The work of a horse whisperer begins as soon as his gaze wanders over the paddock, his foot enters the stable or he hears the snorting of his horse. A magical connection is in the air and you immediately sense that something is different here. But what is it?
We would like to offer you a little insight into Natural Horsemanship. Maybe you will get a taste for it and take away a few tips for you and your horse for your time together.
What is Natural Horsemanship?
Horsemanship is a way of thinking, a way of life and a feeling of doing what is right for the horse in a natural way. It is not a training programme for horses, even though there are many great horsemanship exercises. The training and special techniques are adapted according to the needs of the animal.
The welfare of the horse always comes first. It is rather an observation and perception on the part of the human (the horse does this all the time anyway) and a joint development in the right direction for both.
Especially for a problem horse this is the right approach!
The right horsemanship equipment
Meanwhile every horse trainer offers his special working equipment. You will also find a small selection of various aids in riding shops. The range of prices varies considerably. If the name of the well-known horse whisperer is attached, you will quickly be a few bucks poorer. This does not mean that these items are bad. On the contrary, this equipment is usually well thought out. For example, many ropes used by professionals are made of robust yachting line with a so-called "living inner core". This core enables a very precise communication with the horse. Every little movement of your hand sends the impulse through the 4 m rope to your four-legged partner.
Try it out with a friend! Everyone holds one end and only one shakes the end of the rope gently. You will be amazed at the effect.
What else do we need?
A snug knot halter and a horsemanship stick (120 cm) are important.
When buying the "Knoti", make sure that it fits perfectly, that it is put on correctly and that it is used carefully. It can be very sharp if not used properly! Instructions on how to put on the halter correctly can be found on the internet. A video can be a good help!
The stick mentioned above is also called a "carrot stick". It is usually orange in colour (like a carrot) and has a Savvy String (180 cm) at the end. This stick is the perfect extension of your arm and you can make many signals clearer to the horse. For example, praising him at a distance or protecting your personal zone.
With special horsemanship equipment we can simply make ourselves more understandable. The horse understands this kind of "conversation" very well. Through posture to stick, rope and knot halter, the signals are picked up very finely by the horse. This creates a great, vivid to almost invisible (for professionals) dialogue between man and animal.
Horsemanship exercises that anyone can learn!
The well-known Pat Parelli has compiled various exercises. He calls them the seven games. These can be practised with the horse at different levels of difficulty.
The seven games are composed as follows:
- Friendly Game
- Porcupine Game (porcupine game)
- Driving Game
- Yoyo Game
- Circling Game
- Sideway Game
- Squeeze Game
Initially, ground work with the horse is essential. It forms a solid basis and prepares the horse for work in the saddle. All of the games mentioned above can be "played" with the horse as ground work and continue to increase (e.g. first in the arena, then in the field or with the addition of obstacles such as barrels etc...) until the horse is in the saddle.
Parelli gives you a guideline that has refined Natural Horsemanship.
Even a problem horse (unfortunately mostly a man-made horse!) will find its way around these interactions based on natural horse behaviour after a short time.
Ground work brings the horse back to basics. Eventually it understands them and can then engage with our predictable actions. As a horse whisperer, it is also accepted that pre-stressed animals need time and patience.
Where can I learn this?
We must be grateful to Parelli. He lets us share in his revelation and not only through the extensive courses of his trained instructors (e.g. Berni Zambail).
Books, DVDs, public videos and finally the whole network of the internet make it easier for us to get in touch with Natural Horsemanship. Because in fact this kind of horse communication is "learning by doing".
After all, a real horse whisperer did not fall from the sky.
The following is a guest article on the subject of "Natural Horsemanship" by Sarah Brummer.
What does Natural Horsemanship mean to me?
Humans can learn to appreciate the nature of the horse. This means learning to recognise the nature, the character and the basic needs of the horse and to respond to them first and foremost.
The holistic view of the horse and the human being is trained.
If one part of the whole is not taken into account, the balance can be disturbed
To be in harmony with nature horse, to find one's personal balance, to learn to centre oneself is the goal.
As a horse owner you should learn about the following areas or get specialists to help you:
- Behavioural science
- Attitude Feeding
- Hoof care
- Dental treatment
- Equipment science
- Breeding goals
- Breeds ...etc.
In my eyes, a true partnership with the horse can only develop when we as humans make an effort to engage as much as we can with our friend the horse and its issues and are willing to constantly develop ourselves further.
In a Naural Horsmanship lesson the human being learns to become aware of himself through conversation with the horse. The human learns movements with which he can make himself understood by the horse. The human learns to be empathetic, to recognise the horse in every second and to act on it depending on the situation.
The goal of every conversation is to relax and then open up to each other.
Only through mutual relaxation can horse and human think and learn.
Horses and humans have different ways of reacting to insecurities in conversation.
We can fall into the following behaviour patterns:
Attack / self-defence
Playing dead / freezing
Confrontation and discussion
The latter discussion and clarification of uncertainties is the goal. Because only when we talk to each other can we build a sustainable partnership.
We as humans have the task of explaining the human world to the fleeing horse.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah for this great guest post.