Friday, March 13, 2009

My take on natural horsemanship: Part 3

In part 1 of my series on natural horsemanship, I discussed the positive experience of reading Monty Roberts's book, The Man Who Listens to Horses. In part 2, I described how I learned more about natural horsemanship, and the troubling lack of manners I saw in a mare Panama's age who had been trained using these methods.

First of all, let me be clear that what follows is my own personal approach to working with horses, primarily my horse. This is what works for me, and for us. Different people prefer different things. I personally feel that my approach is the best way, but I'm well aware that others may feel equally as strongly that theirs is.

My view on horse training is that the strongest methods combine the best principles from different philosophies. So this means that I've learned from natural horsemanship a greater sensitivity to horses' body language, but also that I have learned from more traditional methods to maintain authority and not put up with any B.S.

In other words, I don't have the same hatred of natural horsemanship that some people do, but I also prefer to take what I find useful and leave the rest.

And now I'd love to hear from my readers. What do you think of natural horsemanship? Do you follow it religiously, incorporate parts of it into your personal philosophy, or prefer not to mess with it at all?



At March 16, 2009 at 6:04 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I incorporate what makes sense to me. I'm not interested in getting my horses to do some of the circus tricks I've seen pulled off my some of the natural horsemen -- I just want to get them out on the trails and get them to trust me. I do love the flexation exercises. I used to wonder what the heck people were doing pulling their horse's head this way and that, but now I understand that it is all about helping the horse to learn how to take the pressure off itself and stay light to the bit. Gabbrielle is so cute, because as soon as I start pulling her head around to one side, she finishes it off by tapping her nose to her wither and holding it there for a while even after I release the rope. I think she actually enjoys the game. She's also the first horse I have trained to come. I don't "follow" any particular horse training technique, but try to learn as much as possible so that I have a wide array of tools at my disposal.

At March 16, 2009 at 10:24 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I don't "follow" any particular horse training technique, but try to learn as much as possible so that I have a wide array of tools at my disposal.

NM, I think you are absolutely right -- the idea is to have the knowledge and flexibility to adapt to what your horse and the situation and circumstances might need. That's the way I like to think of it too. Learn everything you can and take the best points from each!

My trainer does flexation exercises too. I haven't kept up on it like I should have though.

I also agree with you about circus tricks. As funny as it is to see some of the tricks on YouTube, I'm like you -- I'd rather spend the time teaching him to be solid on the trail.

At May 7, 2009 at 7:02 AM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Good points ladies! I totally agree with you. Take what you need and leave the rest! :-)
~Jane and Gilly~

At May 7, 2009 at 11:12 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Jane, you might find this amusing: it all about folks who take this kind of stuff to the extreme. :o)

At May 8, 2009 at 9:11 AM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

OMG!!! I laughed so hard about fell off my chair!! That is funny!!
~Jane and Gilly~

At May 8, 2009 at 10:46 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

LOL! I know, me too! :o)


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