Category : Resources

DVDs: La Leçon Indispensable de Frédéric et Jean-François Pignon (English subtitles) / quote

I knew their names for a long time: Frédéric and Jean-François Pignon are two great showmen and although their shows are remarkable, this is not really my thing. So, I never took the time to go deeper in their work. But here comes that DVD, focusing on their philosophy and way of life, not on circus and tricks. That is the essence of the Pignon brothers and that’s a beautiful pearl!

This DVD is a must-see to all those who want to “play” with their horses without having any idea of how horses think and respond!

The harsh law of the world of horses. Horses don’t live in a Teletubbies world. It’s rather violent, actually.

La Leçon Indispensable de… , Jean-François Pignon

DVDs: la Leçon Indispensable de Frédéric et Jean-François Pignon
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DVDs: A Real Horse Whisperer by Monty Roberts / quote

Many people told me how wonderful Monty Roberts was, what a great method he had developed and I really wanted to know more about that horseman… Well, I have been very disappointed! Naturally, I started with his major DVD, that is Monty Roberts: A Real Horse Whisperer as I wanted to understand the man, his method and in particular his famous Join-Up.

I didn’t create anything at all, I only discovered what nature already had in place.

A Real Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts

Join-Up: one of the most famous horsemanship marketing product

So many people advised me to learn more about the Join-Up to work with horses that I spent some time to study many videos of Monty Roberts, read some articles related to this practice and some “scientific” comments. In A Real Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts explains the (supposedly) genesis of his method: Monty’s theory is said to be based on facts observed in nature _ a mare preventing a colt to come back to the herd in order to punish it. At first sight, it sounds quite pleasant, but Monty Roberts’ practice of the theory is completely different:

DVDs: The Real Horse Whisperer by Monty Roberts
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Books: Natural Horse-Man-Ship: Six Keys to a Natural Horse-Human Relationship by Pat Parelli / quote

From my very first researches about natural horsemanship, I found many mentions of Pat Parelli and his methods. I had the opportunity to watch some videos which pushed me away from this horse(business)man. Yet, it was about time for me to read carefully and analyze his main book Natural Horse-Man-Ship as I received many questions about Parelli instructors…

Horsemanship is nothing more than a series of good habits.

Natural Horse-Man-Ship, Pat Parelli

A rich NH (Natural Horsemanship) background

Pat Parelli started his equine career like most of us: he was passionate with horses, but HE had the chance to meet great horsemen who taught him all the basics. We can easily observe the strong influence of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt all along the book. Indeed, he regularly mentions how important it is to adjust to the situation, to feel of the horse and for the horse, to make our ideas become the horse’s ideas, etc. Sometimes, he just copies and pastes concepts _ which I do not criticize as we do not have to re-invent the wheel all the time and something good should be used, recycled and reused:

Books: Natural Horse-Man-Ship by Pat Parelli
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Books: Oeuvres Complètes de Nuno Oliveira / quote

Nuno Oliveira is a master of classic dressage, some say THE maestro of Haute-Ecole. For sure, he is a reference when dealing with dressage and I was amazed to read him: there is so much in common between classic dressage and natural horsemanship.

I have read and analyzed Oeuvres Complètes (the complete works) by Nuno Oliveira in French, yet I will refer to books that have sometimes been translated and published in English: Reflections on Equestrian Art (1965), Classical Principles of the Art of Training Horses (1983), Horses and Their Riders (1987)…

There would be a lot to write about Nuno Oliveira. In a few words, we can say he is the direct descendant of Xenophon and all the hedonist horsemen who followed this path. The dressage master often quotes French horsemen such as the Captain Beudant, but even more important: François Baucher and François Robichon de la Guérinière.

Ask much, be content with little and reward often.

Captain Beudant

Oliveira is to Dressage what Dorrance is to Western riding

I consider these men as cousins in horsemanship: Tom Dorrance was the mentor of many great horsemen, he was said to have a gift with horses, a special understanding; Nuno Oliveira has the same aura in the world of classic dressage. Both have exported their image out of their nations, both have lived for horses. I was literally stunned to read Nuno Oliveira speaking about Feel, Timing and Balance.

