Natural Horsemanship

“A way of training and riding horses safeguarding their spirit, mind and body”, Luca Moneta.


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Natural Horsemanship is a philosophy of working with horses based on the horse’s natural instincts and methods of communication, with the understanding that horses do not learn through fear or pain, but rather from pressure and the release of pressure. Natural horsemanship trainers must use firm but fair force when necessary to ensure the safety of the rider or handler, as well as the horse. We simply do not use fear or pain to motivate the animal, nor do we attempt to force the animal into submission. ‘Relationship’ is the key word.

Horses are social herd animals, evolved for social interaction and the ability to escape predators. The horse has a highly developed communication system practiced primarily through body language. It is possible for humans to learn to use body language to communicate with the horse. Horses use ear position, head position, speed of movement, threatening gestures, showing of teeth and swinging of hips, and many other gestures to communicate. Similarly, in natural horsemanship, the handler or trainer uses body language along with other forms of gentle pressure with increasing escalation to get the horse to respond. Horses are quick to form a relationship of respect with humans who treat them in this fashion; firm but fair. The natural horsemanship practitioners object is for the horse to be calm and feel safe throughout the training process. A horse that feels calm and safe with his handler is quick to bond with that person, and the results can be remarkable. The human must be knowledgeable of the horse’s natural instincts and communication system, and use this knowledge in his work with the horse.

Most Natural Horsemanship approaches emphasize the use of groundwork to establish boundaries and set up communication with the horse. This can include leading exercises, long reining and liberty work. Natural horsemanship has become very popular in the past two decades and there are many books, videos, tapes, and websites available to interested equestrians. The ultimate goal of this philosophy is a calmer, happier and more willing partner in the horse. Some well-known trainers considered to be practitioners of natural horsemanship in the late twentieth century include: Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, John Lyons, Buck Brannaman, Monty Roberts, and Pat Parelli.

Italian international rider Luca Moneta, Animo Testimonial, is one of the best and weel-known rider who practices riding based on Natural Horsemanship and ethological principles. In these pictures, Neptune Brecourt and Jesus de la Commune, Luca Moneta’s top horses, togheter free in the field.