Natural Horsemanship Bashing

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No matter which sport, riding discipline, or horse activity group we look at, we will always find people who do things TO horses and people who do things WITH and FOR horses. This is rooted in the rider's personal development and character and not the "club" they belong to.

I have many friends who are natural horsemanship students who are great technical riders and have awe inspiring, intuitive connections with their horses. The gifts and skills that they have reach far beyond horses. They're good with horses, because they've been working on themselves for quite awhile as humans.

And then there are those students who want a better relationship with their horses, because the thought of it feels wonderful next to the frustrations of life, work, and family. Horses are therapy for so many people. But because they've just started, they have almost no awareness of the horse's perspective yet, and they're fumbling and forcing their way through exercises that they're doing TO the horse.

They're both on a path with a genuine desire to be and do better, even though the later is not as far along and not a pretty sight. They're both good people with honorable intentions.

Anyone who may consider themselves an authority on horsemanship enough to criticize that struggling student, would probably have handled many, many horses in their riding career. They may even reflect on the fact that some horses are pretty troubled by the time they find "help" from a good trainer.

Those struggling horses don't readily accept the offer of harmony right away and frequently brace into a kind hand, until they are ready to release that way of being. The first rides are rarely pretty, as the trainer is steadily there for the horse, while allowing the horse to find his own mental and physical balance. That's the way lasting improvement happens.

You see, struggling students come in all shapes and sizes, and it would be awfully unfair to judge a trainer or a training system by a snapshot of where their student is on the path. Out of necessity, the most troubled horses need the best trainers, and it's not uncommon to see them together in the same ugly picture.

Having "feel", whether you're talking about horses or humans, is about setting aside judgement so that you can see the best in the student, and then helping them realize your vision. ...otherwise you'd just be one of the folks who do things TO others. If you can't visualize the best in others, that's OK. Just look somewhere else.

I know, it's hard to offer humans the same unconditional love that we find for horses. Heck, there are many people who can't find that for their horses or themselves, let alone others, and that's just where they are.

I just wanted to point out that the sooner we realize that we're all in various places on the path to being a better version of ourselves, the sooner we can quit bracing into each other. That sure would make for a more pleasant journey. 

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T. Recer
We had a great day of training with Maria. I'm so glad that I can have my son learn a safe and peaceful method of horsemanship and not the wack'em, … read more