Oeuvres Completes de Nuno Oliveira: Classic dressage and Natural horsemanship have a lot in common
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DVDs: The Making of a Bridle Horse by Buck Brannaman / quote

DVDs: Buck Brannaman describes the different stages from the snaffle bit to the hackamore to the bridle...
The Making of a Bridle Horse is a set of three DVDs: the first part describes the education of a young horse in a snaffle bit, the second part deals with the intermediary level in a hackamore, and the third part presents the two-rein horse that will eventually become a bridle horse.

In short: great DVDs, but definitely not for beginners!

Buck Brannaman gives a short (total three hours) presentation of the complete education process of a bridle horse. It is very interesting to see different horses at different levels and this horseman’s skills are always a great pleasure to admire.

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DVDs: Buck Brannaman 7 Clinics / quote

That set of DVDs has been edited and published by Cindy Meehl, Director of the great movie Buck. She had hundreds of hours of footage and picked the best parts to show more about Buck Brannaman horsemanship and philosophy.

Each DVD is cut in several chapters and introduced with thoughts and interviews of Buck Brannaman: On Groundwork, What I learnt from Ray, On Release, On Fear, Getting to the Feet, On Gimmicks, Buck’s Approach

We can divide these DVDs in three sets: Groundwork, Lessons on Horseback, Problem Solving & Words of Wisdom.

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DVDs: Ray Hunt Colt Starting Series / quote

Resources: DVD Ray Hunt Colt Starting Series
Ray Hunt Colt Starting is a two-DVD set of real-time horsemanship, Ray Hunt starts four colts over three days.

Do not try to catch a horse, try to get it ready to be caught.

Ray Hunt Colt Starting

All Ray Hunt’s philosophy is in this kind of sentences delivered from time to time along the video.

His book Think Harmony With Horses explains it better but the DVDs are a pretty good illustration of his approach: suggest to the horse, let it find its way, do not force it!

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Books: Think Harmony With Horses by Ray Hunt / quote

Ray Hunt is considered as a mentor by many well known horsemen in the USA. He actually recognized that he owed a lot to Tom Dorrance who opened doors for him. Yet, when you read this book you can clearly see that Ray had its personal point of view.

Think Harmony with Horses: An In-depth Study of Horse/Man Relationship is composed of three parts: the first one is written by Ray Hunt himself and enunciates its gentle and comprehensive approach of horses, when the second deals with practical questions he has been asked along the clinics, finally the third part has been written by one of his students to expose the actual methods used during a clinic.

Tom Dorrance inheritance

Of course, we can find Tom Dorrance’s philosophy in these pages:

Horsemen: Think Harmony With Horses by Ray Hunt
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DVDs: A Day With Tom Dorrance / quote

Resources: DVD A Day With Tom Dorrance
It is a matter of listening and understanding what the horse is trying to tell us.

A Day With Tom Dorrance

A Day With Tom Dorrance is a DVD of almost unedited footage, two and a half hour spent with Tom Dorrance to discuss particular horse problems and see how he solves these issues.

It is commonly accepted that Tom Dorrance was one of the greatest horsemen, and reading his book True Unity is definitely a jewel in the mass of business books published every year.

Yet, I was not convinced by the DVD.

We can hear Tom Dorrance enunciate some of his principles as he is presented different horses having different horse problems. Seven horses are studied, from simple issues to more technical problems.

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Books: A New Illustrated Edition of J.S. Rarey’s Art of Taming Horses / quote

J.S. Rarey is probably one of the firsts who helped to make Natural Horsemanship technique known to the public. He was probably also one of the first horse(business)men. John Rarey was an Ohio farmer of the 19th century who understood and applied the NH basics. He enounced three fundamental principles on which he built his theory:

  • That [the horse] is so constituted by nature that he will not offer resistance to any demand made of him which he fully comprehends, if made in a way consistent with the laws of his nature.
  • That he has no consciousness of his strength beyond his experience, and can be handled according to our will without force.
  • That we can, in compliance with the laws of his nature, by which he examines all things new to him, take any object, however frightful, around, over, or on him, that does not inflict pain — without causing him to fear.

These principles are clearly related to some concepts already mentioned in Natural Horsemanship: consistency, gentleness, desensitizing. It is quite interesting to read along the book some concepts and ideas that were contemporary to Xenophon more than 2,000 years ago.

Resources: book A New Illustrated Edition of J.S. Rarey's Art of Taming Horses
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