Horsemanship is more than “Natural Horsemanship”
Horsemanship means “the art to deal with horses”.
Most people immediately link this to “natural horsemanship”, however, it is much more than that. Not every “NH”-trainer is a good trainer and not every good trainer is a NH-trainer…
It is true though, a good horseman is a very good horse trainer who manages the art to deal with and train a horse in a certain way without the horse going in opposition, is in pain, has too much stress, experiences pressure, …
A real horseman is above all not only focused on results, but also keeps the horse itself in mind! He lets the horse be who the horse wants to be.
“The inner horse”
A good horseman works with the “inner horse” and so takes the feelings and emotions of the horse into account. He/She observes very carefully what the horse can or can’t handle.
Every aspect of the horse is taken into account: the physical, the mental, the emotional, and even the spiritual. This maybe sounds a bit airy-fairy but it’s far from it. The spiritual part of each horse, their “spirit”, also needs space and to stay lively: being themselves, having a task in this live that fits them, to be able and allowed to trust and use their intuition….
Horsemanship & Mindfulness
Good horsemanship is being and staying in the here and now. That’s why I also call it “Mindful Horsemanship”, derived from “Mindfulness”. A mindful horse(wo)man doesn’t judge the horse, he/she doesn’t stick a label to it. He/she can let go of expectations without losing sight of the goal.
Gentleness, friendly assertiveness, calmness, being respectful, and confidence are the qualities of a good trainer/rider.
Trust en respect.
(Mindful) Horsemanship is working with complete respect for the horse, taking their natural qualities and needs into account. Controling pressure and punishment are not used. Work is based on trust, the horse is given time, the change to think along and to work together.
A robot or a being with self-expression?
At all times he wants to prevent that the horse starts functioning like a “robot”, mindless and forbearing to fed the ego of a trainer/rider.
No, a mindful horseman considers his horse as a self-thinking being that can take his own decisions. He wants to keep the fire in the horse burning and gives the horse always the opportunity to give his opinion.
He is open to the opinion of the horse and wants to learn of what the horse has to tell.
Horsemanship is self-development.
To be able to do everything mentioned earlier, a horseman needs to be very conscious of his own attitude, his way of being, feeling, thinking and doing. He has to constantly question himself and also, in every aspect of his life, he needs to develop himself. Only then you are a “mindful” horseman.
Horsemanship is just like dancing!
Horsemanship is the art of being together, working together and moving together. Similar to a dance, where both partners enjoy themselves and where both partners are equal. Because both are equally important and equally essential to perform the dance!