Natural Horsemanship

There is a revolution going on in how we want to interact with and ride our horses. We no longer ‘break’ them to harness or saddle; we invite the horse to join us in a herd of two in which we are the confident & friendly leader. We learn to speak horse language, which is a combination of body language, focus, and energy; and we listen to what the horse tells us, so we become equal partners. Natural horsemanship is a natural and foremost practical way to interact with horses, in which mutual understanding and respect are central.

Training consists of

At Liberty Training

We connect with the horse at liberty, i.e. in total freedom, without tack and without force. Forming a little herd of two, we make the horse feel comfortable and eager to follow us by taking up the role of confident and friendly leader. Our methods are greatly inspired by the work of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling and Carolyn Resnick (see Library). By learning to use the language that horses use themselves and therefore understand instinctively, we can communicate with our horse in a natural and subtle way. Being herd animals, all horses speak the same language. It is up to us to learn from and adapt our communication to the individual horse.

Working Loose

We start the liberty training in the picadero with working the horse loose, using body language and the lead rope, that is, by leading from behind, changing direction, changing gait, halt, join up and touching. In a confident and friendly manner you learn how to show the horse you are taking on the leading role and how to communicate with your horse from the ground, which is basically the same as when you ride, using a clear intention, posture, focus and energy.

Working loose

Groundwork

With groundwork you practice a number of exercises with your horse, in order to establish your relationship based on your leadership. You invite the horse to walk shoulder to shoulder, and halt; yield the hind quarters; back up; indicate the way; make transitions to walk, trot and halt on a circle; standing square distributing the weight over 4 legs; flexing the neck; lowering the head in a forward down position, and lateral bending.

Join up

Natural Riding

A great point of focus in horse riding is to help the horse to carry its own weight, together with the weight of the rider, evenly distributed over four legs. In order to do so the horse should shift its weight more and more to the hind quarters. We achieve this by the use of proper, rebalancing half halts. Natural horse riding at Havana Horses entails finding your own balance (both mentally and physically) to become one with the horse's movements. To supple and straighten the horse, we ask the horse to move with LFS: lateral bend, a forward down tendency, and stepping under with the inside hind leg. For more information about our training methods, see also (see Training). We are building balance and strength both in horse and rider. Main goal is relaxation and fun. Not only in the way we interact with our horses, but also in a relaxed and natural riding style. Barefoot and bitless!

Riding with LFS: lateral bend, forward down tendency, and stepping under with the inside hind leg

We ride our horses without bit, with a rope halter or a bitless bridle. Before we start riding with a saddle, you ride with a bareback pad. Riding with a bareback pad helps you to develop an independent seat, to find your own balance and use your center or core for riding.

You can try riding with just a neck ring or even with nothing at all, only using your body language to communicate. In this manner you experience how you can communicate with your horse in a subtle manner. This natural style of riding is suitable for beginners and recreational riders, as well as for advanced and competitive riders.

Riding with tack... or with nothing at all

Barriers and Games

By playing games and barriers both you and your horse become more confident and you strengthen your bond, while you are having lots of fun!

Strengthen your bond