Natural Horsemanship Trainers:
Find The Right One For You

Natural horsemanship trainers abound these days for good reason. They have a lot to offer. Find a program that works well for you and your horse.

From John Lyons who is considered “America’s Most Trusted Horseman” to Karen Rohlf who teaches Dressage, Naturally, there is something for everyone and every discipline. Find the right match for you below.

Buck Brannaman

Buck may be the most well known  of trainers now for the new movie featuring his personal life and his training methods. In Buck, a winner at the Sundance Film Festival, he touts that more often than not, he is “helping horses with people problems.” Buck tours the country giving 4 day clinics ranging from the basics to cow working. He also has DVD’s such as “The Making of a Bridle Horse” and “Colt Breaking.” Buck has a quiet, gentle spirit.

John and Josh Lyons-Lyons Legacy Horsemanship

John Lyons is a pioneer in the way horse clinics have been delivered. His son Josh is following in his dad’s footsteps. John has been running clinics since 1980. His son Josh has a whole line of educational DVD’s from educating your equine in the round pen to rollbacks and sliding stops.

This father and son duo offer the Lyons Legacy Certification program. There are 3 levels of certification for natural horsemanship trainers. The Certification Course is the first level, Accredited Trainer Course, and then the highest is the Master Trainers Course.

Pat Parelli-Parelli Natural Horsemanship

If you want more information about Parelli Natural Horsemanship and the Seven games you can check out this page. Pat Parelli has been teaching clinics worldwide since 1981. Pat has learned from master natural horseman and trainers such as Ronny Willis, Ray Hunt, and Tom Dorrance.

He and his wife Linda currently study with the German classical dressage trainer Walter Zettl and are passing that information on to their students that ride in all disciplines. Parelli has also offered spectator seminars on colt-starting and gentling wild mustangs.

Parelli Natural Horsemanship has the Parelli Savvy Club for members, courses at the Parelli Center (now including horse driving training courses), training DVD’s, equipment and Parelli saddles. They have many certified instructors offering natural horsemanship courses and clinics world wide. Certification for natural trainers using Parelli start as 1 star trainee’s (who can teach groundwork training only) and go all the way up to 6 star master instructors. Pat also wrote the Western Horseman natural horsemanship book “Natural Horse-Man-Ship.”

Clinton Anderson-Downunder Horsemanship

Clinton Anderson is an Australian native with a reining background who now lives in the USA. You can read more about his natural method on my site here. Clinton tours the country on his Walkabout Tour, and has a members’ group called the No Worries Club. He also offers certified horses trained by his apprentices as well as home study training DVD’s. He also offers certification in his method for natural horsemanship trainers.

Chris Cox Horsemanship

Chris Cox has a Ride the Journey Tour where he features his natural horsemanship approach. Chris is very attuned to reading the horses’ body language, especially the horses’ eyes. Unlike other trainers, he does not use a round pen but prefers a square pen to “corner” the equine and add pressure when needed. Chris has a progressive DVD course as well as offering 3 and 6 day progressive horsemanship courses.

Monty Roberts

Monty Roberts learned the body language of the horse by observing wild mustangs in Nevada as a boy. He later went on to call this the language of “equus.” Roberts has run Flag is Up Farms, a Thoroughbred Facility since 1966. Known as “The Man Who Listens to Horses” Monty Roberts’ “Join-Up” method was put in the limelight after the publishing of his first horse training book “The Man Who Listens to Horses” in 1996.

Who encouraged him to write this book? None other than Queen Elizabeth II of England, an avid horsewoman who was so impressed with his demonstration she formally endorsed him and urged him to publish his work. Monty offers learning opportunities at his farm, and courses such as long lining and horsemanship 101. He offers Willing Partner horses which are trained according to his principles.

Karen Rohlf-Dressage, Naturally

Karen Rohlf combines the art of dressage with natural horsemanship methods. She has studied natural horsemanship directly under Pat and Linda Parelli. Karen has 20 years experience training dressage studying under “O” certified trainer Anne Gribbons. She has passed her USDF “L” judge with distinction, and was accepted into the “r” program. Beyond that though, I have personally audited one of her clinics and she has a wonderful sense of humor and a thorough, effective, yet very pleasant teaching style.

I love this quote from Karen

“Physical training is not the only thing necessary to do dressage, or any sport. The partnership, the mental and emotional connection between human and horse, is absolutely necessary in order to maximize the physical potential. Of course, if we train well, we improve them physically as we improve them emotionally and vice versa.”

That about says it all about one of my favorite trainers! Karen offers clinics around the country as well as at her farm, Temenos Fields in Florida. She also has written the book "Dressage Naturally, Results in Harmony" and has a 6-part DVD set called Results in Harmony.

Craig Cameron-”Complete Horsemanship from Beginning to Winning”

Natural horsemanship trainer Craig Cameron has a long history in ranching and studied natural horsemanship principles under master horseman Ray Hunt. He is known as the “Cowboy’s Clinician.” He has written the Western Horseman Book “Ride Smart” as well as “Living Western.” His DVD’s include “Ride Smart, What Knot to Do, and Back to Basics.” He also offers a full line of equipment including his own saddles.

Dennis Reis-Universal Horsemanship

Dennis Reis has been teaching his Universal Horsemanship natural training method for 15 years now. He has studied under several trainers and has his own club, The “No Dust” club. He also goes on tour as the “No Dust” tour nationwide. Dennis offers clinics, official clinicians and a four course home study package.

Stacy Westfall- Westfall Horsemanship

Stacy is famous for her bridle-less winning ride in 2003 at the National Reining Horse Association Freestyle Class. When I say bridle-less, I mean nothing on the horses’ head, not even a neck rope! In 2006 she turned more heads and won top honors for a bareback and bridle-less ride during the American Quarter Horse Congress. Stacy offers training DVD’s with topics ranging from “Teaching Your Horse to Bow”, a form of trick training to “Bridle-less Riding” as well as clinics. She currently does not have any certified natural horsemanship trainers available under the Westfall method but is looking to do so in the future.

Natural Horsemanship Trainers:
What to Look For

When choosing natural horsemanship trainers your style of learning and the trainers’ style of teaching and how those gel together is important. Attending a tour stop is a great way to get exposure, but you will probably want to dig some more and learn about each trainers’ philosophy.

Look at what educational opportunities are available. Do they have horse training DVD’s and books only? Are they available to teach you one on one? Many trainers have certified instructors. That may mean you can find a certified trainer in a particular method in your local area more easily.

Many offer natural horsemanship courses where you can bring your own equine partner to learn about their method, so keep that in mind, too. There are many variations of natural horse training methods. There are official programs with certified natural horsemanship trainers, and individuals that may or may not be certified in a certain method but follow natural horse training methods.

  • No matter the trainer or trainers you choose make sure they put the needs of the horse first, and that they don't do anything that compromises the dignity of the horse.
  • Use your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right, don't go there.

I hope you have enjoyed this glance at some well known natural horsemanship trainers.

Check out the following articles for more popular natural, positive based horse training techniques:

All About Halters
-Natural Trainers typically use rope halters, come see why

Clicker Training for Horses - This completely positive based method rewards positive behaviors and ignores negative behaviors, which quickly extinguishes unwanted behaviors.

Horse Training Tips - Visit this page for more natural insight

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