(Natural) Horsemanship: Booming business?

“Good riding is about having your horse soft, responsive and happy. If that is your measure of thumb you don’t have to reconcile anything between English or Western or whatever discipline”

 – BUCK BRANNAMAN

(Natural ) Horsemanship is booming! This is fantastic! It means that there’s been a significant shift in the way we want horses to be a part of our lives nowadays. Most domesticated horses today are kept for recreational and sports purposes. More than ever, people have the desire to improve and deepen the relationship they have with their horse, and to interact and work together in a way that is logical, healthy, and fulfilling to the horse, not just to the human. On top of that, the way we keep horses is changing for the better. Horses’ needs as herd animals, such as the need for pasture, continuous movement, grazing and social contact, are taken into consideration more than ever was the case before.

The term “natural horsemanship”, however, also causes confusion. Over the years it’s become a somewhat blurry umbrella concept which groups together many different and at times contradicting approaches to horses and horsemanship. For horse owners looking for a different way of being with their horse this is difficult, as the search for an approach that works for them and their horse can be the beginning of ever more confusion, and a journey that can last a lifetime.

I know what this is like. I also know that not everybody has a lifetime of time to devote to this, and that many people start looking for a better way because of a problem they are having right now.Therefore I’ve listed some of The Red Pony’s core principles:

  • Horses haven’t read the books and haven’t invented the rules; they don’t really do training methods…
  • Every horse is an individual. Therefore we try to avoid dogmatic beliefs and always/never convictions;
  • Every horse is a feeling, decision-making individual. A horse’s decisions are dependent on the clarity of our communication and the quality of ‘feel’ we present him with;
  • Horses naturally want to get along, and are always looking for a place of peace. They’ll do their utmost best to do what we ask of them, as long as we figure out how to present this to them in a consistent way;
  • People love their horses, and do what they think is best. The horse doesn’t express love in the way that we do;
  • Punishment is always late. This is why it doesn’t work;
  • TRP is not for or against shoeing. All depends on the situation;
  • TRP is not for or against bit(less) riding. All depends on the situation;
  • TRP is passionate about (young) horses’ foundation. All horses deserve as good a start as possible. This foundation will not only help them to get by in our world, but to shine in it, regardless of the discipline or purpose we choose for them as their riders;
  • Learning is hard, but usually it helps to stop clinging to what you think you know, but what doesn’t help you (any more). Yes, magic usually happens outside of that place of comfort 🙂

Got curious? Do you want to know more about the ways in which you can get your horse to become the bravest version of himself, or how you can help him better physically? Find more information here.