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Alpha Natural Horsemanship

‘Ask with lightness, encourage without forcing, correct with softness’

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Understanding Natural Horsemanship

Humans are predators with a natural instinct to fight so for a successful relationship with the equine, we need to learn to think like the equine and truly understand their ten natural survival instincts.  The bases of Natural Horsemanship are Compassion, Communication, Cooperation and  Happy, Healthy Equine.


1.     Compassion

This is when you make an effort to always consider your equine’s point of view first, then to know enough about equine behavior to decide how you will effectively communicate to your equine that you are the herd leader, so your equine will feel safe following your decisions.

  • Do you always consider how your equine feels?
  • Do you really care about your equine’s quality of life?
  •  Can you empathize with your equine’s feelings?
  • Are you doing things for the equine – not to him/her?

2.     Communication
Basically horses communication with Body Language and Movement.  Please know that Mules are different so I recommend you read Horse versus Mules.  Comfort and discomfort motivate your equine so we use various types of pressure and well timed releases/rewards to show the equine what we want.  Communication must be consistent to be understood.


  • Do you have a clear communication system that your equine easily understands based on body language
  • Communcation can be telepathic too
  • Do you understand how equines communicate with each other?

 

3.     Pressure and Release

Equine learn from the release of pressure and not the pressure itself.  There are three kinds of pressure we can use to communicate our wishes to equines:  


  • Friendly Pressure Is about getting our equine used to all the objects we want to use around/on them.  Equines learn to trust us when they overcome their fear so we use friendly pressure to de-sensitize our equine to all the things that aren’t natural for them.  ie; our tools and equipment, human things in their environment and things they are naturally frightened of..
  • Rhythmic Pressure Friendly pressure is also rhythmic and uses approach and retreat to help the equine get used to scary things, gradually.  Is moving the equine away from the rhythmic motion of our bodies, a stick or rope. Rhythmic  pressure teaches a equine to yield to a suggestion.  Pressure can be applied from our body, hands, ropes, sticks or string.  The pressure should start as light as air then decrease the distance between you and the equine and/or increase the rhythm until you get a response.  Phase 1 can be just focus with energy in your body and phase 4 is touching the equine with rhythm.  
  • Steady Pressure Is moving the equine away from constant, graduated pressure of the rope, hand, leg or our seat.  Steady pressure teaches a equine to follow a feel.  Pressure can be applied from our hands, legs, seat, ropes and sticks and is mostly used when we are close to the equine.  The pressure should gradually increase, as a continual touch starting from phase; Hair, Skin, Muscle then to bone, to get a response.  If you always start at phase 1 with focus on soft rhythmic pressure in your cues and body language your equine learns stay soft on the inside; to be light on the outside and very responsive.  Steady pressure and Rhythmic pressure together can help a equine learn new things easily and to respond to lighter pressure (phase 1 or 2).  For example; if you are using rhythmic pressure to yield your equine backwards, by adding steady pressure to the lead or reins with your hand, you will not need to use a high phase of rhythmic pressure.  If you are yielding your equine’s hindquarter by using steady pressure where your leg and pump the rein with rhythmic pressure, your equine will yield to a lighter phase.

4.  Cooperation and Understanding
Cause our ideas to become interesting enough for them to want to do what we ask.  

  • ·Reward them well by reinforcing a good behavior with releasing the pressure and praising. 
  •  Have a focus, be fair, be assertive if needed and flexible enough to fit the situation. 
  • Give your equine a job to do or make training fun through tasks  or train while on the trail rather than always in the arena.  
  • If our equine makes a mistake allow it, then correct it and the praise him  
  • Ask, hesitate/pause this allows the equine to figure out what you are asking, if he do not do what you are asking tell it is needed by adding addition cues until he does and when he does do what you are asking; repeat at least four times and praise, praise, praise.

 

“All we need are a few main ingredients to convince a equine we are a leader:”

·         Trust – through proper step progressive desensitizing and sensitizing exercises.

·         Two kinds of pressure – steady (follow a feel) and rhythmic (follow a suggestion).

·         Focus – emotional,  physical and mental for both equine and human.

·         Feel, Timing and balance (that independent seat factor).

·         Having a plan – “A Goal without a Plan is just a dream” for the end result and daily sessions.

·         But Adjust – To the equines personality and be prepared to be flexible in most situations.

·         Read your equine and use common ‘equine’ sense and think ahead to reduce unwanted incidents.

·         Be able to diagnose what isn’t working (ie. Respect, trust, responding or reacting and use the right tools to fix it.

·         Use step by step progressive exercises and patterns to help a equine find comfort, to learn and relax then build on them incrementally.


HAVE FUN & BE SAFE!