What is natural horsemanship and how does it work?

05/10/2023

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What is Natural Horsemanship and How Does it Work?

Natural horsemanship is a philosophy and training approach that emphasizes developing a harmonious and respectful relationship between humans and horses. It is based on understanding the horse's natural behavior, communication, and psychology, and uses this knowledge to create a willing partnership with the horse. Unlike traditional horse training methods that rely on dominance and force, natural horsemanship focuses on building trust, mutual understanding, and cooperation.

The Principles of Natural Horsemanship

1. Understanding Horse Behavior: Natural horsemanship starts with gaining a deep understanding of how horses think, communicate, and behave in the wild. Horses are prey animals with a strong herd instinct. They are highly social and rely on body language, energy, and subtle cues to communicate with each other.

2. Communication and Language: Natural horsemanship emphasizes clear and effective communication between the horse and the human. This involves learning the horse's language and using body language, voice commands, and energy to convey messages and intentions.

3. Leadership and Respect: Natural horsemanship highlights the importance of establishing a leadership role without resorting to fear or dominance. It encourages the human to become a trusted and respected leader for the horse, providing guidance and setting boundaries while maintaining a calm and assertive presence.

4. Trust and Partnership: Building trust is fundamental in natural horsemanship. Horses are sensitive creatures that respond best to gentle, patient, and consistent handling. By respecting the horse's boundaries and earning their trust, a deep bond and partnership can be formed.

The Techniques of Natural Horsemanship

1. Groundwork: Natural horsemanship begins with groundwork exercises to establish trust, respect, and communication before riding. This includes teaching the horse to yield to pressure, move their feet in different directions, and respond to cues from the human.

2. Join-Up: A key technique in natural horsemanship is Join-Up, developed by renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts. Join-Up involves creating a round pen or enclosed space where the horse is free to move. The human uses body language and energy to communicate with the horse, encouraging them to join up voluntarily. Join-Up helps establish trust, respect, and willingness in the horse.

3. Desensitization: Natural horsemanship focuses on desensitizing the horse to various stimuli, such as plastic bags, tarps, or loud noises. The horse is gradually exposed to these stimuli in a controlled and calm manner, enabling them to overcome fear and become more confident and obedient.

4. Riding with Softness: Natural horsemanship emphasizes riding with softness and lightness. This means using minimal rein pressure and leg cues, relying more on body language and energy to communicate with the horse. Softness in riding encourages the horse to be responsive, supple, and relaxed.

The Benefits of Natural Horsemanship

Natural horsemanship offers numerous benefits for both horses and riders:

1. Improved Communication: By understanding and speaking the horse's language, natural horsemanship allows for clearer and more effective communication between horse and rider. This leads to better cooperation, responsiveness, and overall harmony.

2. Trust and Bond: Natural horsemanship places a strong emphasis on building trust and forming a deep bond between horse and rider. This creates a partnership based on mutual respect and understanding, enhancing the overall relationship and experience.

3. Safer Handling: Natural horsemanship techniques prioritize safety for both horse and rider. By focusing on trust and respect rather than dominance and force, the likelihood of accidents or confrontations is significantly reduced.

4. Better Performance: When horses are trained using natural horsemanship principles, they tend to become more willing, responsive, and relaxed. This translates into improved performance in various disciplines, such as dressage, jumping, trail riding, or western disciplines.

5. Increased Confidence: Natural horsemanship builds the horse's confidence by gradually exposing them to new and potentially scary situations. This helps them overcome fear, develop trust, and become more confident in themselves and their rider.

By embracing natural horsemanship, you can develop a deeper understanding of your horse, create a harmonious partnership, and enhance your overall horsemanship skills. Remember, always prioritize the welfare and well-being of your horse in any training approach.

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Julieth Bill

Hi, I'm Julieth Bill. Before I was a writer for the NBCpet.com blog I was known for inventive and unusual treatments of dogs, cats, bird, fish, snakes, horses, rabbit, reptiles, and guinea pigs. Julieth worked for major zoos around the world. He Also Receives Pets a Scholarship.

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