How do you define 'Natural Horsemanship'?
Pretty much self explanatory.
I keep hearing different definitions of 'natural horsemanship' but none that I actually feel fits.
Horsemanship isn't 'natural' however you look at it. Being ridden is one of the most UNnatural things for a horse to put up with.
Some people feel that natural horsemanship is simply training while keeping the horse's natural instincts in mind. Using herd dynamics in order to reach one's goals. But that is no different than regular horsemanship.
Some people feel that natural horsemanship is training with the least amount of force and gadgets possible. But that is no different than regular horsemanship.
The conclusion I've come to is that 'natural horsemanship' is nothing more than a brand name people use in order to make money. Not saying that the actual training they are trying to advertise is phooey, but a lot of it is simple brand power.
The old school trainers (Ray Hunt, the Dorrance brothers, Buck Brannan) never used the term 'Natural Horsemanship'. They just called it 'horsemanship'.
Good training is good training. Going back to ancient Greece, using the 'popular' definition of natural horsemanship, one could argue that Xenophon was the first real natural horsemanship trainer.
I guess what I'm trying to get to is where does regular 'common sense training' end and 'natural horsemanship' begin?
It is a brand name. Used to sell ridiculous equipment and videos that people think they have to have to train their horse. And if they don't have the next video in the series they simply can't move forward.
One time, a long time ago, it did have real meaning. Not anymore.
Xenophon would laugh at Parelli and all the other NH types. He's got great writings on common sense horsemanship.
If you were to define Natural Horsemanship based on the words used, it would be using the most natural methods of training a horse from understanding their motives to occasional "force" when necessary just as a head mare would in a herd.
Unfortunately, the term was adopted, as Solon said, as a brand name and has lost nearly all of its original meaning.
Working with the horse as is. No gimmicks or special things you have to buy to be 'natural'.
That's the feeling I have about it too. I don't mind Lyons, but I find Parelli completely ridiculous.
I don't mind 'NH methods', I just don't like everything that goes along with it (the cult mentality, the marketing, the 'you TOO can have this horse if you follow my program which costs $999.99+ tax').
That being said, the original NH-ers (who weren't even called NH-ers back then) knew what was what. Most of them are up there on my "people I want to bring back from the dead in order to interrogate" list (along with Dr Reiner Klimke, Wilhelm Museler, Sally Swift etc...).
I agree, most popular NH trainers use "Natural Horsemanship" as a label so they can charge $150 dollars for a rope halter and lead and $7000 for a saddle. REAL natural horsemanship, IMHO, is about using the horse's own language to get them to understand and the trainer understanding how they think. I honestly believe that TRUE NH is somewhere right in the middle of the "beat them until they submit------Oh, I don't want to hurt poor fluffy's feelings" scale. You have to be as gentle as possible but as firm as necessary. Sometimes that means a swift kick or a solid pop and other times it means a soft hand on the neck and a gentle word.
"Natural Horsemanship" aka "Easy way to make $".
There just simply isn't a such thing. Riding a horse is NOT natural to a horse, therefore how can there even be a "Natural" in the "Horsemanship"? It's all just hoax--an easy way to make $millions (or for Parilli, at least). It's just a brand name people have gotten cought up with. I agree with some of their practices, but I would never call it "natural". Just simple horsemanship is fine.
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