Commercial Natural Horsemanship vs True Natural Horsemanship

Horses that are either inflicted with pain or threatened
continuously with pain via the use or presence
of the whip has nothing to do with natural horsemanship.
Abuse is abuse in any way you serve it.
- Felicia Allen, Founder

In an age where

quick results and the broken spirits of horses are plenty by self-professed “horse whisperers”, some of the cruelest methods are used by these individuals on horses under the banner of Natural Horsemanship:
fearful horse
A whip is an extension of the human arm to the horse.
Horses know that whips are not human arms. Horses are highly intelligent. Besides, why would we want a horse to move away from or fear our arm?
Whips make horses submit.
Sure they do. Whips also create fear, apprehension, mistrust and stress. Can you respect and trust someone who carries an instrument of harm?
A rope around the neck controls a horse.
The neck is a very delicate structure and almost anyone who has a rope around their neck that they cannot escape must obey. This does not teach a horse to be relaxed and comfortable with a person.
Waving stuff hanging from sticks is a game to horses.
Horses are flight animals and instinctively move away from objects with things attached that create movement or noise.
Teach a horse not to spook with a rope around its neck and a long whip to make it go forward
Sadly, commercialized natural horsemanship with an aim for quick results at a quick profit routinely put horses through these horrific exercises in public workshops. Anyone who has witnessed these animals trying to escape pain or fear will never forget the animal's stress, desperation, anxiety and eventually, dread of human contact.
Commercial Natural Horsemanship has one constant: The people have to have a whip in their hand. Without the whip the horse would likely not respond since the individuals have no idea how to communicate in a humane language that horses can understand.

The outcome for horses that are continuously taught with whips and other abusive paraphernalia is that the horse becomes stressed, anxious, untrusting, unsure and eventually lives only to avoid fear or pain in its relations with human beings. The stress often comes out in physical breakdown since the horse must be on constant alert when there is a whip or other instrument of abuse being inflicted either by presence or by contact.

The photographs below show what is considered Abuse in the Epona Academy of True Natural Horsemanship (the horses speak for themselves):

  • image1
    How often in the horse's life will it need to walk on a tarp? Does the presence of the whip and rope around this horse's neck suggest trust and confidence?
  • image2
    Is this horse reacting to the whip and rope or being receptive and trusting of the person?
  • image3
    What does this horse's facial expression tell you?
  • image4
    Does this horse look confident and trusting or hesitant and confused?

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The statements and information on the Epona Academy web site are the sole copyright of Epona Stable and Farms Ltd. Any replication, duplication or use of the True Natural Horsemanship methods and philosophy without written permission are enforceable as a copyright infringement. The Epona Academy Of True Natural Horsemanship is a division of the Epona Stable and Farms Limited established in 1975.