incredible, our bad days are horrid (luckily they are rare).

    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
    I don't identify with NH, although some things I do with my horse might be considered to fall under that category. I'm fine with that, but I don't subscribe to one particular training method.

    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
    N/A
         
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        10-06-2013, 12:22 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
    Actually yes a little bit in the fact that they helped me learn a little patience

    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
    No, a portal into nature would involve nature, they are livestock, not elk
    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
    common sense
    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?
    I'm his owner
    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
    I don't identify with Natural horsemanship, I am sane
    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
    see above
         
        10-06-2013, 11:02 AM
      #13
    Yearling
    You sound like an anthropologist.
         
        10-06-2013, 01:07 PM
      #14
    Foal
    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
    Taking care of him forced me to become confident in myself and the decisions I made. He's made me more aware of myself, and the trust in our relationship has made it easier for me to enjoy and relax in my human relationships. He has taught me a lot about what's important, and forgiveness. About taking chances and being careful. Without him, I really don't think I'd be exactly who I am today. He keeps me grounded.

    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
    I don't really have an opinion on this question. Sorry! :)

    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
    I'm usually laid back and relaxed about working with the horses, but I didn't used to be. There was a lot of yelling in our first days of working together. He was western, I was english. He'd been a lawn ornament for three years, and was stubborn and set in his ways. I was just as stubborn, which ultimately is what brought us together. When he pushed me, I pushed right back.

    His willingness to forgive has taught me a lot about working with horses. I make a mistake and he's the first to tell me that even though I made him uncomfortable for a moment, it's okay. I've worked a bit with a really good natural horsemanship trainer in my area, and he's also taught me a lot. He gave me the tools to be able to better communicate with my guy, taught me how to better read his moods, and to know when it was more than okay to keep pushing him.

    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?
    Oh boy is this a multidimensional question! We are very close, joined at the hip actually. I can read his moods like a book, and he is the same with me. I know when he's having a bad day, and can tell that I'm not having a good riding day by his responses. He gets mad at me when I disappear for a week of vacation. I tend to get tail slapped quite a bit when I get back until he's forgiven me. Treats tend to soften him up. ;) :)

    He is really, truly, honestly my equine soul mate. I've loved others before him, and some after he came into my life, but no other horse is quite like him. No other relationship is as deep and understanding as ours. There will certainly be other horses in my life, and I'm sure I will develop similar relationships with some, but there will only be one like this one. He's my once in a lifetime horse.


    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
    I came from a more traditional english training background. I have always been about becoming one with the horse, asking rather than telling, and developing a true relationship. No matter what the discipline, horses should be treated kindly and with respect.

    I like to pull from both worlds, classic english and natural horsemanship, to get the best of both. I don't believe in using crazy gimmicks, but I also believe that sometimes you do need them. Not all horses are created equal. Sometimes you HAVE to be firmer with a horse. Sometimes, no matter how well you set them up for the right answer, they just won't get it without the help of a training aid (or gimmick). You should never force the horse into anything, but it's okay to use assistance to teach the horse the right idea so they can learn to do it on their own.

    Bringing in NH values to my riding has brought my horse and I closer together. I've learned better ways to ask him for something, and to teach him something new. He was a western horse for 21 years of his life, and he's now my happy english 'pony'. I have to understand his limitations and work with them, and in return he gives me his all. Everything he knows from his western training correlates with his english training, and NH made it easier for us to learn together. So ultimately, I perceive the change as the best thing that could have possibly been given to us (aside from finding each other!).

    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
    Most of my barn is into NH, so the community there has influenced me some. I'm still a bit of the odd man out given my english background, but it's brought us all closer together. I can't say that it's had a huge impact on my life or beliefs. I tend to be more quiet about my english training though as they don't always agree with it.
         
        10-06-2013, 01:54 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NatureHorsesHumans    
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently doing research on the horse-human relationship, natural horsemanship and the construction of identity and the changing relationship to nature. The questions in the questionnaire are based on 3-months of field work at a natural horsemanship ranch in Northern-California. It would be amazingly helpful if you could answer them (or a few) to the best of your ability!

    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
    Yes, and they still do. Working with horses has kept me somewhat sane through the years and kept me out of a lot of trouble psychologically and physically throughout my life. They've taught me patience, confident in myself, and much more. They remind me when I'm depressed that this too shall pass.


    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
    I don't agree with this simply because there's so much more to nature then just horses. I don't see horses and automatically think of nature. To me they symbolize something aside from nature, they exemplify bonds and trust more so then they ever could the entirety of nature.

