I was thinking about what Natural Horsemanship means because I need to describe it for another part of this website. Perhaps those of you who are also PNH or NH fans could also post your thoughts. It is my hope that this site can introduce people to Natural Horsemanship in a positive wasy. I keep forgetting that not everyone knows what it is!

i was introduced to Parelli Natural Horsemanship (PNH) in April of 2003 where Pat Parelli was giving a 2 day seminar. He was presenting an alternative to traditional horse training. I had recently read a book by Pat that had raised some interesting questions in my mind. The first half hour of the show BLEW MY SOX OFF and Pat hadn't even been in the arena yet! His son Caton and Pat's students and instructors were presenting their own horses. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. I felt like I needed to pick my jaw up off of my lap! Over the next two days my ideas about horsemanship and training horses were turned upside down. Since that day, my life and my relationships with my horses were changed forever. This program is about forming a lasting partnership with your horse. It also teaches you a lot about life and how to apply these same principles to all the other relationships in your life. It has been a remarkable journey and one I would love to share . If you believe your horse could be your best friend and you could be equals instead of horse and master, then natural horsemanship will be right for you. Inside his heart and mind your horse is reaching out for a partner who he can understand and communicate with.That kind of bond is what Natural Horsemanship can help you find.

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Well Becky, you've done an amazing job of sharing it! I've looked it up and have done a bit of research, and it really truly is an incredible thing! To be so in sync with a horse like that... it's truly mind blowing. Honestly, I'm really thankful to have stumbled upon this site and learned what I have from what this site has to offer. I'm looking forward to new video posts and more forum topics.
Well Beck, it looks to me like you've done a pretty good job describing it! Pat Parelli explains it so well - Love, Language, Leadership, Knowledge, Respect, Dignity, etc. - all good tools in developing any relationship!
Hi there. I was also blown away when I saw, on a DVD, what Pat Parelli does when he works with horses. It is unbelievable!!! So I got the Parelli level one home study program and have been working through it. I've learned so much from Parelli that it far out shines everything i have ever learned about horses in my entire life. Even my parents are now hooked on Parelli and wants to learn it... :)
I think Natural Horsemanship is about working with horses in a way that they will understand and having them want to do things without us forcing them to do so with whips etc.

"The horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."
I have learned a lot from Parelli. The expense acn be a little staggering, and I see a lot of students who get into a linear learning mind frame and and up missing a lot that the program has to offer. If you are studying PNH my advice is do not get too obsessed with completing a level or doing the system step by step, but rather learn as much as you can about horseanality and figure out what games your horse likes and go from there. Feel free to experiment and don't get into the idea of 'right' and 'wrong.' Example: If you are learning circle game you can turn with your horse OR stand staute still. You can move the circle, you can do jumping jacks while your horse cirlces you- PNH is big into creativity, so don't get too concerned that for a L1 pass you need to stand still and pass the line behind your back- do it every way you can think of!!! (That is what Pat would do!!!)
What a great post! I was very direct line thinking in the program at first because I am a "I need to every thing correct" kind of person. I think it really did me good to take a step back from my Level 2 finish due to an injury to my husband. I knew I wasn't going to assess the rest of my tasks so I felt a freedom to play with the program. It made everything less a job and more about fun and enjoyment. Great ideas for Parelli students on this post. THANKS!
This is a brilliant subject, and I love all these replies. :)
Am sill finding my way around here. Is this the place to ask a question on the subject ?
It takes a while on here to learn your way around. I am still figuring it out and ponygal and I are site coordinators and creators. LOL. Feel free to post questions here. If it is off this subject and you want a new discussion topic just click of the discussion tab at the top. You can even send a message to all the members in the group that you have started a new discussion. If you have trouble send me a comment or a message which you can do on my page. (ridendurance) I can't wait to hear your reply to this.
:D Thank-you :D lol ..
The question is about Natural Horsemanship ...

What happens if you have a particularly dominant horse ? (One who will ignore questions and run AT the person in the arena. )

Am very pleased with the progress of my 2 mares, and they have taught me it is better to ASK rather than bribe or tell ! lol . I videoed them yesterday and titled it "How to catch and stable 2 mares in 30 seconds" ...

The subject of the question is the cob mare. She has reasonable days, but most days she prefers to bite people ! (not me, but she still likes to threaten). She has been with us 17 years, since a foal. Her dam was bad tempered (not our horse), but we thought the foal would be OK .... She seems happiest when she puts fear into our visitors. :(
I just ran across this question from you and am sorry I did not answer before now. For a very dominant horse I would use very strong responses. Always I would protect my space with this kind of horse and would use the catching game. Are you a Savvy club member? Pat and Linda may have posted some good advice in the Q&A on the site. For a horse that ran at me in the arena , I would definately use the catching game and drive him strongly away from me until he asked me if he could come in. Do you know the game I mean?
Your description of how you felt when first exposed to PNH is exactly what I felt the first time I saw John Lyons in action. Everything I thought I knew, not only about training, but about building a relationship with my horse was blown sky high. I was flabbergasted! I could never go back.

I guess I would define NH as working with a horse with the awareness that he is a horse and not expecting him to be anything else. It's understanding that if your horse is not doing what you want, you haven't explained it in a way that he can understand. It's understanding that horses are extremely intelligent, sensitive creatures who will "hear" the softest cue if you give them the chance. It's realizing that horses are all about body language, and that they understand our body language a million times better than we will ever understand theirs, and that we cue them unconsciously all the time.

You know, almost everything we ask of our horses is very unnatural for them, and we have to appreciate how willing they are to do these things for us.

"When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine...you know you are loved."
~ John Lyons
This is a beautiful description Suzanne. I wish I had found natural horsemanship many years ago but I am very glad I didn't miss finding it all together! It has in many ways not only changed my relationships with horses, but has become a part of my life that touches everything I do. It is a lifetime journey to awareness.
Yes, I wish I had found NH sooner too. When I did find it, I found so many things I wished I'd done differently in training the horse I had at the time, my beloved first Morgan, Runcheck Dear John, aka DJ. I'd already had him for 12 years and he was 16 years old.

But, proving that it really is never too late, I went back with him and did some ground work ah la John Lyons - what he calls "advanced leading exercises" - and it truly did improve our communication, something I wouldn't have thought possible.

I lost my dearly beloved DJ in March, 2002, our 20th year together. That's how Indy came into my life. He had even less training thant DJ, but he got the benefit of all the things I would have done differently with DJ - mainly just going much more slowly, "chunking" things into smaller pieces, and above all, patience, patience and then being patient.

I'd thought I was being patient with DJ, but I don't think I even knew what patience was until I learned it from John.

BTW, I just read your comment on my blog post, A Walk On The Mild Side. Thank you! I appreciate your comments very much. Agree that slow is better, and I'd intended to go more slowly with Indy. Just not quite this slowly! LOL!

John Lyons And Me

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