Sunday, April 19, 2015
Natural Horsemanship Trade Show 2015
The Natural Horsemanship Trade Show 2015 was a fun success hosted at Natures Run Equestrian in Port Perry this year. It is a time when we come together to celebrate and share natural horsemanship.
What I love about the trade show and the Natural Horsemanship Association (NHA) is that it's about promoting natural horsemanship - not a specific method, approach, or person. Everyone involved truly wants to understand horses better and get the horse to understand us better. It's about communication and leadership not intimidation and fear.
Watching the demonstrations throughout the day it was great to see that even though there were many different instructors and clinicians, there were still many common themes and similarities for each approach to natural horsemanship.
Jesse Cassidy Skof started the morning with demo on getting emotionally connected with your horse and coached a student with her off the track Thoroughbred through some exercises to show what they have been doing to help build this connection.
Laura Boyle spoke to us about being light and soft with our horses and touched on some different leadership styles we may have tried with our horses in a humorous way. Are you a nagger? Dictator? or Wishy Washy? She encouraged us to be clear in our intent and to let our horse do it's job.
I did a demo with my recently purchased, straight from the track, TB gelding - Cupid - who I'm training for the Kentucky Racehorse Project TB Makeover Contest that will be in Kentucky Horse Park later this year. He was extremely upset and nervous when he entered the ring and I showed how by moving his feet forwards, left, right, back, sideways that I could help get him to emotionally connect to me without running him in circles and causing a sweat. This also complimented Laura's talk showing what it looks like to be as soft as possible but as firm as necessary.
Kaileen did a demonstration for us on FEEL - which is allowing the horse to teach us. It's about having these beautiful, emotional, and perceptive animals reveal things about ourselves by how they react to us.
Laura, Amanada, Jesse, and myself did a demo on horse agility and what to expect from the new show series - what will obstacles look like, and how will you be judged.
Tom Shields did an enlightening demo with Kahleesi, another off the track TB mare. He talked about leadership, being consistent, using body language, and keeping the horse's attention. He also promoted moving the horse's feet and driving the horse's body to cause focus, bend, and attention - NOT pulling on the lead line or going after the horse's head. He was able to get Kahleesi to start relaxing her posture and stretching down instead of being 'uptight'.
Jesse, Laura, and myself did a demo for the upcoming NHA show series for our 'Mounted Obstacle Challenge' - this time us riding through obstacles and demonstrating some different levels to the courses and obstacles.
DJ Murtagh did a demonstration with his horse - Clyde - and talked about being a good leader for the horse, moving his horse's body around to cause the shape and focus he wanted, and then spent some time answering questions from the audience.
Shelley from the Contented Equine gave us a presentation on horse health, taking an accurate horse weight, and body scoring.
The day wrapped up with a demo from myself on working with your horse offline (no ropes or halter) and riding with no bridle explaining one of the approaches you can use to work towards that goal.
All in all it was a great educational day with so much information, as well as great food, and excellent vendor displays and products.... and great door prizes included lesson packages, clinic spots, horse imaging, auditor passes to clinics, and more.
I hope to see you at the NHA horse shows!
Lindsey - NHA president