So what is NH?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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So what is NH??

As I read all the posts about NH trainers vs "non"-NH trainers I wonder what people think "Natural Horsemanship" is?

I believe it is a way of training a horse by putting pressure on him until you get the desired response then removing the pressure. Pressure comes in all forms, from just a look to a smack on the butt or worse. It's a way of communicating with a horse in a way he understands. He feels pressure, looks for the right answer and when he finds the right answer the pressure goes away. Some horses take more pressure to achieve the correct response than others.

This is what horses experience in the wild when dealing with relationships within the herd. Thus the name of natural horsemanship. It is not about using pain, fear or intimidation to train a horse. It's not about being all lovey-dovey with your horse and it's not about being rough or mean with your horse either.

I can tell you that I practice "natural horsemanship" and have had great results with it. That is not to say that if my horse bit me he wouldn't be REALLY sorry! Because he would! But the thing is...he wouldn't bite me because he sees me as his leader and he respects me. He is not frightened of me, he respects me. I guess that's what it's really all about, respect. And I respect him too. He's a 1,000 lb animal that could easily kill me so I do respect him and treat him with love, kindness, fairness and firmness when necessary.

I would like to hear what other people think "Natural Horsemanship" is. How would you describe it?
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 04:26 PM
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The whole riding is about giving to pressure actually.
In my opinion natural horsemanship is when you understand that a horse is a horse and you train your horse with its best interest in mind. It's not about technique you use, or about equipment. It doesn't matter if you use bit or halter, if you do dressage or jump. It's the way you solve problems: when you focus more on the relationship with your horse than on a achievement you want to have. If you want to be a leader for a horse, you keep its best interest in mind all the time. Natural horsemanship is when during the work with your horse, you look at its responses and then act, not mechanically. That's my idea of natural horsemanship. The most important part of it is that you constantly focus on the relationship.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 04:35 PM
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I frequently work with my horses at liberty and will not and have not ever smacked them. Fortunately I am able to read the horse's signals before the action and nip it in the bud. When I work one in the round pen I use a thin willow about 4' long. Should it touch the horse it is like a fly landing and it is so mucheasier to control than a carrot stick.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 07:29 PM
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I think it's about TRUE respect. Obviously in saying that I mean my perception of the term, as it seems to mean little more than obedience to some.

I think respect is a 2 way street & in order to *earn* respect from the horse you need to show him you respect his horsiness & opinions too. You're considerate of the way he sees things.

Of course, in order to do the above, you need to understand eachother, so first & foremost we need to understand what horses are really about. Bodylanguage, behaviour, motivation...

Using positive(reward) and negative(pressure/release) reinforcement are the most effective ways IMO to get the horse to understand what you expect.

I don't think negative reinforcement is what 'NH' is about, as you do ktrolson, though it is just one necessary(?) component. -R is just an effective 'tool' of teaching that is used in all horse training.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 07:56 PM
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I think NH is about using the horse's natural instincts to either move him away , or bring him in toward you. You use his responsiveness to pressure to have HIM make the desired moves. So, the idea is to engage him mind and have him making choices; to come toward you or move away , to step his hind away, to face you and stay connected, or to move away from the pressure that you apply, and this need not mean even touching the horse. It's about creating a "feel". that can be some energy going down a rope, it can be your pressing against the air, and thus sending energy toward the horse. It can be very little, and that would be optimal. Since the object is to have the horse make the decisions based on your Prompting, having him do so with as little pressure as possible keeps him engaged, rather than simply doing what he has absolutely no choice to avoid.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 08:23 PM
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Natural Horsemanship is a marketing term.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by waresbear View Post
Natural Horsemanship is a marketing term.
Yes & IMO it can mean all or nothing these days too, but I think we're talking about principles & ideals here
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 10:39 PM
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When I first started on this forum I kept wondering about the New Hampshire method and what they were doing in New Hampshire
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 10:40 PM
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-08-2012, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe4d View Post
When I first started on this forum I kept wondering about the New Hampshire method and what they were doing in New Hampshire
LMAO me too and I live in NH thats the state lol

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