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

In: Society & Animals
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Sydney

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



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.

  • Birke L. “Learning to speak horse”: The culture of “natural horsemanship” Society & Animals 2007 15 3 217 239

  • Birke L. Talking about horses: Control and freedom in the world of “natural horsemanship” Society & Animals 2008 16 2 107 126

  • Birke L. & Brandt K. Mutual corporeality: Gender and human/horse relationships Women’s Studies International Forum 2009 32 3 189 197

  • Birke L., Hockenhull J. & Creighton E. The horse’s tale: Narratives of caring for/about horses Society & Animals 2010 18 4 331 337

  • Birke L. & Latimer J. Natural relations: Horses, knowledge, technology The Sociological Review 2009 57 1 1 27

  • Blazer D. Natural Western riding 2001 Scottsdale, AZ Success is Easy

  • Brandt K. A language of their own: An interactionist approach to human-horse communication Society & Animals 2004 12 4 299 316

  • Burr S. Dancing with horse whisperers: What horse(wo)men want 2006 Poster presented at the 2nd International Equitation Science Symposium Milan, Italy

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • D’Endrödy A. Give your horse a chance: The training of horse and rider for three-day events, show-jumping and hunting 1959 London J. A. Allen

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Devine F. Marsh D. & Stoker G. Qualitative methods Theory and methods in political science 2002 2nd ed. New York Palgrave 197 215

  • Game A. Riding: Embodying the centaur Body and Society 2001 7 4 1 12

  • Haraway D. The companion species manifesto: Dogs and significant otherness 2003 Chicago Prickly Paradigm Press

  • Haraway D. When species meet 2008 Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press

  • Hearne V. Adam’s task: Calling animals by name 2000 Pleasantville, NY Akadine Press

  • Heuschmann G. Abelshauser R. Tug of war: Classical versus “modern” dressage: Why classical training works and how incorrect “modern” riding negatively affects horses’ health 2007 North Pomfret, VT Trafalgar Square Publishing

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maxwell J. A. Qualitative research design: An interactive approach 2005 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA Sage Publications

  • McGreevy P. D. The advent of equitation science The Veterinary Journal 2007 174 492 500

  • McGreevy P. D., McLean A., Warren-Smith A. K., Goodwin D. & Waran N. McGreevy P. D., McLean A., Warren-Smith A. K., Goodwin D. & Waran N. Defining the terms and processes associated with equitation Proceedings of the 1st International Equitation Science Symposium 2005 2005 Broadford Australian Equine Behaviour Centre 10 43

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Miller R. M. & Lamb R. The revolution in horsemanship: And what it means to mankind 2005 Guilford, CT The Lyons Press

  • Monty Roberts Join Up Monty Roberts International Learning Center Certification Courses 2010 Retrieved November 8, 2010, from

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ödberg F. & Bouissou M.-F. The development of equestrianism from the Baroque period to the present day and its consequences for the welfare of horses Equine Veterinary Journal Supplement, 28 1999 26 30

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oliveira N. Reflections on equestrian art 1976 London J. A. Allen

  • Parelli P. Natural horse-man-ship 2003 Colorado Springs, CO Western Horseman Magazine

  • Patton P. Wolfe Cary Language, power, and the training of horses Zoontologies: the question of the animal 2003 Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press 83 100

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Podhajsky A. Podhajsky E. My horses, my teachers 1997 North Pomfret, VT Trafalgar Square Publishing

  • Sandin T. Rollkur—why not? 2001-2005 Retrieved November 8, 2010, from

  • Strauss A. L. Qualitative analysis for social scientists 1987 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

  • van Breda E. A nonnatural head-neck position (rollkur) during training results in less acute stress in elite, trained, dressage horses Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2006 9 1 59 64

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wipper A. The partnership: The horse-rider relationship in eventing Symbolic Interaction 2000 23 1 47 70

  • Wright M. The thinking horseman 1983 Sydney Edwards Printing

  • Young P. Evidence proves that in the right hands, hyperflexion is not abuse 2006 Retrieved December 15, 2006, from

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 570 336 26
Full Text Views 156 37 4
PDF Views & Downloads 38 18 2