Re: tips on natural horsemanship?
Totally agree with jenhavocmanny on this, these books were my bible's withg Coco who I can only describe as a nice natured thug when I bought him!
I think for me Natural horsemanship is more about training your horse in a non violent way that they can understand easily rather than some of the other methods which assume the horse knows what is expected of him and what you want him to do and get punished for not doing it, when a lot of the time the person hasn't explained to the horse, in a way he can understand, what you are asking. Kelly's books highlighted to me that I needed to set the boundary line, make him understand where the line was and what I expected of him a coulpe of examples are:
- he wasn't to fidget when I was grooming, booting him up and tacking up. Every time he took one miniscule step, I put him back wexactly one miniscule step to where he was standing before and where I wanted him. This took several days of very very long frustrating grooming sessions but once he realised that I wanted him to stand there and no matter how many time he moved, he got put straight back it happened very quickly and now he stands like a rock.
- When he got exciteable his head would be sky high, he'd throuw me around like a rag doll, squash me against wallls and it was like he couldn;t hear or see me he was so fixed and focussed on what was getting him going. Over time I taught him to put his head down to pressure (when horses put their head up coz they are exciteable, adrenalin starts to flow and they get even more keyed up so if you can get them to lower their head for a while the adrenalin ceases and they calm down) the same rules would apply top the fidgeting, if he moved he was put back to where I wanted him calmly, I asked him to put his head down, he would often fling it straight back up but I would keep asking him to put it back down and keep it down and after 30 seconds or so he would calm again rather than flinging me around, squishing me against the wall, pulling back and basically being uncontrollable! I never lost my temper with him, just calmly asked him again and again to go back to where he was stood and put his head down. With him it was keeping calm, being consistent all of the time and making what I wanted very clear to him. When he did what I wanted he got praise.
It has also helped me teach him to stand to be mounted, desensitise him to clippers, umbrellas, walk nicely in hand (even when exciteable) without leaping, striking out, bucking etc. Be turned out calmly and without swivellign and broncing across the field (2 of my freinds have had really nasty injuries turning a horse out and being kicked as the horse bolted off when the head collar was released), not mugging me for hay when I carry it across the field and going out on his own which was a major problem we had with serous napping and planting issues! Ground work is also a massive tool, gettign them to back away from you, move their quarters over, more their forehand over, lower their heads, walk towards and stop before they trample over you and I still frequently do 5 mins ground work if Coco is on his toes and a bit bolshy to re-assert myself as the one who makes his feet go where I ask and bring him back down to earth in a calm fashion again!
You can take natural horsemanship to many levels, people that work in harmony without equipment, bareback and bridleless is amazing however I have used it to a basic level to show Coco what I want, get what I want and him give it to me willingly as part of every day riding and horse handling. It will not be an overnight fix but once the horse starts to listen to you and understands what is expected the transition happens very quickly.