The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

THIS Is The Definition of Natural Horsemanship and Equus…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on June 11, 2010


This video portrays the truest definition I’ve ever seen on film of Natural Horsemanship and Equus. I cried my little eyes out and ruined all of my makeup on the way to work this morning when it came on my Zune player. (Thank you very much Sandra!) But it was well worth it to witness this relationship with dumbstruck awe and absolute admiration. Yes, I pulled off of the highway… Otherwise I surely would have wrecked because I literally just could not pull my attention away from this exhibition. So please, enjoy… but grab a hankie first!      T.

Notice that it is just her and the horse – no bit, no neck rope, no saddle. She just uses his pressure zones and pressure cues, nothing more.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Louie, this video portrays yet another human who has re-wired his mind versus re-wiring the mind of the Equine. The results are shown quite clearly in the animation of these very well adjusted Equids and their fluid relationships with not only the human but with the other Equines. What I find most interesting is the lack of fear the grey horse possesses when the human is running at him, full speed, to jump over the top of his back. This is evidenced by the position of his ears and posture of his head and neck. Had he been fearful or tensed / anxious, the ears would have pointed directly towards his back as the human made the jump and his head and neck would have “bobbed” upwards upon the impact of the human’s hands to his back. However, they did not even flinch. The relaxation and calmness of their energies are the ultimate goal of any relationship between human and Equine.

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23 Responses to “THIS Is The Definition of Natural Horsemanship and Equus…”

  1. jan eaker said

    WOW!!!!! that was amazing, thanks, tracie for sharing!

  2. Lisa LeBlanc said

    Well, that’s it fer me. I’m done. How’m I s’posed to ride after seeing that? All the crud I gotta put on my poor little ol’ mare, and I STILL screw up. (Mare loves me but is completely aware of my failings when not on the ground where she can keep an eye on me, and if she saw this video, would probably kick me in the foot…)
    Where was this kid when I needed her??!

    This was exquisite. There is nothing quite so lovely to watch as a smitten young couple at the Dance.

    • LMAO! Lisa, that’s priceless! I love it! Mainly, I love it because this is what I hear so often from students who come to me with the mindset that they will never be able to replicate these “unbelievable feats of horsemanship”, as one student in particular described it. These techniques are actually easier to produce from training than those that come from traditional saddle training. The trick is to re-wire your own thinking of the foundations, not the horse’s thinking. You use his language, not yours. You use his methods, not yours. So many times, humans re-wire the thinking of the horse to suit their own. When the horse is allowed to retain his own natural methods of movement and pressure zone reactions, the result is as you watched in the video.
      You’ll notice that at the end of the exhibition, Stacy placed a bridle on the horse as she was exiting the arena. The most likely cause for this that I can think of is that probably this horse came to her after being re-wired by another trainer. Therefore, her (and his) line of thought was that without the boundary of the arena walls and the fences around him, he may not necessarily remain at her side as he did inside. Additionally, with the other horses in attendance more likely than not being re-wired themselves, potential for interference from them is increased. (For instance, another horse displaying aggravation toward the horse, or extending a friendly greeting expecting the same in return – but from another re-wired horse, not a natural horse.)
      The most difficult task as a trainer is to re-wire an already re-wired horse. The purpose is to bring the horse back to his natural methods of communication with a result of a more fluid relationship between the horse and all of his surroundings. This could be anything from re-wiring his response to pressure all the way down to his response to the human carrying the feed bucket. (The feed bucket is “owned” by the human until such time as the human gives permission to the horse to partake, same as the watering hole is owned by the lead mare until she gives the same permission.)
      Don’t ever, ever, EVER stop reaching for new and inventives ways to re-wire your own mind to more closely resemble that of your Equine partner. You will find a more peaceful flow in your everyday life from this than from any amount of alternative methods.
      T.

      • Lisa LeBlanc said

        Tracy, my Friend and I are closely linked by past transgressions, before we knew each other – she had trainers who ‘punished’ to teach & I had a (step) ‘parent’ who was the same. I’m not sharin’ this for group therapy; I’m sayin’ that this Mare & I are Sisters of the Spirit.
        Before she & I became lifetime companions, she was trained by a woman I worked for who, while not AS brutal, was still very strict.
        Perhaps because of this, there has always been an enormous trust between us. Mistakes she’d been punished for in the past simply weren’t that important to me. I’d ask her for stuff and she’d say ‘yes’.
        Kelli & I are both social chickensh*ts (around new people & situations), but we respect & acknowledge each other’s strengths & foibles. My single regret is that I am not as knowledgeable as she is; SHE taught ME, quite by accident a number of years ago, how to perform Laterals. I ’bout cried my head off.
        She’s 26 this year. I’m 50 and fat, and have nerve damage to my hands from previous employment. We’ve been friends for 14 very excellent years. She and I will never be in the ribbons, we don’t ride for elegant appearance, but there is that most blessed of events – Time with My Friend.
        Wow. That all came out a whole lot mushier than I meant…

        • Lisa,
          I am so happy for you that you found Kelli, and more importantly that Kelli found You. It is so often that humans pick the Equine based on attributes other than kinship. This is not always wrong; most times the kinship is found after the acquisition. But when the two come together as a result of the kinship, the bonds are that much stronger.
          I applaud your intelligence to recognize the strengths and weaknesses the both of you have, but more so the ability to rely upon each other. Where one is weak, the other can be strong. Balance.
          Thank you graciously for sharing this. It actually just made my evening after a rather difficult confrontation.
          T.

