‘Horsemanship’ means ‘the art or skill of caring for and riding horses’.
So accordingly, I define good and natural horsemanship as “the care, training and riding of horses in harmony with their natural behaviour, diet, movement and physical being.”
This means that someone truly practicing good and natural horsemanship will be doing the following things:
- They will understand or be learning about horse psychology and social systems (ethology).
- They will provide a herd situation for the horses to live in – other equine company they can touch (no isolation from others), with natural breeding and weaning practices.
- They will keep the horse in as large an area as possible for most of the time with access to shelter from all types of weather – no constant stabling, small paddocks or confinement to yards for more than a couple of hours at a time unless absolutely necessary (eg. severe injury).
- The will be feeding a varied diet of horse suitable (low sugar) grass, hay and grain (when required) with correct mineral supplementation to balance any deficiencies – includes providing salt at all times.
- They will care for their hooves with barefoot trimming and/or enough movement to self trim, and using hoof boots when protection is needed – no metal horse shoes!
- They will provide appropriate veterinary treatment, including worming on a regular basis as required for the man-made environment they must live in.
- They will train/educate the horse in a compassionate, respectful way that gives them confidence and allows them to move freely as nature intended – no bits, spurs, other equipment or methods that compromise the horse’s ability to perform at their best.
The following articles explore the aspect of training and riding of horses while their care is covered in the Horse Care menu above.