Having fun with your horse -Naturally Hello I am Ellie Neerdaels and I have been involved in natural training since 1995. In the way I think of it, "Natural Horsemanship"is not a method;it is a feel, a way of thinking, a way of being, a art of finesse. Prior to that, I primarily drove my horses in a cart and enjoyed competing in Combined Driving Events.
I have had the absolute wonderful opportunity to ride with and learn from Master trainers that have changed my life: Tom Dorrance - Ray Hunt - Buck Brannaman - Richard Thompson - Dave Seay - Dr. Miller - Pat Parelli - Mike Beck - Leslie Desmond - Terry Church - Frank Grelo - Joe Woulters - Jeff Griffith etc. The movie "The Horse Whisper" has created a whirlwind of interest and portrayed this type of training as almost a mystery. Most of us whisper (if you want to call it that) at some level or another. If there is any secret to it, I believe it lies in human desire - the desire to better yourself for the horse. Ray Hunt says it the best "To understand the horse you'll find that you're going to be working on yourself." Switching to natural has completely changed my thinking & outlook on life. I would like to share with you some of the information I have gathered and use. So what is Natural?For me, natural horsemanship is a philosophy of interacting with horses that goes far beyond "horse training." It considers the entire being of the horse: the mental, emotional and physical are developed by applying prey animal psychology and herd dynamics. The goal is to prepare the horse to consider your idea as his idea. In essence, teaching the horse to think in partnership with the human. This can only be achieved through feel. Feeling of the horse and for the horse. I personally believe there is nothing natural about natural training for the human, as we think so differently than horses. This is no easy task as we are predators trying to educate a prey animal. So the human teacher must first become a student of the horse and understand how to set limits and support the horse. There is a fine line between the use of force and effectively setting limits. To set limits, one must maintain an attitude of justice. There is no room for ego, pride and anger. The use of restraints and the idea of forcing the horse into submission simply cannot build the foundation and partnership with the horse that results in softness, willingness, and unity so desired but seldom experienced by equestrians. Restraints and gimmicks such as harsh bits, tie-downs, martingale & draw reins only accomplish increased forcefulness and limit your timing and effective release. Mostly they take away from the horse's thought process. All detrimental to training with feel!
Training the horse through feel allows the horse to think and brings about the transformation that begins with the mind verses training with equipment that forces the horse to physically conform. Most horses will conform, but true transformation comes from the mind. To conform or comply is physical, transformation is mental and emotional as well as physical. Willingness would be an outward reflection of the inward transformation.
Have fun being a partner with your horse
Above article written by Ellie Neerdaels & Tracy Auch
When I started applying natural training and later choose it as a lifestyle - it amazed me how it applied to every facet of your life; even your work place and relationships with other people. I love Richard Thompson's quote: "Life is just one big round pen, we keep going around and around till we get it right. Being aware of the depth of horse psychology and understanding how that applies to us. Understanding why a horse thinks and reacts the way they do helps us so we can work harmoniously with the nature of the horse. When we begin to invest in working in-depth with the nature of the horse we can realize the dividends that are so - so rewarding.