What Is Natural Horsemanship?

Sandi Forester teaching clinic

Because of its rise in popularity, there are many natural horsemanship trainers and practitioners, and just about as many ideas on what natural horsemanship means. Natural horsemanship, in its essence, is understanding and working with the horse’s nature, rather than against it, to develop a willing partnership.

Regardless of your style of riding, your level of riding, or your breed of horse, it all begins with studying the horse in nature. This allows us to communicate, train, and partner with them. If we work to understand their instincts, natural behavior, and language, I believe the spirit of the horse and rider can come together in harmony, creating the true partnership that every horse-loving person hopes to have.

There are two types of leaders: one that bullies and one that leads through example. If horses are put in a herd with two dominant horses, they will always choose to follow the “passive leader.” Natural horsemanship is about learning how to be the kind of leader our horses seek.

What does natural horsemanship involve?

Amy Morris doing groundwork with LilyNatural horsemanship starts on the ground. I teach my students how to handle their horse correctly and safely, how to establish leadership in hand, and the correct use and purpose of lungeing and round pen work. The same positive reinforcement concepts that apply on the ground also translate to riding, working in harmony with classical dressage principles, giving you the tools to understand your horse’s nature, develop his body correctly, and create an unforgettable partnership.

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