Once there was a Guru. He had a pet cat. Each morning he and his students would gather in a room for meditation practice. Each morning the cat would come in too and distract the students. So the Guru took to tying his cat up in the corner for the meditation class. This went on for many years. Students came and went. One day, the old Guru died. Life went on & the new Guru still tied up the old cat in the corner every morning. One morning the cat wasn't there. They found it had died. No one present could tell the new Guru the reason for the cat tied in the corner at meditation practice but everyone remembered it was something the old Guru thought very important. So they went out & bought a new cat, to keep the important tradition going.
But really, folks, What is NH?
I think the folks that saw a lack or a need for a new way to approach a horse were the ones that penned that name. Or other people who watched these "new" trainers, and needed a label to differentiate them from the way training had been going on for so long.
So, like Ray Hunt . . . He saw that things could go a bit easier for the horse if he worked more WITH the horse, than simply using devices to tie it down until is submitted because it had no choice.
Maybe that's what NH is about; utilizing choice, or creating situations where the horse makes a choice, instead of simply ceasing it's resistance because resistnace is impossible. So, you make the wrong thing difficult, not impossible. The right thing easy . The horse CAN make a bad choice. He can do it a lot, but he will soon find that the other way is easier, and he makes the decision himself, and the idea is that what a sentient being decides to do on their own has more staying power than what they are forced to do.
So , I think the idea that is the core of natural horsemanship is that you work with the horse's mind more than anything else.
However, the thing is, GOOD traditional training does pretty much the same thing.