Our Training Philosophy
Mark and Becky have studied the methods of Natural Horsemanship through clinics given by Ray Hunt and Tom Curtin. We have also studied Pat Parelli.
We believe that Natural Horsemanship allows a relationship without dominance, a team without fear, and harmony without intimidation. It also brings willingness from the horse and handler, but the number one key is that it is about safety.
Origins of Natural Horsemanship
Natural Horsemanship was first developed in ancient times. The idea of working with a horse's nature goes back to Xenophon and his treatise On Horsemanship, which has influenced humane practices in many types of horse training.
Natural horsemanship involves working with horses by using their natural instincts and herd mentality. It involves communication techniques that horse use themselves so that humans can build a partnership that is similar in nature to other horses. In essence it is communicating with your horse in his own language.
Horses are herd animals who have evolved by escaping predators. Because of this, horses have a highly developed system of communication which can be seen in their body language. Natural horsemanship involves learning the signs that horses show with their body language and using these signs to communicate with the horse.
This does not mean that the horse has the upper hand. If you watch horses, you will see that the herd leader can be quite demanding in a firm but fair way, and in a human horse relationship the human must take the position of the leader for the safety of both the horse and the rider.
Groundwork is a key to establishing boundaries and setting up communication with your horse, with an emphasis on timing and consistency from the handler. Pressure and release or giving to pressure instead of pain, are key components to this kind of training. The object is for a horse to feel safe and calm throughout any training process, and for the person to feel safe and confident with the horse.
Quotes From Well-known Trainers
"You're not working on the horse, you're working on yourself."
"I've started horses since I was 12 years old and have been bit, kicked, bucked off and [trampled]. I've tried every physical means to contain my horse in an effort to keep from getting myself killed. I started to realize that things would come much easier for me once I learned why a horse does what he does."
"A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."
"The thing you are trying to help the horse do is to use his own mind. You are trying to present something and then let him figure out how to get there."
"When people think of natural horsemanship that could mean a lot of things. It isn't natural for a horse to be around people, and it's not natural for a person to be sitting on him either. When we use these words we speak about what's natural for the horse to do within his own boundaries."
What Our Boarders Say
"When I toured Cedar Hill Farm with Mark and Becky Holt, I knew immediately that I wanted my horse Chloe there. The Holts have created a place that combines the best equipment and barn facility with an irreplaceable home atmosphere, safe, comfortable, and fun! You can sit down with them and just talk horses, the Natural Horsemanship methods they've studied and used, or tack-up your horse to train in the ring or arena. This is a one-of-a-kind place that has to be seen and experienced to be believed."
G. Thompson and Chloe