From a young age, I felt there was something lacking in my journey with horses. I was taking lessons, working off my horse board, showing, and not having fun. In fact, I was anxious about going in the show ring to the point I couldn’t eat for a day before hand. The horses I was riding were expressing their dislike for the approach by being hard to catch and developing displaced behaviors in their stalls. I didn’t know if there was another way to “be” with horses, but I knew if this is what “being” with horses was like, it was not for me. I shifted my entire focus and decided to stop my journey with horses and redirect to a different path.
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.
There are only two kinds of people in the whole wide world: Horse-Lovers and… the other kind.
However, there are seven different types of horse-lovers, and they are start with ‘N’.There are Naturals, Normals, Nuts, Nuisances, Nerds, Nervous—and finally—the Negative Knockers.
We all have our own personalities based on four things: innate characteristics, environmental influences, learned behavior, and spirit. Winston Churchill rightfully said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
When I was an adolescent, I used to go with my friends to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA. We would get paid 25 cents to walk a hot thoroughbred horse until he cooled down. That process usually took 45 minutes, so we thought we were sitting in tall cotton making all that money.
Every little cowboy wants to wear a pair of spurs. . .
In my opinion, spurs are one of the most misunderstood and misused pieces of real horsemanship equipment. Why do I say that? Because spurs are not really designed to make horses go faster: their real use is to go sideways and up and down.
If used artfully, spurs can help you obtain a higher level of communication with your horse. To do so, we need to develop the philosophy, concept, and skills needed.
So, what is the difference between and English and Western riding foundations with horses? Well, I have been saying for the last four decades that the only real difference between English and Western riding done naturally is the same difference between a fiddle and a violin. In other words, horsemanship is a foundation based on psychology. It’s based on more scope than depth—more lateral thinking and less linear thinking. Regardless of whether we have a horse that is bred to be English or Western, we give them the same foundation. The Seven Games in the Four Savvys to Level Four is a great start for a horse.
Fly control. It’s never a question of “if” the flies will return, but rather “when” and “how many”? But with so many fly-control products using heavy chemicals, you might be searching for some solutions that will keep you and your horses toxin-free while still reaping the benefits of seasonal fly relief. Today we’ll cover natural solutions to combating flies in the barn, including our secret (and all natural) weapon against flies year after year.
“It's all my parent’s fault…” We've all heard that phrase about a thousand times. People complain about their childhood and how they were raised. Well, I’m the opposite: I give my parents all the credit for giving me a great foundation before the specialization. They taught me to become confident, curious, responsible, and respectful. For them, I will be forever grateful.
Spooking is a common occurrence among horses because they are prey animals wired to flee from danger. But the mere thought of being on or around your horse when it happens can be scary for us, too. Find out how you can help your horse manage a spook using equine psychology and leadership, as well as how to handle your own emotions through the things that often trigger your horse.
You may have heard of the benefits of essential oils for yourself, but did you know that they can be used on horses, too? Essential oils can benefit horses in many ways, from aromatherapy to natural topical remedies. Read on to find out which oils are safe for equine use and how to incorporate them into your weekly routine.