My take on the NH post in the Vermont Horse Community group by Ross Jacobs/ Good Horsemanship
There is no such thing as Natural Horsemanship as a training concept. It is a brand name used for the marketing and repackaging of traditional style horsemanship. Its like Hoover has come to mean a vacuum cleaner, but it’s actually just a brand of vacuum cleaner.
Tom Moates wrote an excellent chapter about this in his book “A Horses Thought – A Journey into Honest Horsemanship.” You can read what Tom has to say about Natural Horsemanship by going to his web site.
NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.
“repackaging of traditional style horsemanship”.
I have to respectfully disagree here. In my opinion, there is nothing Traditional about being in the Natural world. Granted there are times when for extreme cases, the last ditch effort to have a horse come around is to go to the extremes and maybe lay a horse down. I have seen the best do this and if it were not done, and the ground rules set firm, the horse, very dominant and spoiled, treated like a pet and it went bad, would be off to the meat market. The only hope would be before it hurt some one badly or itself. That horse today is still a poster child for when you have to go there. He is a perfect horse! Even in this extreme need to find a solution a more feeling natural approach is better than what is depicted in the Photo.
“NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.”
As a Parelli supporter and being very proud and thankful of it, “Natural Horsemanship” has become a very big business no doubt. Mr. Parelli is a master and has more natural ability in his little finger than I could hope for. Knowing Mr. Parelli’s more Traditional rough around the edges background in the rodeo world, he had an innate ability when opportunity knocked to see and be, a softer way. There is no way a person involved in the Parelli program who really studies it, can not take the road less traveled. In my opinion, this is the way of Natural Horsemanship.
Maybe Mr Parelli, is the poster child for NH, but Hoover, is a great brand too! I say, well done and move on. No grudges, no chips on shoulders, just great appreciation for the doors that opened for all the others who followed, including me.
As there is no horse alike and no human either, NH has to be, and become individualized. For me, I try to emulate my mentors, visualize moves and sayings and techniques. Ultimately though, its me, in my time, my environment, with my horse(s), so I have to make it mine, ( work for me and who I am). I practice what I preach and express this to all my students.
For Sable View it’s Hybrid Horsemanship, for others Good Horsemanship, or Honest Horsemanship, No Dust Horsemanship, TTouch, Clicker. these are all forms of more natural horse foundation or re-foundation work. Regardless of the name, it needs to be harmless , helpful, and inspiring, with results that make a positive difference in the horse world. No matter how big or small . I always say the reason there are so many clinicians out there is to suit the many different types of humans who seek help reconnecting with their horses. More times than not its the human who needs to reconnect with themselves and the horse is simple the ultimate teacher… patiently waiting for the right answer! I know this is true for me.
I will continue to segment the article and give my take on it in future posts. It is a meaty article, and I appreciate how it causes me to reflect, assess and appreciate who I am, what I do, and how I do it.