riding traditionally trained horses as a natural horsewoman - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-03-2012, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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riding traditionally trained horses as a natural horsewoman

I am a college student currently studying abroad in Jordan and since I have been riding since I was 9 I figured Jordan was no place to stop. So I found a barn that seemed to get good reviews and I visited and it is clean and the horses are well-fed and happy but I am having a hard time adjusting to 'traditionally trained' horses. I was at a natural horsemanship/therapeutic riding barn for many years and was spoiled by all the impeccably trained horses. Here I have found horses to be trained to be utilitarian at best (most have very bad ground manners and are unresponsive to cues while riding), and although one or two have picked up some cues I have tried to teach them from my old barn, I am afraid that I am just going to have to resort to riding badly on a poorly trained horse. Is there any hope for riding in a way that doesn't seem to really irritate these horses the way they have been irritated their whole lives? Or should I not bother since I will only be at the barn until the end of December?
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 02:32 PM
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I have found that unless the horse is consistently handled with the same methods, natural or traditional, it is very confusing and irritating to the horse. If a horse has been handled rudely by people, it is really hard to form rapport with them, and without that mutual respect and affinity it is really hard to practice Natural Horsemanship safely.

If I were in your situation I would do my best to ride the way the horses were trained because it is what they are used to, and you wont be with them long-term. There are good things that can be learned from traditional methods, just be careful and try not to pick up any bad habits that you will have to unlearn later.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 02:39 PM
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So. Much. Wrong.

'Natural Horsemanship' IS traditional training, just with a catchier title and 'games' instead of training exercises to make it more fun for the masses. If those horses have been trained with fear, intimidation and abuse, that is NOT traditional training.

Last edited by TaMMa89; 10-04-2012 at 04:12 PM.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 02:40 PM
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I think those horses are just poorly trained and wouldn't call them traditionally trained.

You might consider them to have been irritated their whole lives but they might find the level of engagement and response you're asking for to be the irritant. Imagine your whole life not much is asked of you then all of a sudden someone comes along and changes it all up AND wants your enthusiasm about it.

That being said, look at his as an opportunity for your horsemanship to grow instead of your riding. Handling and riding differently trained horses is good experience!

FWIW I do some NH with my horse and it definitely works for us.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 02:54 PM
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"Poorly trained" does not equal "traditionally trained." Poorly trained equals poorly trained.

Are all horses that are nicely behaved trained with "natural horsemanship" techniques? Nope. Are all horses that are badly behaved trained with "traditional" techniques? Heck no!

I generally cringe when I'm told a horse is trained with Parelli methods. I don't follow Parelli, so I can't say whether it's his methods or the peoples' execution that's flawed, but every single horse I've met trained with Parelli is disrespectful and borderline dangerous. I'm not saying there aren't ANY horses that are well trained that were trained with Parelli methods... just that I haven't met them.

I have ridden horses that have been cranked and jerked around their whole lives and they don't take long to become responsive to quiet riding. Good riding is good riding, no matter what methods the horse was trained. Bad riding is bad riding, no matter what fancy label you put on it.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 03:03 PM
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Folks, "I am a college student currently studying abroad in Jordan and since I have been riding since I was 9 I figured Jordan was no place to stop."

I don't know how horses are trained in Jordan, but the average horse for rent there MIGHT be trained using methods most Americans would reject.

"If those horses have been trained with fear, intimidation and abuse, that is NOT traditional training."

Would it be preferable to call it "historical training"? Writing in the late 1800s, TR discussed the difference between ranch horses trained for the hired cowboy to use & those trained for personal use. The former were trained in a few rides. In 3 hours of training, you don't get very far. The latter were trained in ways that took a lot more time but developed a much better horse.

I've owned Mia for 4 years. I can take as much time as I want. That, to me, is the fun of riding. But the lesson horses I've met here aren't exactly inclined to trust the good will of humans. The mustang I was given last Dec was a lesson horse, and he still isn't truly convinced that humans are reasonable creatures.

If the OP says the horses she meets in Jordan aren't trained like the horses she was used to, how is that surprising?

And I agree with Fargosgirl - in a couple of months, you can't do much. Just deal with what is and use it to think about how you WANT to do things in the future.

I'll add that my son-in-law came from upstate NY. His family had horses, and he was taught to 'break' a horse by first cutting their food until the horse lost 100+ lbs. Then get on and stay on until the horse gave up. Voila! A trained horse! To this day, he hates anything to do with horses, although he admits my horses behave differently than what he grew up seeing...

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."

Last edited by bsms; 10-04-2012 at 03:06 PM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 03:12 PM
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You may want to try positive reinforcement for horses that have been trained poorly, usually with an excess of punishment. The horse will differentiate you from other riders/ trainers quickly. You may have to change cues if some cues have been poisoned.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by laurelwolf91 View Post
but I am having a hard time adjusting to 'traditionally trained' horses. I was at a natural horsemanship/therapeutic riding barn for many years and was spoiled by all the impeccably trained horses. Here I have found horses to be trained to be utilitarian at best (most have very bad ground manners and are unresponsive to cues while riding), and although one or two have picked up some cues I have tried to teach them from my old barn, I am afraid that I am just going to have to resort to riding badly on a poorly trained horse. Is there any hope for riding in a way that doesn't seem to really irritate these horses the way they have been irritated their whole lives? Or should I not bother since I will only be at the barn until the end of December?
I hope you are kidding.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 03:15 PM
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Horses like this can be a great learning experience. I was fortunate as a teen to ride horses from dull, stubborn (self preservation) to jumpers and everything in between. At times I felt insulted but then realized how much I had learned. I've ridden so-called hard mouthed horses and within 10 min had them responding to a feather-light touch when it came to turning and stopping. If they are dull sided they've had too many riders and have done the same thing to many times.
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-04-2012, 03:35 PM
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I am a college student currently studying abroad in Jordan and since I have been riding since I was 9 I figured Jordan was no place to stop. So I found a barn that seemed to get good reviews and I visited and it is clean and the horses are well-fed and happy but I am having a hard time adjusting to 'traditionally trained' horses. I was at a natural horsemanship/therapeutic riding barn for many years and was spoiled by all the impeccably trained horses. Here I have found horses to be trained to be utilitarian at best (most have very bad ground manners and are unresponsive to cues while riding), and although one or two have picked up some cues I have tried to teach them from my old barn, I am afraid that I am just going to have to resort to riding badly on a poorly trained horse. Is there any hope for riding in a way that doesn't seem to really irritate these horses the way they have been irritated their whole lives? Or should I not bother since I will only be at the barn until the end of December?
I, too, hope you are kidding. If you aren't, you are clueless as to what 'Natural Training' methods or 'Traditional Methods' actually are.

Please enlighten us as to just how you define each because I think everyone else here is just shaking their head. I know I am.

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