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New to MD, need advice on natural horsemanship location

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  • #21
    Second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) Pony Club or 4-H.

    Kids have a pile of fun, are taught safely, and the costs are reasonable.
    They will stay in it longer with other kids to grow with, form lifelong friends, and very few go on drugs or worse....too busy.

    They also learn the importance of pay-back, responsibility and develop self-confidence as they learn to coach and captain the teams.

    Forget the words NH - it is a marketing tool.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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    • #22
      I can't think of a reputable, safe barn that would allow a seven-year-old to work in any capacity. Perhaps she can work around the house to earn her lessons.
      Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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      • #23
        MD stable list:

        http://equiery.com/ridingBoardingStables.php

        agreed, that she will not be able to work for lessons for probably another 7 years; how about she works for you instead? give her specific chores or jobs to do around the house that will help pay for her lessons?

        or, what sillyhorse said.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.

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        • #24
          Welcome to the area! I think you'd (OP) be rather hardpressed to find a Parelli type trainer or facility that would allow a 7 y/o child to ride w/out a bit; and might also be difficult to find a place where your 7 y/o could work off lessons - not so say she couldn't help out because most places have liability concerns. Thant said I would look up some Pony Clubs in the area to see if there's a local chapter(s) near you in College Park area you could try Waredaca (I think they have a summer camp) or Reddemeade for lessons and pony club. While pony club might not be NH it will teach her plenty about horsemanship etc.

          Comment


          • #25
            Whoops I'm assuming English riding but you might want Western.. if you are interested in Western riding I think Carroll County has a riding club - and I think the Equiery had a western issue a few months ago -

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #26
              Wow! Thank you

              First, I want to thank you all for your immediate and informative responses. As I said, I am new to horse culture, so I am learning from all of your ideas and points of view. I also visited the spin-off thread on "what is un-natural horsemanship" and found it thought-provoking. Yes, I have spoken with a very nice person at The Equiery and looked at most of her leads. The Gentle Giants Rescue in Mt Airy is a bit far away, but has a good vibe to me. Does anyone know anything about it? I will also look at the Hidden Hollow barn that was recommended.

              Yes, I did google Parelli here in MD and, like some of you, find a bit of cultishness in the approach which is why I originally said Parelli-style rather than full-throttle Parelli. Has Parelli cornered the market on the term "Natural Horsemanship"? What are some other terms I could be looking for when I am seeking less-aggressive styles of training? I appreciated See U at X's comment that some barns that advertise "NH" are not good quality places. This is very important to both of us and I have a limited ability to discern this at a glance.

              I appreciate your concern for her ability to work in a barn. TheHunterKid90's comments about grooming, cleaning tack, cleaning feet, etc. are certainly part of what I had in mind, but I also want her to realize what is really involved in owning and caring for a horse. Thanks for pointing out that there are aspects of barn work that inappropriate and dangerous for a 7 year old. Many of you suggest pony clubs. I will definitely check this out.

              When I say "princess mentality," I mean that I don't want her to think of horses as interchangeable creatures that exist for her pleasure - that she can walk in, mount up, get a lesson, and walk away - that the horse exists so that she can make it do what she wants. Yes, I have been training her from birth to respect people, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, what have you. She is 7, though, and very impressionable. She will model the relationship she sees in her riding teacher, so I am looking for someone who promotes caring, thoughtful interactions with horses.

              Please be patient with me. I think the term is "greenhorn." That's why I'm asking you. And I am amazed at your generous responses! Thanks again, I will keep reading!

              Comment


              • #27
                It's ok.... you're learning, so it's all good.

                I'll make the 15th or so recommendation, then, for Pony Club. All those things you want your daughter to learn, the responsibility involved with horses, etc. can come from her involvement in PC.

                Welcome to the horse world mom!.... and COTH too
                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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                • #28
                  I'm not really sure what you mean by "aggressive styles"? Is that you're comparing NH stuff to mainstream? Because the truth is, most serious horse folks who enjoy riding pretty much scoff at/laugh at NH. Another NH name out there would be Clinton Anderson FWIW. But again, a good trainer is a good trainer and rather than gimmicks and fluff, most good trainers endeavor to teach their students good horsemanship and their horses how to be good citizens.

                  You're smack dab in the middle of great horse country so finding a good program for your daughter really shouldn't be too difficult. The pony club stuff is really great for teaching all around horsemanship and not just riding.

