Communication as a Solution to Conflict: Fundamental Similarities in Divergent Methods of Horse Training

in Society & Animals
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Abstract

This paper examines the ways in which two methods of horse training generally considered divergent approach the concepts of partnership and conflict in human-horse relations. It focuses on finding similarities between the methods, both of which, it is argued, demonstrate the significance of communication in improving human-horse relations. Using interview material, the paper analyzes the practices and beliefs of individuals involved in natural horsemanship. In doing so the paper shows that communication between human and horse works to promote relations between them that are free of conflict. This analysis is offered as a potential “solution” to welfare problems that exist both within competitive dressage practice and within individual human-horse relations. The paper also examines how the fundamental similarities between dressage and natural horsemanship could point to universalized theories of horse training focused on improving human-horse relations.

Society & Animals

Journal of Human-Animal Studies

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