  3. Jan said

    this is how the native american rode their horses

    • Jan, you are very correct. This method is as old as the relationship between Equine and human, for it was with this method that the very first relationship began. Several have attemped to take credit for it over the years, and some have even built monumentous fortunes for taking that credit. But rest assured, this is nothing new. My own grandmother utilized these methods that she had learned from her father and grandfather. I am so very grateful that I was blessed enough to begin this life’s journey under her tutilage.
      T.

  4. LOUIE COCROFT said

    WOW–LOVE IT!!!!
    WHAT I LOVE IS HOW EACH GENERATION TAKES IT TO A NEW AND HIGHER LEVEL.

    • Louie, I love that you recognize this! So many among mankind’s folds don’t. Thankfully, there have been members of the generations that have done their best to improve upon the wrongs that have been left un-righted. Lessons Learned.
      T.

  5. I saw something a minute ago that made me step back for a second and think, Wow, are you so wrong!
    One of the comments listed under the YouTube page for the second video stated that it showed a great display of obedience. Obedience? Are you kidding me!?
    This is no more a display of obedience than a video of Patton giving one of his speeches is unpatriotic! For pete’s sake! This concept of making horse “obey” humans is completely and totally the reasoning behind so many of the horrible situations trainers and rescuers see in their work.
    You do not make a horse obey you. You ask a horse POLITELY to grant your request. If the polite questioning does not does produce the desired effect, you ask again. You do not force a horse to obey. Doing so goes against every last drop of Equus’ essence itself. The “obedience” isn’t even requested when discipline is being utilized by means of the Equus language. Your ultimate goal is not to produce obedience, rather it is to teach lessons that once learned will protect the horse from dangerous situations for both his own safety and the safety of those around him.
    Sorry, my soap box has been lathered up quite a bit today.
    T.

  6. Linda said

    I’m off to the Parelli Open House/Pagosa Springs/CO on the 19th. Went last year and was totally flabbergasted! Everywhere I looked there were amazing examples of the human/horse bond, but what impressed me the most was the FUN they all had together.

    • Exactly! Most Equestrians have difficulty distinguishing the differences between what they currently have and what the could have in the relationship with their Equines. Most look to their canine companions for the active on-the-ground fun. They don’t realize they could strengthen the bonds between themselves and their Equine partner and have a BLAST doing it!
      T.

  7. LOUIE COCROFT said

    IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE HOW THIS COULD BE IMPROVED UPON. DOESN’T SEEM THAT IT COULD GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT.

  8. LOUIE COCROFT said

    WARNING GIRLS–DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

    • revei39 said

      Louie, you should read the comments on youtube for the second video. A little girl wants to try that on her pony!

  9. revei39 said

    Absolutely amazing! Both videos are outstanding!
    The guy riding the horses is Jean François Pignon. He is famous is Camargue, which is in Southern France where there are a lot of wild horses.

  10. LOUIE COCROFT said

    Revei39–I saw that comment. The video was emailed to me from a horse loving friend. I’ve been looking for a way to get it out there so everyone could see it. Thanks to Tracie, it finally is.
    I can’t even imagine what the next generation will be able to do, but it will be fun to watch.

  11. LOUIE COCROFT said

    I also saw that he and his wife work together in the show–wonder if they know about our wild horses and burros and what is going on here. I see that there are a lot of horse lovers in France. This has become an international isssue.

  12. R. Thompson said

    Just got around to watching this. Discovered I’d seen it before just after her performance in Columbus, Ohio at the Quarter Horse Congress. I was in awe then and am in awe now. V-e-r-y few horsemen or women ever reach this level of equine relationship.

    It’s something I’ve only wished I could accomplish, more in a dressage pattern than a reining pattern, but similar none the less.

    As *T* has said, it isn’t obedience. No, it is symbiosis of bodies and spirit. Period.

    You may not ever achieve what you’ve just seen, but never stop trying.

    • true15 said

      My favorite part is the symbiosis between humans and horses. It is an unspoken bond, and obviously very different from anything imposed by force. By watching the second video, I understood a little bit more about the way a herd functions. It has everything to do about cooperation and communication. This is the stuff of dreams.

  13. R. Thompson said

    Mustang Sally video is also fascinating. One thing stood out to me. The horses lying down and at total ease. How many of us can do that regularly with any of our horses? I have had precisely one who would relax to that degree.

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