Natural Horsemanship is label that has become widely used but it is really just the study of horse behaviour. Call it Equine Ethology, Horse Whispering or just being good with horses, learning how to cause the horse to do things rather than making him do them, will revolutionise your horsemanship.
If you can truly understand why horses behave the way they do, you can easily start to influence them and to affect their behaviour. This is SAFETY. If you can understand how horses learn and teach them to interact with you with softness and feel then you will enhance PERFORMANCE. If you feel safe and can make progress towards your goals, those frustrations most of us have experienced at some point in time will fade and owning a horse will be FUN.
This style of horsemanship is not new, many of the great horsemen through the ages have encouraged others to understand the horse’s point of view and to work with his nature rather than against it.
Throughout the 20th Century, a small number of great horsemen have been teaching a way of using psychology and body language to talk the language of the horse, to earn the right of “leader” in your small herd of two. By offering the horse feel and softness and assuming the role of a teacher, he will very willingly follow.
Monty Roberts was one of the first horsemen to bring this new way to Britain in 1989. Pat Parelli has developed a Home Study programme which is followed the world over. Mark Rashid has written some informative and thought provoking books, and Ken Faulkner understands that the way to a horse's emotions is via his feet. There are truly great horsemen like Ray Hunt who have built on the legacy left by Tom and Bill Dorrance and Ronnie Willis. You will also see similarities in good classical riding.
Today there are Ethologists proving the science behind Learning Theory and defining Behaviour in many species besides the horse. By combining the practical skills learnt from the master horseman and having an understanding of the science underlying behaviour, there is now a clear route to allow your horsemanship to develop into an art form
There are a number of masters, schools and programmes where you can learn how to get along with horses. There is also much information out there in the form of books, DVDs and on the internet. There is a huge opportunity waiting for anyone wanting learn how to become a "horseman" rather than just a rider or just a groom, to be the sort of person your horse will take an interest in rather than being pretty functional to them.