The hypocrisy of Natural Horsemanship
Ran across this vid on YouTube. I've been preaching about the phony practices of Natural Horsemanship for a long time. If I remember right, my very first post on this forum was a rant against NH. It's not their method I dislike, it's the constant ridicule of cowboys and their "techniques". They'd like the general public to believe cowboys just whip a horse into submission. Just get on and spur the hair off of em and jerk on their face. Well, I'm here to tell you folks, they don't do things that way. Maybe they were tougher on horses 50 or 100 years ago, but EVERYBODY was harder back then! And I can tell you, the cowboys I know are easier on a horse than most horsemen, especially when they get one handy and dependable. When they can go do a job and make their living on an animal, spend day after long day in the saddle, and love every minute of it, do you really think their going to abuse the great animals that make their lifestyle possible? Hell no they aren't. There are a couple video clips these TV clinitians use (showing men in hats whipping, and horses rearing) and they've run it into the ground.
This video is a perfect example. I think Clinton is a great hand, and probably bar-none the best male rider I've seen. His horses perform and his techniques work.
However, watch at 1:06 how he ridicules cowboys and "their methods" of bucking horses out, but in this 3 minute video, he's seen bucking 4 horses out, whipping with a longe whip and a traditional whip, horses crashing fences, and at least 2 horses flipping over backwards.
So me deal is...if that's what you do, fine. I don't have a problem with his program. But don't criticize and accuse cowboys of being crude and rough, then whip and knock and crash in front of the world. People don't be stupid. And all of these NH guys do this, not just this guy.
They make other cowboys sound like big meanies because they're trying to sell themselves.... everybody tries to do that. It's a business. I don't like it, but at least the methods work. Hell, all methods work if they're do the right way. Some are bad methods, others good, but in the end it all boils down to who does it right.
I did hear him say "the old traditional cowboys". When horses were plentiful and cheap and little time to break them in they were saddled and bronced out and often a quirt was used. It was all about dominance. Clinton is working with out of control horses that have become dangerous. No ***** footin' around horses like these.
Yes, they are dangerous to their owners now.. But I guarantee you that 99% of their problems were created by that same owner.
Hey now... it was the horse's idea to buck and flip over - not his! That's why it's Natural Horsemanship - the horse NATURALLY had crazy thoughts.
All joking aside, I don't like making blanket statements of "All people do this" or "all people do that". Not all people who use NH methods apply them in the same way - just like all "cowboys" don't train in exactly the same way.
Really, it works both ways. People have to approach learning about something as opinion-driven as horse training with an open mind and open ears.
In the 1800s, a wild horse might get 3 or at best 4 sessions with a bronc buster before being considered broke enough for a common ranch hand. Not many folks can get a wild horse adequate for riding in a few hours. It was a very different world, and we shouldn't judge them by modern standards. On my tough days, I'm not 1% as tough as the average ranch hand was then.
There are modern cowboys who are jerks, but a smart fellow told me in my teens that in any occupation, at least 30% of the guys are jerks. Some professions go much higher. I've got a horse that was spurred bloody by a cowboy, but the same horse had been ridden by a number of cowboys before that without injury. In fact, all that previous riding had left him a fine, well mannered horse...although it only took one bad one to cause him harm.
It is worth remembering that modern NH is entertainment. The difference between the lady who trained my horses and the TV trainers is that she isn't on TV, she takes more time and gets paid a whole lot less. She also doesn't have to bad-mouth anyone. Most of her clients come from satisfied customers...
I think Clinton is good enough, tho, to knock off the bad-mouthing.
I mostly agree. But, I do think there are better male riders than CA. They are trainers first and clinicians second (or not at all). Men like Al Dunning, Les Vogt, Bob Avila, etc.
In defense of CA 'bucking out horses'. In the video, he is dealing with badly spoiled horses. Dealing with horses that already know how to buck someone off is a LOT different than the old timers getting on an un-handled horse and riding it out with no pre-training of any kind. When I was a kid, it was not unusual for 'cowboys' to bring in a 5 year old un-handled horse, rope it, throw it, saddle it and ride it all in one day. The next day they would go out and gather cattle on one of these horses.
This is the 'old' image of a cowboy that, unfortunately, is still around today even though that kind of cowboy has long since disappeared. I can remember when the big ranches never halter-broke a colt until it was 5 and ready to 'break'. Thankfully, that has changed over the years --- but the image has not.
I'm afraid there are fewer options for fixing badly spoiled horses. One still has to get a lot rougher on them to make them 'want' to do things in a more acceptable way.
As far as calling it 'Natural Horsemanship'. There is nothing 'natural' about it. I have always just called it 'common sense horsemanship'. You use a horse's natural instincts, its 'flight and herd instincts', to 'teach' it to interact with us in an acceptable way that is advantageous to us and gets a job done that we have designated for it to do.
You tell me there is anything 'Natural' about that.
I can't listen to the current clinicians. They talk too much.
I do get tired of hearing cowboys bashed. Whether current ones or the old timers who were supposedly just a notch above Neanderthals. Good cowboys were good horsemen. I read a lot of the history from my area, and abuse of horses was never tolerated. Horses weren't that easy to come by, even if they were taken from feral herds. Criminy, you really think some idiot would abuse a horse just to abuse it when that was his only way home? You really think a rancher would let a $30/mo hand injure a horse? Horses have always gone on the asset side of the ledger. For that reason alone they were treated okay, not to mention beating doesn't work and never has.
You see old photos of horses bucking. Cameras weren't that available and developing photographs was quite a process. Photographers took photos of unusual occurances and only developed the most unusual of them. A horse who was a known and good bucker was unusual. Not many photos of a bunch of grade geldings and mares plodding through the dust after cattle. But that most of what ranching is.
Sure more of the horses back then bucked bad. I think a lot of that has been bred out of both the QHs and TBs. But we still have some that are quite prone to buck. You just have to work with it.
I know this is wrong of me, but the clip in the video of the horse chasing the woman around the round pen, had me rolling with laughter.
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