What is Natural Horsemanship

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					What is Natural Horsemanship?
Natural Horsemanship is a philosophy of horse training that utilizes a
horse's natural instincts. Techniques are varied; however, all have one
thing in common: pressure and release as a training mechanism.
Natural Instincts

In the wild, horses are "prey" animals-low on the food chain. Their
behavior consists of responding to stimuli by predators, fellow horses in
the herd, and natural conditions in order to survive. These stimuli can
also be considered a "pressure" to react. In domestic horse training, the
trainer applies "pressure" to the horse to generate a specific reaction.
Once the horse reacts appropriately, the trainer releases the pressure.
The horse learns by conditioning how to respond when given different
cues.
Body Language

A large part of natural horsemanship involves using body language. In the
wild, horses communicate with each other through body language. Horses
position their head, tails, ears, eyes and almost every part of their
body to communicate with others in the herd. Natural horsemanship
involves using body language to give the horse "cues" or "pressure" to
act in a particular way.
The Difference between Pressure and Force

Natural horsemanship techniques do not utilize force. Force includes
attempts to make a horse do things against natural instincts. Horses
experiencing actions they do not understand will run in the opposite
direction. "Cues" or "Pressure" are communicated to the horse via methods
they understand and can respond to without running in the opposite
direction. Trust is essential to training with natural horsemanship
techniques. Part of earning trust involves speaking the same language. By
interacting with the horse, and using body language it understands, the
horse will feel comfortable with the trainer and will be able to learn a
variety of behaviors.
Why Practice Natural Horsemanship?

The ultimate goal of owning and training a horse is pleasure and
enjoyment. Natural horsemanship techniques promote greater enjoyment in a
variety of ways. Horses trained with these methods are more relaxed. They
trust their riders/trainers, and thus will go the extra mile in
competition, or on the trail. Riders and trainers can feel more
comfortable around their horses, because they understand and interpret
their horse's behavior more easily. While sometimes unpredictable,
behavior of horses trained with natural horsemanship techniques is far
more predictable than horses trained without such techniques.
To learn more about practicing natural horsemanship, and connect with
others practicing the techniques, visit http://www.aanh.net

				
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posted:10/21/2010
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