                  She's lucky to have a mom willing to do this leg work. Good luck!
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                  • #29
                    Pony Club http://www.ponyclub.org/ is a specific national organization that provides a structure for people instructing young horse-interested kids. There may be things called "pony clubs" that are not part of Pony Club. But Pony Club has an excellent program for bringing kids up through the ranks of horsemanship, and values all of the non-riding aspects of involvement with horses, in addition to good riding. (the web site has a search function for finding PC programs).

                    And I suspect you have a better chance of finding a good, suitable barn with a Pony Club program than you do of finding a "Natural Horsemanship" barn that's interested in dealing with children. Unless they are children of very wealthy, very gullible parents
                    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                    Spay and neuter. Please.

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Arianna View Post
                      First, Has Parelli cornered the market on the term "Natural Horsemanship"? What are some other terms I could be looking for when I am seeking less-aggressive styles of training?
                      I think your daughter is lucky to have a mom so invested in making sure she can keep up with horses.

                      That said, good horsemanship is good horsemanship, period. The principles that Parelli and his ilk have severely warped into a pre-packaged money-making sham are, in their honest form, sound and found in any reputable training program. Just because someone doesn't advertise themselves as "NH" doesn't mean they are inherently "aggressive" or cruel. You'd be better off starting a thread asking about safe, reputable lesson/training barns run by good horsemen and women in the area. I promise your child can still build a relationship with her equine partner without using a carrot stick.
                      Balanced Care Equine

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Arianna View Post
                        What are some other terms I could be looking for when I am seeking less-aggressive styles of training?
                        That is tough to answer unless we understand what is it that you consider "more aggressive" styles of training.

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                        • #32
                          Seems from your second post that you somehow consider NH methods less aggressive than NH ones?
                          Most that use traditional ways of training horses object to NH precisely because they are rougher!

                          While some NH practitioners tend to conduct a good talk about "love ... " etc, do listen to the horses themselves as they are handled with some of those methods.
                          Once you learn to compare NH with traditional horse handling, you will understand that NH is not exactly such a kind way to communicate with them.
                          If you do a search on COTH with the Parelli name, you will find some constructive discussions about this, with examples taken directly from their instructional videos.

                          As others have pointed out, there are good horsemen and not so good ones in all places, but I would not assume on principle that NH is any kinder and definitely I can say is less than so at times than traditional horse training.

                          Now, do you want your daughter to learn about horses safely and what do you really want her to learn and do with horses?
                          That may determine what program you need to put her with.

                          One reason so many recommend Pony Club groups is because there she will learn some universal, well proven ways to communicate with horses.
                          She can then carry that knowledge with her any one other place, horses being horses, no matter where we find them.

                          That of course is not all she will learn, but it may help her to grow up to be the kind of person that knows to set goals and organize her time to achieve them, to learn well from others and eventually help others learn from her also, while immersed in a culture of other people passionate about horses.

                          I think that, whatever path you follow, you will do fine, as you are learning first what all is out there and that will really help you find the best place for your daughter, that may even end up being in a NH stable after all.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            Good question. I think what I mean is that the fear factor should be minimal for both the rider and the ridden. Fear of pain should not be the reason that the horse does what you ask. The question of dominance is an interesting one. Yes, I know that there are alphas in every social animal's world and I think most riders/trainers would say that the rider has to establish himself or herself as above the horse in the social hierarchy in order to ride at all. OK. How is this accomplished? How can the horse enjoy the experience as well as the human? I know my Pollyanna is showing, but I'm sure you would agree that not all trainers are created equal and I'm looking for one who can help my daughter value the horse's feelings as well as her own.

                            How would you characterize an aggressive style of training?

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Arianna View Post
                              Good question. I think what I mean is that the fear factor should be minimal for both the rider and the ridden. Fear of pain should not be the reason that the horse does what you ask. The question of dominance is an interesting one. Yes, I know that there are alphas in every social animal's world and I think most riders/trainers would say that the rider has to establish himself or herself as above the horse in the social hierarchy in order to ride at all. OK. How is this accomplished? How can the horse enjoy the experience as well as the human? I know my Pollyanna is showing, but I'm sure you would agree that not all trainers are created equal and I'm looking for one who can help my daughter value the horse's feelings as well as her own.

                              How would you characterize an aggressive style of training?
                              http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...inda%20Parelli

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                              • #35
                                I might also add that Pony Club (as in USPC, not just a group of kids who ride ponies) has a level of testing and as the kids progress up the levels from D-A,
                                they are very well recognized around the world. An A level Pony Clubber is very well rounded and respected for their knowledge in all aspects of horse handling. There is something for everyone's abilities, be it academic, leadership, riding, etc.

