So, what exactly is Alternative Horsemanship? The term “natural horsemanship” has become a phenomenon with many professionals catering to the mass horse market.
There is an increased awareness in realizing there is a kinder way of working with horses compared to the old ways of “breaking” them. So many of the ideas found in books, videos, and DVDs teaching “natural” horsemanship, is unnatural for the human to instinctively understand. It is a new language for the horse enthusiast to learn.
The “general teachings” presented by many trainers and clinicians can unintentionally create undesired results when the hows and whys of concepts are not understood. This limits the progression in the partnership with the horse. It can also lead to stressful scenarios because of a lack of awareness in the human and misunderstanding of horse behavior. Not recognizing and addressing specifics when communicating with the horse can make the interaction feel overwhelming.
The term “Alternative Horsemanship” was suggested by a client of Sam's who realized she was using the same “concepts, timing and pressure” as horses would when interacting with one another, but presented in an alternative manner using our human thoughts and behaviors.
Samantha Harvey's Alternative Horsemanship training approach developed over the past 25 years of teaching. She is based in the USA, accepts a limited number of training horses, and teaches a variety of lessons. Sam offers clinics and Remote Horse Coaching worldwide. She works with a wide range of equine breeds, disciplines, and riders with her students varying from pleasure riders to internationally competitive enthusiasts.
Her goal is to help students learn how to build a quality equine partnership whose foundation is built on respect and trust. Riders will learn how to have a "conversation" with their horse to create mentally available and physically safe equine partners.
Sam has found that many riders and horses "go through the motions" and tolerate each other, creating a sense of having "survived the ride." She prioritizes teaching how to support the horse to "try" rather than ignoring any defensiveness in him.
She believes the physical actions of the horse are a reflection of his mental and emotional state. By treating each horse and human interaction as an individual relationship, she helps owners build trust and increase their own confidence.
Using a combination of explaining horse behavior, classical riding concepts, and positive support, Sam teaches students how to be supportive leaders to their horse.
When working with Sam, she encourages students to address the seemingly minor details that can create significant "cracks" in the partnership. This allows a continual progression that empowers students to independently use their newfound skills to work with their horse in the "real world," irrelevant of their chosen discipline.