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What is meant by natural horsemanship?

Definition | Natural Horsemanship
A criticized concept

My definition

Natural Horsemanship is a very criticized concept.

The name itself is somehow debatable. We do not have much time to lose with sterile controversies, so I will just make a note about the marriage of these two words:

  • Natural: “existing in or caused by nature, not made or caused by humankind”.
  • Horsemanship: “the art or practice of riding on horseback”

By combining these two words, we are facing a semantic problem.

First, the acceptance of the word “natural” implicitly considers that man is outside nature.

Second point, this definition of the word “horsemanship” implies that the time spent on the ground with a horse, at the pasture or in the stables, etc. would have no influence on his behaviour or on our relationships with the animal.

I strongly disagree with both definitions and therefore submit to you the following:

“Natural Horsemanship is a body language developed by man to communicate with all horses without ever inflicting any pain, whether physical or psychological.”

big word - easy concept

All this is about hedonistic horsemanship

I take the opportunity to address the subject of the definition of Natural Horsemanship to add a touch of philosophy which, in my eyes, is essential: this is a hedonistic horsemanship.

That’s a big word, but it’s pretty simple if you forget all the clichés.

The philosopher Michel Onfray has a good definition of hedonism: “An introspective attitude to life based on taking pleasure yourself and pleasuring others, without harming yourself or anyone else.”

That is, in my opinion, a good approach of life and people in general.

Buck Brannaman, as his mentors Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance before him, is a hedonist horseman as he shows everyday how you can interact with a horse without harming him ever. More than that, he shows that you can make the horse enjoy the moment. And that is exactly what I intend to do when I am with horses.

In a few words: never touch a horse with a whip, but only with a caress!

You will have to question yourself, your way of life, your relationship to others, the status of animals and any other living beings, your priorities in life, etc. And that is the most difficult part of all the program!

Step-by-Step Method

Ready to try?

I offer you a comprehensive method to start natural and ethological horsemanship, complete with well-documented, illustrated guides, and videos for each type of exercise:

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