Thank you so much for reading. I’ll be covering the fundamentals of ground work, which is crucial and what you need to have a very firm grasp of before you ever actually get on an animal.
Before we can get into that we need to be on the same page regarding terminology and understanding. At the end of this lesson you’ll know the meaning of words like desensitization, impulsion, and flexion. By now you’ve probably gathered the techniques – I’m teaching you have been termed “natural horsemanship.” Natural horsemanship is not something I invented in fact it’s so old that is actually becoming new and hip again. To put it in simplistic terms natural horsemanship is attained naturally through direct communication, understanding and psychology. Where some normal horse training methods are sometimes obtained through mechanics like intimidation, fear etc. So as far as I’m concerned the horse is one of mother nature’s finest animals even if they can be nothing, but attitude on four feet sometimes. It only makes sense that they would provide a superior methodology to communicating with your equine. If you’ve done your homework and studied your horse in his environment you’ll have a better grasp of what you as a trainer must do to communicate correctly with your equine. Horses are extremely quick to form a relationship of respect with humans to treat them in this fashion. The results can be extremely remarkable. Firm but fair is a wonderful mantra to live by so please be careful not to confuse dictatorship with partnership when training your equine. Leadership comes in all different flavors and you want to be sure that you have one that is just right for both you and your horse. In each partnership there are expectations as to how each member will behave and there is an understanding or a code of ethics between the two people or in this case the horse involved in the partnership. Your job is to make the horse want what you want so you can both enjoy mutually symbiotic and professional relationship. All professionals practicing natural horsemanship will agree that teaching through pain and fear does not result in the type of relationship that benefits either you or the horse. Timing is everything and you as the handler need to be very aware of this. Base your techniques on the principles of reinforcement rather than physical force. Emphasize the use of ground work to establish boundaries and set up proper and clear communication with the horse.
We’re going to focus on complete communication with the equine through groundwork before we ever actually get on the animal. In this lesson we’re going to cover everything that you need to know in order to be proficient and successful once you get in the round pen. Now, excellence with horses and a strong lifelong partnership is what we’re all striving for with our horse. There are a few keys to making this happen and we’ll be covering all of them. I’d just like to briefly discuss each one of the points as follows. The keys are:
1) Attitude: you have to have a natural attitude. You want to be extremely positive and you want to be in tune with your horse at all times. People who are positive and progressive and who believe in the natural point of view of the horse will find success in their horse training.
2) Knowledge is the second key. That’s why you’re reading. You have to have knowledge of how your horse works, how your horse thinks. Most people think just like people and that’s okay unless you’re in the round pen with your horse and that’s a whole different ballgame.
3) Tools – you have to have tools that work and you have to have them work naturally with the horse. You can’t tell a natural horseman to do something with tools that he doesn’t utilize. You can always tell a natural horseman by the tools that he uses and you can also tell him by the tools that he does not use.
4) Technique. This simply refers to mastering your tools and practicing them as much as you can. This in turn forms your natural technique, which is key to success.
5) Time. Take all the time it takes that’s what I like to say. Take the time to do it right or don’t do it at all.
6) Imagination is also key to success. You have to have an imagination to be successful. You have a right to exercise it.
Qualities and Traits
Now these are the ingredients that will insure your success with your equine. For starters I’d like to cover 10 qualities that every horse person and his horse should possess. There are many types of people who interact with equines, but not all of them are equal. Equestrians have a good working knowledge of the horse and they are good riders, but neither of these necessarily equates to a horseman. My definition is as follows. A horseman is someone who is a good rider, as well, as a horse lover. He or she is knowledgeable as any equestrian and can share that knowledge with the horse that he rides. Now that’s what I believe a true horse person is so how do we accomplish this well there are traits that you and your horse as a team should possess that will help you to get there. The first half of a trait is heart and desire. Now this is a trait that both the horse and the human need to possess. We’ve all heard glory stories about a horse that runs faster and jumps higher out of heart and desire, but as the rider we need to be able to communicate to the horse that he needs to do what we want them to do and we need to have him love his humans. A true horseman will do everything he can to pass on this to his horse.