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Spinoff: What is UN-natural horsemanship?

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  • Spinoff: What is UN-natural horsemanship?

    The Parelli video and the talk about how she is not practicing true "natural horsemanship" made me think.. what is "un-natural horsemanship" and if you don't practice "natural horsemanship" but not "abuse" what do you call it?

    Wouldn't one assume that any training that is not counter active to the horse's well being is "natural" ?

    What trainer would advertise or promote that they practice "un-natural horsemanship"

    What is natural horsemanship? What is UN-natural horsemanship and what is in between?

  • #2
    well....my understanding of this is the term "natural horsemanship" came about as an alternative to starting horses from the harsh ways that were practiced on ranches. Back in the day they would round horses up from the range, and do all sorts of really harsh things to "break" the horse. Some of this was touched on in Monty Roberts novels.

    I witnessed some of it first hand with a filly that was a bit cinch sour, and the cowboys "laid her down" by tying her head to her hind leg - once she was down they poured water down her nose so she thought she was drowning. Then they stood her up and tightened the cinch. It was disturbing, branded in my memory for sure.

    So what I see as the NH movement is the kinder gentler answer to this other type of, tie their heads, ride the buck out of them type training.


    • #3
      In reality, all training is un-natural, as it is a horse's nature to run from a predator (aka us) at first sight or scent. But there are methods that teach a horse, and there are methods that force/scare a horse. And not all teaching methods are labeled as "natural horsemanship". In fact, some REALLY good, qualified, empathetic, teaching trainers I know despise that term.
      When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


      • #4
        "Natural horsemanship" as a term was coined by the Parellis; that is why Clinton Anderson is "down under horsemanship".

        To me, this type of training means communicating with the horse in a language that he/she understands. Sometimes that means getting physical if a horse doesn't respect you because that is how they communicate with one another. Sometimes it means tying him/her to the patience tree.

        My problem with that video was that whoever it was, Linda or not, was completely ineffective and the horse was confused and never could get "right" and find a release or anything else positive. Howevr, if I'm doing groundwork with my horse and he stops, turns his big ol' butt to me and starts calling to another horse, you can bet I'm going to crack him one so that he realizes that I'm more important. However, then its over, he tunes in, gets soft and finds the release. You can call it abusive, but I never have a problem getting my horse out of a field and they usually follow me all over when I'm out there picking up manure, sooo.....
        JB-Infinity Farm


        • #5
          I think "unnatural horsemanship" is when you nail the horse with a 2x4 at the least little sign he is thinking for himself.

          I believe it's "rational [or sane] horsemanship" when you realize it could be you and not the horse when you can't seem to get it trained. You then seek another course of action--but don't beat the ever lovin' snot out of the horse. You might, however, use a well placed "tap" to get its attention....

          In "natural horsemanship" you're not supposed to use force to train, and neither party (horse or person) is supposed to be hurt in the process. This is great training when a horse is actually fearful or panicky.

          Buying a Thoroughbred and attempting to retrain her completely turned my thinking about training around. I come from the old school (of the 1950's) that when a horse does something wrong, you whack it. That doesn't work on a TB! She wouldn't allow herself to be treated like that.... When you push a TB they invariably push back. I found if I could cajole her into doing something and make her think it was her idea she was a more willing participant, and much happier.
          Have we learned nothing from the Romans???


          • #6
            Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
            In reality, all training is un-natural, as it is a horse's nature to run from a predator (aka us) at first sight or scent. But there are methods that teach a horse, and there are methods that force/scare a horse. And not all teaching methods are labeled as "natural horsemanship". In fact, some REALLY good, qualified, empathetic, teaching trainers I know despise that term.

            When we confine the horse and make it a servant of human desires we put it into an "un-natural" world.

            The Big Lie was that prior to "natural horsemanship" (or its various analogs) is that all that went before was dross and cruelty. It wasn't. But it's in the interests of many "names" to pretend it was to set themselves aside as "humane" in the face of "cruelty."

            I once had a person steeped in guruspeak ask me if Xenophon was a "natural horseman." I was floored. I mean, how could a guy who lived 2300 years ago be anything but a "natural horseman?"

            Horses are kept for human reasons. This does not mean we need to use "splainers" (that's a 2 x 4 with a handle on one end and barbed wire wrapped around the other). It does mean that we treat horses as horses, not large, hairy, somewhat retarded children.

            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


            • #7
              Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
              It does mean that we treat horses as horses, not large, hairy, somewhat retarded children.

              HAHAHA! Precisely! It's insane to me that all disciplines search for balance in their horses, but seem so black and white on this issue. Usually the extremists on any side or subject are not correct! IMHO
              When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


              • #8
                It is not the old school of horsemanship where a horse got whacked for doing something wrong - my Dad would be 110 years old by now and was never anything but quiet and glentle around his horses - racehorses and polo ponies
                (and cannon-pullers during the WW1).

                The HN people seem to think that all horses were 'broke' the harsh way - and that they are here to turn the world around. Good horsemanship has been around for centuries and in my sphere I've never been around the bronco buster types.

                Of course there are those who treat horses roughly - shame on them from whatever walk of horsemanship they are from. If NH (not Parelli) can promote kindness, that is great, too. I'm not anti- NH - just that it is not the beginning and end of horsemanship and most cannot take a horse beyond the basics.
                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                • #9
                  NH is a term I don't like. It implies something I think is phoney as a four dollar bill.

                  and if you don't practice "natural horsemanship" but not "abuse" what do you call it?

                  I practice horsemanship.


                  • #10
                    And as you can tell from that video---there is bad Natural Horsmanship.
                    There is good and bad in both! I've said it over and over again, you are either fair to the horse, and teach it what you want it to do-in easy steps so that it knows what you want. You don't just jump in and say 'you will do this'--horses don't know and need to be taught, just like we do riding.
                    My problem is that in all training, there can be bad training, so I hate putting that line there and if you don't do 'Natural Horsemanship' you are deemed to be one of the rough people-IMO...in that video-Linda is definately PRACTICING BAD HORSEMANSHIP.
                    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses


                    • #11
                      Natural horsemanship is a marketing term. There are crappy so-called trainers who use it, and there are crappy so-called trainers who don't use it. (Also good ones, on each side... but you can spend a lot of time panning for gold amid the mud.)

                      In other words, all kinds of people drink kool-aid; this is just one flavor.
                      Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
                      No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by katarine View Post
                        NH is a term I don't like. It implies something I think is phony as a four dollar bill.

                        and if you don't practice "natural horsemanship" but not "abuse" what do you call it?

                        I practice horsemanship.

                        I think that there is nothing "natural" to a horse about being ridden or to a dog being chained. We domesticate them to do our bidding. Communicating our desired out come to them sets us apart from any other species.
                        "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


                        • #13
                          Personally.. I think Arab halter shows are as unnatural as it gets. Horses wearing makeup?!!
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.