    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
    Fair and sane. I know when to stop pushing and when to let them relax, and I know when both of us need to step back and take a breath. If they mess up because they're scared or don't know what to do I work them through it gently and calmly; if however, they decide to be one of the numerous profanities you can insert here I have no problem getting on their butts and having a little "conversation". I'm not above giving them a few smacks but I don't condone beating a horse or other cruel training methods. In my mind it's how you use the equipment that defines the cruelty, not the equipment itself. I treat them like horses, not big dogs or people. They have their horse herd and when they come up with me their leader stops being the horse in the field, but the person working with them. I never make them be anything that they're not.

    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?
    With my my two I would say mutual trust and respect (The authority goes without saying lol). I respect the fact that they can kill me and without both of us taking that leap of trust there's more of a chance of that happening.
    With the training/client horses I work with I would say trust, respect, understanding and authority. They know that the people working with them are in control and that I'm not there to hurt them. Both of us have to come to an understanding of each other and our intentions so that we can work effectively.

    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
    I'm still in the 'traditional' background and always will be. Personally I see NH as a personal opinion. I've seen more NH people in the 'traditional' backgrounds then I ever have in the NH classification. And in my experience the 'traditionalists' have a better understanding of horses.

    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
    N/A
    Any responses can be send to me by PM.

    Thank you!
    I put your stuff in bold and mine in regular ( I was too lazy to change it and flip it around....sorry). Good luck on your thesis! :)
         
        10-06-2013, 02:46 PM
      #16
    Showing
    When it is suggested we make a game out of being with our horses, it is more to do with our mental attitude, ie. Lighten up and enjoy it.
         
        10-06-2013, 03:42 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    When it is suggested we make a game out of being with our horses, it is more to do with our mental attitude, ie. Lighten up and enjoy it.
    I'm not "suggesting" I'm stating outright that some trainers and many of their adherents treat training horses as a series of games. That's not suggesting an opinion. It's a fact put out by the trainers. When there's a case where a game doesn't work and the person doesn't have something else to turn to, because they're using a system of games more than an understanding of the horse and common sense, they quite often end up with a problem. I've even had opportunity (by chance) to see a "famous" NH trainer use some incredibly bad techniques (which also didn't work) when playing his prescribed game failed miserably with a horse.
    So you see it's not a suggestion , it's a fact. Not with everyone obviously, but I never said that it was with everyone. Just some.

    But there in is the problem with many of the NH "systems" that are promoted. They have "their" way and "their" way has to be the best way. Better than the others so you should only use what they'll sell you . I'm in no way saying that every trainer out there is like this (especially since I don't know every trainer or what they "teach"), but many are.
    Even with the group of men who taught me much of what I know there were different ways to doing things. The difference was that all their knowledge was used collectively even with each other. As my grandfather explained to me one day when I asked what was the best way to teach my mare to do something (this wasn't in the beginning). "The way that has the best results with the least effort to her". I.e. That was his way of saying I knew the horse so find easiest way for her to succeed in learning what I want from her. I had my own common sense and wealth of collective information from a lot of old timers to draw from if what I tried failed. The goal was to train without stressing yourself or the horse (or face my grandfather's wrath ....and no one wanted that). There have been some dedicated horse people in the family. E.g. When I last saw my cousin Russell 3 years ago he was still plowing his garden with a horse and had recently acquired two young horses that he was starting to train, although being in his mid 80's he wasn't doing much riding anymore. I remember him from at about 40 as one of the younger pools of information for me as a teen with my first young horse. He's one of the few remaining mentors I learned from.
         
        10-07-2013, 05:17 AM
      #18
    Yearling
    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?

    I have been "horsey" from at least age 2 and started riding lessons at about 6 so I can't say what I would have been like if I hadn't had horses in my life.

    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?

    No. They have been domesticated for thousands of years. The separation of the "human" from the "natural" in the way we perceive it is a late-eighteenth century social construction that's been embraced by modern western culture. One could argue that we are part of "nature," though we have a lot more influence over it than other species. Horses, like all domestic a animals, are an example of how humans can have a significant impact on another species by selectively breeding them for certain traits which make them "user friendly" for human purposes.

    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?

    Fair, firm, consistent.

    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)?

    I am her owner. She knows she has to do what I say most of the time, although I will take her views on board with regards to certain things like dodgy footing, loose dogs in the woods, etc.

    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.