                                (The secret is that PC is a youth organization designed to raise the good citizens of tomorrow with good role models, fun, ambition, work ethic, and so on).

                                4-H is also worth looking into, but not my area of experience.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I am not going to lie, just the term natural horsemanship makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out because in my opinion it is anything but. That said, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Maryland is an eventing state. I never in a million years thought I would ever even consider eventing but I ended up boarding at an eventing barn and now here I am! My daughter has been in Pony club for almost 10 years, it has been a great experience for us both. Don't limit your opportunities to what you already know but also don't over estimate your daughter's ability to be helpful enough that she can work off her lessons anytime soon. My kids grew up in the barn but they were more hassle than help long past your daughter's age. Your idea of work is likely to be the trainer's idea of free babysitting.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home

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                                  • #37
                                    You may want to approach this as just looking for a great trainer in Maryland. Most trainers of any disipline do not believe in fear as a training method. Good horsemanship stretches across all disiplines. There are more trainers want their horses to be as comfortable and happy with their jobs as possible than there are of trainers that don't.

                                    Perhaps it would be better worded this way - Parelli, and some others, are not doing anything innovative when working with horses. They are packaging skills and techniques in a way that makes money. It is a marketing device.

                                    I also vote for Pony Club. It's a wonderful social environment as well as teaching horsemanship skills and riding. You can look into the handbooks now. Here's a link to the book on amazon where you can read a few pages of it.
                                    http://www.amazon.com/United-States-...ates+pony+club
                                    I think your daughter would love it, and you will also get to network with other parents.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                                      I might also add that Pony Club (as in USPC, not just a group of kids who ride ponies) has a level of testing and as the kids progress up the levels from D-A,
                                      they are very well recognized around the world. An A level Pony Clubber is very well rounded and respected for their knowledge in all aspects of horse handling. There is something for everyone's abilities, be it academic, leadership, riding, etc.
                                      Yes, if what you want is for your daughter to understand the care and management of the horses, and not just the riding, I think you'd do well to look at Pony Club. Maryland has several very good ones; my BO's daughter is in Seneca Valley PC, which isn't too far from you, and there are a few others in the area as well--if you go to the Ponyclub.org site and put your zip code in the map, it will give you the closest one to you. Just bear in mind, this being the DC area, that given traffic flows, the place that's closest linearly may not be the closest in actual driving time
                                      A Year In the Saddle

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I'm still not sure of what you mean by non-fear based. Based on your initial post it seems like you want to avoid bits, crops and maybe even saddles. Pony Club won't get you there. PC is typically big into safety and proper equipment is pretty important at the young ages. Not sure what the Western arm of PC teaches but it still would likely involve bits and saddles.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          OP, it sounds to me like you are concerned that many mainstream trainers use fear (in horses or riders) to get results. Or are too rough.

                                          I would venture to say that most do not. I'd say go visit a bunch of stables, but it sounds like you aren't going to necessarily know what you see.

                                          Also, there ARE a lot of shady trainers out there, but they do thing for the money. So they will try and sell you a pricey pony and pocket a big commission, or they will drug horses at competitions etc etc.

                                          The single best thing you can do is have your daughter join your local Pony Club. Pony Club teaches riding and about horse care. There are riding competitions and knowledge competitions (called Quiz now, I think). She'll be with a bunch of other kids, which is always fun. It is kind of the gold standard for horse care etc. It will give you a good foundation so that later, you can go to a bunch of barns and quickly assess with a knowledgeable eye if the place is good or not.

                                          You talk about dominance; it does not take a lot to get a horse (or most horses) to respect you. I don't know how I've taught the 10 horses here this, but they all know that when I whisper "Wwwhhssshht" it means back up and get out of my space. All it takes is a whisper! (And no, I do not even know what natural horsemanship is, nor do I beat any of the horses here either!)

                                          My final thought is that at age 7 it would be dangerous for your daughter to "work" anywhere around horses. What she can do is (with help) groom and tack up her horse, untack him, and clean the tack. That is standard operating procedure at my trainer's barn, and she regards the on-the-ground work as important as the lesson.

                                          Good luck -- COTH is a really great resource, and you will get a lot of good advice.
                                          https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                                          www.PeonyVodka.com

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