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What is Natural Horsemanship ?
Article by : Jorge Lisandro Montiel -  Translation: Susanna Greijer
 

To train and to break in a horse is, the way I see it, to be able to communicate with the horse, to understand it and to train it to become easily conducted, without ever using violence.

My method of natural horsemanship or, as I prefer to call it, non-violent horsemanship, may seem modest or even simple, but that is precisely the key to this philosophy. In a clear and logical way, and with an efficiency that has been clearly proved, it provides everyone with the opportunity to practice it, without fear of failure or of ruining the horse.

I do not believe in "fast-track" breaking, which aims at breaking in a horse in only a few days. This is why I take all the time necessary, without imposing any limits, to allow my horse to mature and to understand.

A good break in is achieved through a method that never subjugates the horse to fear, because a submissive horse will never achieve the movements of a well-trained horse, who is relaxed and able to move in harmony with its rider: One will obey thanks to the mutual understanding between horse and rider, the other out of fear.

 
ing. "The horse allows me to be in his blind spot, where he cannot see me. Thanks to his full trust in me he does not move."

Although theories of natural horsemanship or non-violent horsemanship receive more and more followers, this technique was originally practiced by natives in tribes and settlements of the vast Argentinean plains. Without applying a specific theory, they intuitively knew how to closely link with their horse.

However, it was not thanks to them that the method of natural horsemanship was spread to the rest of the world, but rather thanks to the book-based movie "The Horse Whisperer" by Robert Redford. All real horse lovers are greatly thankful to this movie, which made thousands of persons aware of and interested in this "new" method.

So great was, or is, the ignorance of the communication between man and horse, that those who understood this language and its gestures used to be called horse "whisperers" and where considered wizards or witches; able, by calmly and softly talking to the horse, to gain an amazing level of trust, which astonished most people. This myth is now being uncovered day by day, by those of us who communicate with our horses through affection and understanding, instead of relying on pure ethology.

 
The horse that I am training trusts me and wants to be with me.

This method of natural horsemanship consists of communicating with the horse through its own language, without ever using violence or submission. It means to establish a relationship based upon friendship, understanding, and mutual trust.

Different methods of non-violent horsemanship exist, and they all share the idea of doing no harm to the horse. Without any of them claiming to hold the absolute truth, these methods share the fact of standing up for the horse and for its good treatment.

Unfortunately, some people use the term natural horsemanship while using methods as violent as the traditional ones, proclaiming to use a theory that is not reflected in their practice.

 

The horse quickly learns different gestures and sounds, and I use them to communicate with him. Here we see how he halts when seeing my outstretched hand.

An antique philosophy of horsemanship is reawakening, which is about trying to think and reason from the perspective of the horse, discovering this precious animal and its almost unknown language bit by bit, and finding the way to establish a new kind of contact; more sincere, more natural.

Only lately have we begun to understand these beautiful animals, that for a long time have been used and abused without us trying to listen to their language or understand their nature.

For long we have kept on irrationally using old methods, sometimes very brutal ones, inherited from the past, which were dedicated to the subjugation and submission of the horse, instead of establishing a link based on harmony, understanding and affection.

This is natural horsemanship: the reawakening of an urge to truly communicate with the horse.

 
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