Natural horsemanship requires trainers to put in a lot of time and effort into getting a horse trained properly. Experts say that nothing can substitute for experience and persistence when it comes to learning how to train your horse using the principles of natural horsemanship
Patience is the key
Natural horsemanship is based on the conviction that horses respond better to training if their instinctive behaviours are the basis for relating to them. Another important principle is to respect the horse to gain his trust. Trainers therefore have to spend a great deal of time and effort understanding the instinctive behaviours of horses in general and the specific behaviour patterns of their horses. Because of this, great patience is the key to the realm of natural horsemanship, where nothing can be done overnight. Horses are prey animals so it takes a lot of time and patience to earn their trust and build a relationship based on mutual trust.
Start by assuming that your horse has never been ridden or has been ridden very little. Making this assumption will prepare you to train your horse from scratch and accept that it will take a long time before you see the results that you want.
A minimum of 300 hours is required.
Horses need to be ridden for about 300 hours before they get used to being ridden. Since they should not be ridden for very long periods during initial training, it would take you over a year to get a horse comfortable to being ridden. That is even if you ride five days a week for the recommended maximum of one hour per day. If you only plan to ride and train your horse during weekends then it is going to take you a very long time indeed.
Consistency and Persistence
Consistency is another key ingredient in natural horsemanship. If you do not follow a set training schedule, you will have a very hard time getting your horse trained. For instance, if you train intermittently, only when you feel like it, or take long unscheduled breaks then you would have wasted all the gains you would have previously made and would practically be starting from scratch when you resume your training.
In natural horsemanship, 300 intermittent hours does not equal to 300 unbroken regular riding hours. Not only will the former take longer in terms of elapsed time but the total number of riding hours will have to be increased as well since it will take longer for your horse to get accustomed to being ridden.
The first 300 hours are just the beginning though. After that, you will need additional 1000 – 1500 hours of training to turn your horse from being inexperienced to being a strong, reliable riding partner who is responsive to your guidance and trust you to be his leader.
Consistency, persistence and patience pave the path to natural horsemanship.