Any NH tips?
I'll post some later, but I'd like to start a thread where everyone (in a non-condesending way) posts any tips they have learned from personal experiences or other sources that help with NH training!
The biggest advice I could give that I've learned from personal experience is that, in order to any kind of training method, you have to be open minded. I've gleaned so much over the years from parelli and clinton anderson and so many others, but I find that to study just one trainers tequniques doesn't fill in all the holes. Too many people fall so in love with a trainer's personal method that they come to believe that that trainer has all the answers. Don't fall into that pitfall. If one trainer in particular knew all the answers, then he/she would put all the other trainers out of business. Yet today we have so many trainers earning a decent paycheck even though they don't all believe the same things. Why? Because everybody has something to learn from, even if they don't go under the title of "natural horsemanship". Now there comes a point when you do have to use common sense. Some people make a living doing crappy or abusive training by preying on people who don't know any different. And that goes for the traditional and NH crowd alike. But that aside, I definately think that every good trainer has something to offer.
The second thing I've learned from experience is that before you use any training tequniques of any kind whatsoever, you should know why and how they work. Don't use some technique that was demonstrated who-knows-where that looked successful but you really don't quite understand. That's how alot of yahoo trainers everywhere give other trainers a bad name. They use half thought out ideals or techniques that ruin a horse and then label their style after someone else that never intended on their techniques being used that way. Even if you don't intend on training other peoples horses, you might do more harm than help to your own if you don't understand the techniques that you use. I highly recomend that anyone looking to train -anything- read the book "Don't shoot the dog" by Karon Pryor. It's not a book about dogs, but about the science of teaching and about how animals "and people" learn. Anyone who trains should understand the differences between positive and negative reinforcement and positve and negative punishment and how and when to use each appropriatley. Every training method known to man can be categorized by these labels. I also believe that anyone who trains horses should have a solid, basic understanding of horse psycology and behavior (Which, thanks to our Natural Horsemanship trainers of today, is much more readily available to the public! ^^)
Phases of pressure
Release, release, release!
Do it in the real world, with a real trainer. DVD's only show one moment in time, with one horse. Of course that won't help with every single challenge. If you can afford the $200 for a DVD set, you can afford a clinic IRL.
Take a chair and a book and just go spend time with the horse, completely ignoring it and simply sharing space. Do this often. It builds trust, not just compliance.
This works well for me!
I don't have an indoor arena, so when I couldn't work with him because the pasture is a slop, I'd find little things to do with him in the stall. I'd lounge on his back while he ate, teach him to lead by his forlock or tail or back off pressure on his nose. A little practice and a -lot- of carrots later, he now knows an adorable bowing trick (he actually goes on one knee ^^). The results I had were great. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing my horse drop what he's doing and come galloping up to me from pasture. Or follow me around in the stall, or try to buddy chew with me when I groom him. ^^ Saddlebag, I think this is great advice, and I totally second it!
TOTALLY agree with Val1991
The biggest problem i've noticed with people who bash NH or any of the trainers is that they don't understand it or have no scope of mind. They've been told how to do something by some person in the past & so they stick to those ideals no matter what. Or else they've seen others who try to do NH who aren't particularly good at it & critisize the entire practice, not just the tecniques of that individual.
This being said; i've only been practicing NH for about 8 months now & have noticed a tremendous difference in my girls. The same goes for my best friend, who is a memer of Parelli's Savvy Club so she gets the DVDs (i borrow them lol). But like Val1991 said, it doesn't do to just follow one trainer's ways. Look at several different trainers & retain what you feel will help you best.
Another thing i noticed in the past is that when someone mentions NH, alot of people think it's all coddling the horse & not making it do anything but rather letting the horse decide, & i can see how some would frown upon that.
But it's NOT. It's about training the horse using methods it understands (in other words, not humanizing the horse but treating it the way another horse would treat it). Pressure & release & knowing exactly when to add & release it.
I could go on forever, but i'll leave it at that for now lol
Let's see....where to begin
I have agreed with everything said so far. There is no one trainer that has all the answers and spending time with your horse without asking anything of them can be the most rewarding thing you do!
I also have found that you should keep it simple (stupid). NH training is a pretty basic concept of pressure and release given with the right timing. It then uses this with the way a horse basically functions within a herd to create a language that they understand.
I have also found that the people envolved in NH are some of the best horse people around! While some can be "NH snobs" and frown on one trainer versus another, overall they are compassionate towards horses and put the horses needs above their own objectives. They are also willing to explain and help train instead of pushing someone head first into something they are uncomfortable with. This is great for anyone, especially nervous or beginner riders.
There is something for everyone to learn from NH :-)
The most helpful thing I've learned from Parelli was how to understand the different brain types of horses. Now I know how to motivate horses as individuals with individual needs. I bought my first horse and to my delight, he's a left-brain extrovert. We have grand fun learn new and useless things and because the lesssons change up so much, I never have a sour horse no do I ever get bored. There was a left-brain extrovert and the barn I volunteered at.... and they were trying to make it a congress level western pleasure horse, which for a horse of that type is a nightmare. The lessons consisted of crowhopping, and shanking, and cursing, and lost tempers. I hated watching it. And I can't imagine it... doing the same miserables circles at a painstakingly slow pace every day. A right-brainer would find it comforting and secure to know what it had to do every day. That's why the spookier, slower leqarning horses make the best lesson horses. They like repetition. But not the left brainers. I love my left brainer, and thanks to parelli, I know how to properly understand what makes him tick. ^^
I have recently been able to get back into horses after a few years away and now have been given a challenging horse, Roxy, that 'didn't like people'. I started to learn more about NH - it made sense to me. There were no spurs, hard bits, whips, special equipment that was really needed. I didn't need to be bigger or stronger. Roxy has responded well. I am seeing results with basically a leadrope and halter. I look at it like this: horses are smart, they are stronger than us. It is ultimately their choice what to do with us. I want to make that an easier choice for them so that it'll be easier for me. I'm not a fighter, I'm a lover :D
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