Monday, March 9, 2009

My take on natural horsemanship: Part 1

One of my favorite horse blogs has had several comment debates on natural horsemanship since I started following it. Since I really haven't discussed this on my blog before, I want to explain my thoughts on natural horsemanship, and my approach to horse training.

This is the first of a series of posts on the subject.

My first introduction to the concept of natural horsemanship was reading Monty Roberts's book, The Man Who Listens to Horses, which I enjoyed very much. My approach to disciplining Panama in the pasture, driving him away and watching for him to work his mouth as a sign of submission, grew out of a combination of that book, some other reading I did, and my own experiences. (Shortly thereafter, when I was looking for training information online, I found information on a slightly different method of driving a horse using body language and pressure.)

Of course, anything different tends to attract vehement opposition, so when I reviewed The Man Who Listens to Horses on my book review blog in 2007 I got a little taste of how hateful people can be. All I can say is, the man really knows horses, and why would he have to make up life experiences in order to get his point across?

Anyway, that was obviously a very positive experience with natural horsemanship. In my next post I'll relate some of my less positive experiences.



At March 10, 2009 at 3:42 AM, Blogger Laughing Orca Ranch said...

That was one of the first books I read about horse training/communication, too. I really liked it. And his methods work :)


word verification: updati

Looking forward to reading your updati to this subject ;)

At March 10, 2009 at 5:42 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

I have to admit I stayed away from Monty because of all the bad things I heard. As I have come to understand "natural" horsesmanship I realize more and more just how NH I have been with horses for all my life. I have read Buck Brannaman, and watched C. Anderson and Steve Rother and Ga Wani, and John Lyons, at local equine affairs, a few years ago I became familiar with Parelli and really like the methods, although I am really really disappointed at how expensive things are with the Parellis, soo, I use and take what works for me, and leave the rest, I will say that Parelli techniques have helped my horses more than anything else I have done. I do not what I call "NH worship" anyone, that can be irritating LOL I am disappointed with FHOTD though and the bashing that goes on there of NH. its not all bad, its not all good, but neither is any "training" discipline.

At March 10, 2009 at 5:47 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

OH I did forget to say that I love Tom and Bill Dorrance. And I am sure I have left some out, its trying to remember them off of the top of my head LOL

At March 16, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...


It was one of the first books I read, too. I like his methods best because they seem to be more of a point of view, a way to look at horse training as a whole, rather than a very specific set of training methods.


May I ask what bad things you are referring to? The only bad things I heard was a family member claiming he lied about the abuse situation in his family. To me, it reeks of an old-fashioned family in denial. Abuse goes on all the time, and frequently there is at least one family member who refuses to believe the victim when s/he finally comes forward.

As for FHOTD -- yes, I think they get rather Salem-Witch-Trial-ish about their NH opposition sometimes. However, I think it's simply mob psychology. I feel like most of them are pretty reasonable people, but being part of a community that shares your opposition and encourages that kind of outspokenness often encourages people to do and say things they wouldn't normally.

My personal feelings are that I don't agree with using Parelli as an only way of doing things, but I think NH is a good starting point for approaching horse training. What I don't like about Parelli is the crazy marketing they do. I think they deliberately create the cult mentality because it makes them money, and no matter if it takes advantage of people who don't realize that NH methods aren't unique to Parelli.


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