Natural Horsemanship Vs ???
Could someone explain to me what natural horsemanship is? I mean did we have before? Everyone talks about using natural horsemanship techniques and methods but I wondering what sets those techniques apart from others?
Just to be clear, I am not wanting to disrespect it. I have a trainer that worked with Clinton Anderson and branched on his own. I love the methods that were taught to myself and my horse so much I have recommended it to everyone. But when I explain to people how great this experience has been and what I have learned, people ask me what other types, besides natural horsemanship, is out there. What would I tell them???
You will get very many different opinions on what natural horsemanship is. In my opinion, Natural Horsemanship is when you can communicate and bond with your horse using minimum aids possible. You don't need any tools, hardware or fancy gadgets. It's were you can read your horse and your horse reads you. You communicate through the horses language and understand each other. You don't have to pay for it to learn it either. Natural horsemanship is where you and your horse "talk" to each other and respond.
That's just my opinion.
There are other threads asking what it is, but it's ok to ask again.
I think that it is just your opinion really, but I am not entirely sure how it would be explained.
In my opinions there are two big differenves between all the training styles. Gear and goals.
While traditional trainer opt for traditional tools, flat halters and leads (maybe a chain if more is needed) vs. an NH rope halter (which can vary widely in strength as well). Bits and saddles may vary based on the disciplins equally for both training methods. While traditional riders may opt for spurs and a crop a NH rider may opt for carrot sticks (or whichever name brand you prefer) and a round pen. While a clicker trainer like me, my only tool is a smooch noise I make with my mouth and a pocket full of something yummy.
The goals vary per disciplin, but tend to be tradtitional riders having traditional goals in riding in their style. While and NH rider's goals are typically more focused in their relationship with their horse and their growth together. And clicker trainers goals I've seen as wide as simple tricks and games to the extremes of every disciplin.
Typically NH and clicker training is a slower, steadier method. While traditional has well defined goals and wants to get there quicker. Again, all this in my opinion.
As far as the practices I dont think theres much difference in training. We all strive for polite horses who are able to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
I think NH is what good trainers have done all along but now there a few added twists to make it seem new.
All training is about communication, reacting to actions (be those from horse or trainer)& giving the right action to reactions.
To me NH is basically replicating horse herd dynamics as this is what a horse understands. When you lunge a horse, be it on line or in a pen, you are telling it to move and at the speed your chose. A more dominant horse will chase another and make it move at the speed it choses. There are many other instances but I hope you get the idea. The origin of the round pen goes back to the 1800's when cowboys had to bronc a colt out fast and put it to work. Then pens were round for safety for both colt and rider. They fell out of popularity as people began spending more time training and one can teach as much on a $5 lunge line as a costly pen.
I don't know.
Back when I got into horses before Parelli was big and all this stuff I thought I knew what Natural Horsemanship was.
Now, years on, I think its much less clear. People go on about bits and spurs, but really, I don't these mean much. Natural Horsemanship people can use them, other people can use them, it's how you use it that counts not the fact that you use it. There are plenty of good rider out there that use these tools in a way that they can be softer than other riders without them. Practically 90% of people these days tend to use rope halters and long leads - regardless of how they train.
There are trainers that you wouldn't put in the category of natural horsemen, but when you really take some time and have a look at what they're doing, the essence of it often isn't that different. Different names, different looks, but usually similar concepts.
I try not to use the term "natural horsemanship" because in my mind it doesn't make sense. What we do with horses isn't natural, or instinctual, it comes from observing horses and seeing how they respond, and using this knowledge to understand and act, which any good trainer, regardless of title or discipline, does. It might look different, or seem different, but often it isn't.
Sure, there are lots of "trainers" that aren't good horsemen, and may use cruel methods, just like there are riders who do the same - but I don't think that has anything to do with doing natural horsemanship or not.
For me natural horsemanship means to keep and care for the horse in the most natural way possible. My horses do not have stalls, they are kept outside 24/7 (of course they have shelters), they do not wear shoes (as they all have good strong feet, one of the things I look at first when buying a horse), they live in a herd of 7, they have access to hay (and grass in Summer) 24/7, they are not on any supplements or anything (just here and there a carrot, an apple or a scop of grain before or after a ride). They are super healthy, shiny and in really good shape. They all get exercised on a regulary basis and in 6 years we never had to get the vet out!
Regarding to the training: I might not make lots of friends with my statement BUT I do not think it is using the horses natural instincts in keeping close contact with a horses mouth (riding with a bit) and giving leg aids at the same time, naturally it tells a horse to go and stop at the same time. Do not get me wrong, I do some jumping as well and love riding english BUT for me natural horsemanship means PRESSURE and RELEASE big times, you ask your horse to go faster for example in putting on pressure with your legs, once the horse speeds up you release the pressure, etc. Another thing is the ground work for example, for me it is important to watch horses in the herd, the dominant horse moves the least, does not let anybody come into their personal space and are firm in protecting their position in being the leader, all that is what I do as a human to tell the horse that I am in charge and I am the leader and nobody else! Guess that is more or less what "natural horsemanship" is about for me...
"BUT I do not think it is using the horses natural instincts in keeping close contact with a horses mouth (riding with a bit) and giving leg aids at the same time, naturally it tells a horse to go and stop at the same time."
Done right, it can tell a horse to maintain a constant speed while shortening her stride. Done with a shift in balance, it can mean that plus shift your weight more to the rear, you're gonna need a light front end for what comes next. Of course, that assumes the horse is trained to understand the cues.
Personally, I'm still working on learning how to pin my ears so the other horses will know when I'm mad. I tried putting feathers in the frame of my glasses, but when we got going fast the wind 'pinned' my feather ears and my horse was afraid to stop. :wink:
Every cue we use with a horse needs training. They are not born knowing how to be ridden by humans, assuming you want to do something other than sit on their back while they graze.
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