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 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 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.
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 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
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 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 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
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.
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
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 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
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.
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:
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