Many people claim to practice natural horsemanship. So many, that it leaves me wondering, what is it? Many play games. Some even ask if it’s natural for people to ride horses at all. Bill Dorrance (who most claim natural horsemanship comes from) says, “It isn’t natural for a horse to be around people, and it’s not natural for a person to be sitting on him either. When we use these words, we speak about what’s natural for the horse to do within his own boundaries.”
I believe it is natural for people to ride horses. God perfectly designed horses for the job. It is our responsibility to do it well. Herein lies the importance of natural horsemanship.
I believe it is laying a solid foundation that enables horses to be willing, confident, trusting and trying with feel and respect achieved without significantly bothering the horse. It is a whole training program and lifestyle that fits together to be effective and efficient.
The goal is to produce a horse that is your partner. This does require discipline and respect. Discipline must be done at the right time and in a way the horse understands. This requires feel. The horseman needs to under stand how to “get in and get out”. Give a discipline, get a change, and move on.
Use obstacles and tasks to increase their willingness and confidence. Start by practicing groundwork. An article explaining groundwork is on my web site. Once you can do the basic groundwork get creative. Send your horse over trail obstacles. Proper preparation is the key to success. Don’t send your horse over a tetter-totter on the first try. Start with a tarp, a bridge and then a tetter-totter. Once this works well on the ground try it in the saddle. Start simple and build from there. Be sure to reward the try.
With time and patience it all comes together. The product, if done correctly is a horse that is willing, confident, trusting and trying with respect.
Is your horse willing, confident, trusting and trying with respect?
Participate in an event designed to challenge you and your horse’s abilities and partnership. Enter a Trail Rider Challenge or Horsemanship Competition. Participating in events designed to promote good horsemanship give us a place to evaluate our progress. It helps us set goals and gives us something to work towards. Come out and give it a try! Beginners are welcome.
Would you like to learn more? Kelli Paulson offers lessons, clinics and training. Visit www.midstatesranchhorses.com or call 402-427-5515. Tekamah, NE.