Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Natural Horsemanship Thoughts

Natural Horsemanship has really come to the forefront in my adult riding lifetime.  Obviously NH has existed for a long time, but it seems like it has become much more prominent in the equestrian world for the last 20-30 years.  I've always respected what I've seen of various NH trainers and their various techniques without ever getting too far into the details in the differences of the various NH schools of training.  I have always done a fair amount of liberty schooling, bitless, and bareback riding without ever really delving into NH in depth.

This all changed when I decided to try Tristan Tucker's online TRT Method.  He is an Australian Natural Horseman based in the Netherlands who is also an upper level dressage trainer known for working with hot sensitive dressage horses.  I am 3/4 done with the modules(full review with video coming when completed) and I have to say it has been a training revelation.  I have learned so much about reading a horse, applying pressure, and setting the horse up for success and I was not by any means a novice horse trainer.  In an interesting aside, my vet came out for shots recently, and after a few minutes with Jet asked why he was so quiet and calm.  I explained a bit about the TRT Method and when the vet was done with all three horses he commented that whatever I was doing was very obviously making a big difference.  Interesting to have him confirm what I already thought.

Anyway, this whole foray into more of the details of NH then led me to Karen Rohlf's Dressage, Naturally.  Dressage, Naturally has been an eye opener about how to have a light, willing, happy dressage horse that is classically correct.  Obviously, the best horse trainers of all disciplines have elements of Natural Horsemanship in their programs, but it is really interesting to explicitly explore NH techniques to improve my dressage. 

What have your NH experiences been?  What have you found helpful/not helpful?  Any programs you highly recommend?


  1. I love Karen Rohlf's approach. She has such great ability to know the right thing to do in any given situation with impeccable timing, not to mention cares deeply about the horse's experience. I also have a high regard for Buck Brannaman. I found working with my horses with natural horsmanship set up a language system for horse, not quite horse and not quite human, that really helps your horse be more teachable and trusting in you.

  2. I really have gotten a lot out of the TRT Method as far as ground work, etc. but Karen Rohlf's Dressage, Naturally has been a real eye opener as far as classical dressage. I like the NH aspect but the way the horses do dressage is actually correct!