In 1990, I wrote a book for Western Horseman entitled Natural Horse-Man-Ship, which outlined the Six Keys of Success. The Six Keys were simple: Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time, and Imagination. These Six Keys still exist (and at the end of the article, I will tell you about the seventh that I discovered after I wrote the book).
What is the difference betweennaturalandnormalhorsemanship?
Firstly, I’d like to start with synonyms of the word “normal”: conventional, common, average, or accepted. All of these words can certainly lead us to the heights of mediocrity, but not far beyond.
Now, let us look at the synonyms of “natural”: there are no known synonyms. But, according to Merriam-Webster, Inc., “natural applies to what conforms to a things essential nature, function, or mode of being.” The reason Pat Parelli coined the term Natural Horsemanship was because it is natural to horses and their way of learning and being. Using these methods, we can influence horses’ behavior in the way that we want them to behave by using the laws of nature.
Walk a mile in your horses horseshoes is what Troy Henry and Tom Dorrance tried to get me to understand!
Showing a horse who is boss was an easy concept for me to grasp as a young man. I loved horses and I loved the notion of being a good enough cowboy to make horses do what I wanted whether it was halter breaking a young horse, riding them for the first time , getting them to stop or turn quickly, rope a cow, or any other ranch duties. I found out quickly that if I stayed focused and worked really hard I could out-fumble most any horse, this is what I now call ” Young Man’s Disease.” You may have heard me use that term a lot lately and my intention is to help other young men realize that they don’t have to go through that process like I did.
It is true, to be really good with young horses one should be as confident as a lion tamer, as good a rider as a rodeo hand, as strategic as a CEO of a corporation, as mentally aware as a psychoanalyst, but one should lead with compassion, skills and TRUE HORSEMANSHIP KNOWLEDGE!