    I hope somewhere in your research you have defined these terms. In my experience, people who identify with natural horsemanship use "traditional" horsemanship to identify everyone who (ostensibly) doesn't do what they do. They are constructing a dichotomy which I don't believe exists in actual practice. By that, I mean if you ignore the rhetoric, how people are actually communicating with and training the horse. Any good, effective trainer, from Carl Hester to Nick Skelton to Mark Rashid and Stacy Westfall, will use pressure and release based on the principles of operant conditioning. Regardless of the language or postulations some people might use to explain their methods. The theory that the methods espoused by some trainers are "natural" because it's how horses communicate with one another has had a lot of doubt cast on it by empirical studies. The Skinnerian conditioning model for why certain methods have the effects they do has been shown to be far more robust, and good trainers have known this all along. This is a long winded way of saying I don't identify with either, since it is a distinction I find entirely discursive.

    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?

    See above.
         
        10-07-2013, 08:09 AM
      #19
    Foal
    Quote:
    I hope somewhere in your research you have defined these terms. In my experience, people who identify with natural horsemanship use "traditional" horsemanship to identify everyone who (ostensibly) doesn't do what they do.
    I have :). That is why I put 'traditional' between ' '. I understand the 'problems' behind these terms, and in my research they are defined by a combination of academic literature and what research participants themselves have said. Hence, I don't want to post the definition I am using here, as for one it is not fixed and, two, I do not want to 'impose' any definition on anyone :).
         
        10-07-2013, 05:27 PM
      #20
    Foal
    1. Do you feel horses have influenced who you are? If so, how?
    I don't know who I would be without my horses. They have helped me, a naturally quiet person, keep from going insane when surrounded byworld full of talking.

    2. “Horses are a portal into nature.” Do you agree with this statement? Why /why not?
    I don't agree with that statement. However I would amend that to say," Horses are a portal to new understanding." Horses teach people so much about understanding different view points. I mean if you can understand a horses view point as a prey animal you can wrap your mind about so many other people's ideas, whether you agree or not.
    3. How would you describe your way of working with your horse(s)?
    My way with horses is all about listening. Some horses are naughty for no reason, but most have some logic behind it. Figure out that logic and it's way easier to stop the naughtiness.
    4. How would you describe your relationship with your horse(s)
    It depends on the horse. Some of our barn's horses need a strong leader to help with their confidence, others work well if you act as a partner. My current horse definitely needs me as her leader, mostly because otherwise she walks all over me.
    5. If you come from a ‘traditional’ background and you identify yourself with ‘natural horsemanship’, could you explain why you made the switch and if it has changed your relationship with your horse, how you perceived this change.
    My horse is horribly pushy and for a while many people thought the key was to," Show her who's boss," this idea resulted in her only being safe to lead in a bit or with a chain under her chin. A few while ago I decided to try something new and started looking at the NH methods. They've really gotten my horse to respect me and so far she hasn't stepped on my feet once, which before was a weekly and sometimes daily occurrence. The NH has simply opened my eyes and gotten me thinking more like a horse, allowing me to fix a number of behavioral problems that before I would have needed help with. I feel like it has helped me see how little people listen to what their horses are telling them, and how much listening can help.
    6. If you identify as being part of the natural horsemanship community; has being part of this larger community influenced you in anyway?
    I'll admit to using a number of NH methods and will say that it helped me get over a number of problems with my horse. However I don't say I'm a member of the NH community. Horse people are to focused on judging people based on their riding discipline, saying things like how jumpers are snooty or that western pleasure people aren't real horsemen. I personally think it's ridiculous. It also keeps a lot of people from listening to some really amazing trainers, NH people wont listen to great non-NH trainers because they're 'too harsh' and non-NH people wont listen to NH trainers because they supposedly 'too soft' on their horses. Good horsemanship is good horsemanship and if the trainers who helped me sort out my problems with my horse hadn't been lumped under the title Natural Horsemen I probably wouldn't have spent a year getting stepped on.

    One last thing I'd like to add, some NH obsessed people are too nice to their horses and get walked all over by horses that they really could handle. This isn't the NH, this is caused by the people. Some people take the idea of being kind and consistent as meaning they should do the same exercise, that isn't working, over and over again or that they shouldn't get harsher even though nearly all NH trainers say that you should change the approach based on what the horse is telling you and that you should use as much force as necessary. Just had to say it as so many people think that NH is all about coddling the horse or that it's taught as a 'one-size-fits-all-solution.'
         

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