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.
HeuschmannG.AbelshauserR.Tug of war: Classical versus “modern” dressage: Why classical training works and how incorrect “modern” riding negatively affects horses’ health2007North Pomfret, VTTrafalgar Square Publishing
McGreevyP. D.McLeanA.Warren-SmithA. K.GoodwinD.WaranN.McGreevyP. D.McLeanA.Warren-SmithA. K.GoodwinD.WaranN.Defining the terms and processes associated with equitationProceedings of the 1st International Equitation Science Symposium 20052005BroadfordAustralian Equine Behaviour Centre1043