At V.E.T.S. we work with a style of training loosely know as “Natural Horsemanship.” There are many schools of thought on the term “Natural,” but I’ll focus on the underlying philosophy of Natural Horsemanship as I see it. This is treating horses like horses treat horses. In a nutshell, that means with empathy, respect, compassion and love. This is the starting point for understanding the idea of Natural Horsemanship.
Treating horses like horses treat horses
Empathy is at the heart of all the training and relationships at Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services. Empathy is a communication tool. Learning to listen to your inner feelings and be open to their effect on others around you is a basic skill in understanding herd dynamics and equine communication. “Know yourself to know others.” Take time to understand your moods, emotions and frame. Learn where they come from, how they feel when they start to surface. Learn if your emotional state is having a positive or negative impact on those around you (your herd). Once you start to master your emotional state you will better understand others and the motivation behind their actions as well as their emotional frame.
Treat others like you would like to be treated
In the end, “Treating horses like horses treat horses” translates to treating others as you want them to treat you. This is the beginning step to learning empathy and learning to better communicate with your human and equine partners.