Natural horsemanship is a way of communicating and interacting with horses based on the observation of horses communicating and playing with each other.
It is a way to develop a partnership with the horse rather than just obedience.
It has been around a long time but has recently gotten popular since we know now It can be learned and passed on to one another.
Many similarities can be found between Natural Horsemanship and the upper levels of classical dressage where there must be a true partnership between horse and rider.
With Natural Horsemanship a beginner starts with the basics of this language and should understand that it is the connection with the horse that is most important.
An already advanced rider that brings in natural horsemanship into their horsemanship, will find a better connection, improved problem solving , and a stronger friendship with all horses.
The use of a natural halter makes it clear how a rider should use their body correctly to communicate and develop leadership. With a natural halter the horse is able to respond to pressure and release clearly. When a horse is responding with sensitivity to the halter only then he is ready to use the bit for more subtle communication.
Traditionally ridders control the horse using force, for example holding under the chin so the horse has to walk along side them. With natural horsemanship the horse walks next to us on a loose line or no line at all because we have developed leadership.
Many schools do not teach the basics of pressure and release which allows a horse understand a request . Without this your request will mean nothing to the horse. For example, riders are taught to kick every stride to keep the horse going. This is a lot of work for the rider and also the horse learns to ignore the steady nock. Most traditional schools teach a finished riding position from the beginning, therefore it can take years to develop your independent seat. With natural horsemanship the position of the rider is altered in order for the rider to feel how the movement works and when they are balanced. After this the finished position can be accomplished.
For an advanced rider who already has achieved an independent seat, the principles from the ground work are brought into the saddle and your communication continues to be through your body.
The basic difference between traditional and natural horsemanship is that natural horsemanship is more about developing your partnership with the horse and traditional horsemanship is more about riding.