What exactly is natural horsemanship?
 
 

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What exactly is natural horsemanship?

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    04-26-2011, 09:38 PM
  #1
Foal
What exactly is natural horsemanship?

Sorry if this is silly to ask, but I can't remember ever hearing the term before.
     
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    04-26-2011, 09:47 PM
  #2
Showing
It is a way of communicating with and training horses by using and understanding their thinking processes. Working with them to get them to understand what is wanted from them with the least resistance possible.

Because of all the TV shows and things of that nature, NH is often seen by outsiders as a fluffy gimmick that requires silly sticks and colored barrels and "games" that have to be played.

The root of NH, though, is working with the horse instead of against him. Teaching him instead of just forcing him. Preparing him instead of just jumping aboard and riding until he quits bucking. NH in it's basest form is just common sense horsemanship.
     
    04-26-2011, 10:06 PM
  #3
Showing
I'd say NH is just a common sense and lots of patience.
     
    04-26-2011, 11:40 PM
  #4
Weanling
NH is only common sense to you people who have been working with horses for so long! I always hear that phrase... Its not common sense to me... I have done a lot of work to try and understand my horses way of thinking! Patience yes. Ohhh yes..

To the OP:
I would define it as interacting with your horse based on an attempt to understand and coordinate with your horses perception.
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    04-27-2011, 12:06 AM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
It is a way of communicating with and training horses by using and understanding their thinking processes. Working with them to get them to understand what is wanted from them with the least resistance possible.

Because of all the TV shows and things of that nature, NH is often seen by outsiders as a fluffy gimmick that requires silly sticks and colored barrels and "games" that have to be played.

The root of NH, though, is working with the horse instead of against him. Teaching him instead of just forcing him. Preparing him instead of just jumping aboard and riding until he quits bucking. NH in it's basest form is just common sense horsemanship.
\
What a good explanation!!!
     
    04-27-2011, 05:27 AM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
just jumping aboard and riding until he quits bucking.
the friendly game, if your into that

Imo there's not much difference between NH and un-NH or "normal" horsemanship. NH is just a good way of teaching people who aren't naturally good at horsemanship. But that's for the human not the horse.
     
    04-27-2011, 08:18 AM
  #7
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
It is a way of communicating with and training horses by using and understanding their thinking processes...
Maybe I'm wrong but I understood it as also using the way they act and communicate within the herd.
     
    04-27-2011, 02:41 PM
  #8
Weanling
They communicate within the herd with pressure/release or negative reinforcment. Most un-NH training involves the same thing so to say that's what makes NH different than un-NH is a bit of false marketing.
     
    04-30-2011, 03:49 PM
  #9
Weanling
The key is understanding the word. It is horsemanship not manhorseship.
The horse and its psychological/pysiological needs/requirements are put before the inflated self needs of the rider, and that is an extremely hard thing to do.
Natural horsemanship is predicated upon how the horses function and that is to ask and allow not demand and force. Horses ask each other before they reach the point of the demand.
     
    05-17-2011, 08:33 PM
  #10
Foal
"Natural Horsemanship" is a brand name / fad name / pick your favorite epithet.

What people generally mean when they say any of these names is "Good Horsemanship, as opposed to Bad Horsemanship, and in particular using a horses's natural mechanisms to teach and communicate with the horse instead of forcing the horse into trying to understand what you mean through blind trial-and-error until they eventually either get it or give up and ignore the world."

Here's a concrete, if extreme example:

Someone who is a practitioner of "Bad Horsemanship" might raise a foal in a stall without ready access to other horses except in rare, human-supervised interactions. Then as the foal gets older, when it does something like crowding the human or nipping at him, the owner (trying to be compassionate but not understanding) might lunge the colt around-and-around to "teach him not to do that" without actually striking the horse. The horse, not able to connect cause-and-effect between these events, just gets tired and thinks of the human as someone who wouldn't let him quit doing something when he was tired.

On the other hand, a practitioner of "Good Horsemanship" might find a herd situation to let the foal spend a couple of years in as it grows, so it can develop appropriate social skills among other horses. Then when the colt is older and does something like crowding the human or nipping at him, the human will be on the lookout for such behavior and arrange for the colt to "accidently" bonk his nose on the human's elbow right when he reaches out for the nip. After a time or two of this, the colt will realize that when he tries to nip, he bonks his nose, and will give up.

If the person's timing isn't quite so accurate and the colt realizes that the human bonked him, the human might still make the situation a positive one by watching closely. If the colt realizes that the human, like an older horse would do, just nipped or thumped him back, the colt will often move his mouth in a small, repetitive "baby mouthing" movement that essentially says "I'm sorry, don't hurt me." An attentive human might, at that moment reach out with a soft pet down the colt's face in the same smooth manner that his dam's tongue might have stroked him when he was very young, and he'll feel reassured and feel a little more secure in his understanding about how to be around this human.

After letting him lick & chew a moment or two after this, someone practicing "Good Horsemanship" would then lead the colt's attention into the next activity with a positive energy.
     

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