This is one debate I try to stay clear of, its a bit like asking who do you vote for? Opinions vary greatly and I’ve seen discussions become very heated. However, I feel that by calling myself a “natural” horseman (or woman as the case may be), I would rather give my opinion on my terms. So here it is.
I have been an on again off again Parelli student since the early 1990s. Stick with me, this is going somewhere! I’ve seen the system grow into what it is today. What I like, and have always liked, is that it is a fantastic way for someone who doesn’t know where to start, to start. Its very simple and works for most beginners. What it did for me was develop my eyes.
What that means is it brought me to the point that I could go see professionals and understand what they weren’t saying. It has a great way of doing that. What I don’t like is the monetary value put on the program. You can go as far as you can afford, and I think that is limiting and slightly unfair. But enough about that!
Back to the subject. Once my eyes were developed, my horsemanship changed dramatically. There will be a post about that another time. I have been involved with dozens and dozens of natural and traditional horsemen and woman.
My problem with the “natural” vs “normal” (or traditional really), debate is that it cuts out an opportunity to learn something. There are a lot of fantastic horse people out there. Some call themselves natural, some call themselves traditional, some don’t even know how good they are. They all have something to contribute, and they all deserve the respect earned through producing a well mannered, happy, obedient and calm horse. You put yourself in a box, and you lose the opportunity to grow and develop.
I align myself with natural techniques, however you won’t find what I do in 1 book, or listed under 1 methodology. I am always learning, and always take the opportunity to learn more. You may say I’m sitting on the fence, however, I can see a lot more up here then on 1 side alone.
A great horseman once said to me “even if you learn what not to do, you’ve learned something”. I wish I could remember who said it, but they really are words to live by.