BASIC TRAINING / THERAPEUTC RIDING PROGRAM
"The horse is always right."
Cazaux de Nestier (1684 - 1754)
Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness of how to harness the unique qualities of deaf horses in a training program. By following the basic priniciple of "Natural Horsemanship" below, you'll be able to develop the relationship you've always dreamed of with your deaf horse. Using the Natural Horsemanship principles you will establish an understanding with your deaf horse utilizing your horse's instinctive language and behaviors. Generally speaking, the horse is only doing what his natural instincts tell him to do. This applies the same principle to the deaf horses everywhere.
Bonding with your deaf horse using natural horsemanship involves an in-depth understanding of a horse’s natural instincts and body language. If you wish to train and bond with your deaf horse in a way that gains his/her trust and respect, natural horsemanship is definitely
the way to go!
Paul Harvey, the founder of DHA, candidly explains that deaf horses are like deaf people in many ways. Mostly notably, horses use silent communication, consisting of body language, facial expressions, non-verbal cues, gestures, and space awareness, to interact with their environment.
Mr. Harvey also has coined the phrase "Horse Sign Language" (HSL). Paul developed this unique idea of HSL after spending many hours studying the world's top natural horsemanship trainers such as Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, and Jonathan Field. He noticed that many horse trainers preferred to use mainly body cues or hand signals to communicate with their horses, especially with ground work. One compelling reason is that many wild horses instinctively prefer not to use verbal cues, otherwise they may alert predators to their location, putting themselves and their herd in danger.
In regards to the therapeutic riding program, we definitely hope that awareness of deaf horses will help to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, those suffering from abuse, or people struggling with life issues. Research has long shown that forming bonds with animals (including dogs or cats) increases people's quality of life. The opportunity to bond with a deaf horse which is able to function so naturally and gracefully with a disability can be a powerful thing. We have learned first hand what a moving experience this can be and know that others can also benefit from bonding with deaf horses.
We also recommend Parelli or Clinton Anderson's basic training program. Their teaching methods apply the same principle that will work with a deaf horse. Yes, they use the hand motions or stick signals within their communication systems when working with the hearing horse. You don’t need to be a “horse whisperer” or have decades of experience like Pat Parelli or Clinton Anderson. All it takes is an open heart and mind, along with the desire and dedication to learn and grow along with your deaf horse.
We hope our efforts will support others in their own endeavors of understanding and protecting deaf horses.
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