Partner Up With Your Horse
We have seen small children gain cooperation from huge horses, and new riders inspire confidence in a shy horse.
Partnering Up with your horse is an essential part of Otahuna Horse Riding's philosophy of connecting with your horse using Natural Horsemanship.
"Natural Horsemanship" is simply a means of communicating with the horse using the horse's own language, which involves focus, body energy, four phases of feel and a timely quit with appreciation of what the horse gives to you. It sets up your horse and you to both win. It is a style of being around horses that is very old, and widely used throughout the world, particularly by indigenous peoples. Natural Horsemanship has more recently been brought to the public eye by the promotion of Natural Horsemanship by horseman such as Monte Roberts and Pat Parelli whose clinics and demonstrations have made Natural Horsemanship accessible to those willing to learn.
We use, and teach the process, techniques and ways of being with your horse to maximise cooperation, trust and connection between you and your horse. It becomes deeply satisfying to expand on these qualities, and watch how "at one" you can become with your huge prey animal.
In this picture of Cathy with Angel you can see the high level of cooperation and trust developing between them. Angel is willingly and respectfully coming up to Cathy with her head down, exposing her vulnerable neck vessels in a quiet manner. In preparation for a ride, Cathy has been "playing games" with Angel before we introduce her to her rider. The games we play with our horses emulate the games they play with each other naturally while in the herd. They are played to establish leadership, gain respect and cooperation between horses, so we play them with our horses for the same reasons.
We now ride in rope halters instead of bridles and bits. This enhances communication with your horse rather than the use of force.
Kate has written a small article about how horses think: From Prey Animal to Partner Download a pdf.