All you need to know about Natural Horsemanship

All you need to know about Natural Horsemanship


Q. What is natural horsemanship training

A. Natural Horsemanship is a philosophy of working with horses based on the horse’s natural instincts and methods of communication, with the understanding that horses do not learn through fear or pain, but rather from pressure and the release of pressure. 


Q. Where to learn natural horsemanship

A. There are recommended associates whi are specialists in training and understanding horses, ponies, both young and ‘horses with problems’. 


Q. How does natural horsemanship work

A. The basic technique is to apply a pressure of some kind to the horse as a “cue” for an action and then release the pressure as soon as the horse responds, either by doing what was asked for, or by doing something that could be understood as a step towards the requested action, a “try”. Timing is everything, as the horse learns not from the pressure itself, but rather from the release of that pressure. These techniques are based on the principle of reinforcement, rather than physical force, which most Natural Horsemanship practitioners avoid using whenever possible. 

Q. How to learn natural horsemanship

A. You can apply for natural horsemanship courses on-line. Courses run from 1 – 10 weeks depending on your current level (1 - 4). One of the most popular websites to look at is Parelli


Q. Who teaches natural horsemanship 

A. High-profile practitioners of natural horsemanship include Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli. You may also have heard of Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, John Lyons and Buck Brannaman. 


Natural horsemanship vs traditional training techniques:

The natural horsemanship movement is controversial in the mainstream equestrian community, with criticism levelled at practitioners on a number of levels, while natural horsemanship advocates in turn are highly critical of more traditional methods. 

Gentle training methods have always had to compete with harsher methods, which often appear to obtain faster, but less predictable results. In particular, the cowboy tradition of the American west, where the economics of needing to break large numbers of semi-feral horses to saddle in a short period of time led to the development of a number of harsh training methods that the Natural Horsemanship movement specifically has set out to replace. However, a large number of the original Natural Horsemanship practitioners do acknowledge that their own roots are in the gentler methods of some cowboy traditions, particularly those most closely associated with the “California” or vaquero horseman.

For many its personal preference and experience – it might work for some and not for others, BUT you can’t knock it until you’ve tried it! 


Natrual Horsemanship


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