Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 5

The Natural Horsemanship marketing space is getting a little crowded, and it's becoming harder and harder to create your very own trademarked True Way to Horse Happiness. So why not invent something like Humanship instead? Notice the site is called "True Humanship" which implies there's already an alternative and totally wrong "False Humanship". The great thing about Natural Horsemanship is that it's endlessly extendable: change the name a bit, move the key words around a bit, imply that Those Who Have Come Before got it all wrong, and you've got your very own market niche.

This guy takes the marketing pizzazz of Natural Horsemanship, adds a bit of psychobabble, mixes in some of the Emoto-and-Chopra inspired quantum reality changing paradigm, and mixes it all up to make an unintelligible intellectual sludge.
We are in a relationship with all around us; not only people; animals and insects and the environment as well. Things, both seen and unseen. In any relationship with people we can only change ourselves. Therefore, it follows that in a relationship with things other than people, that the only thing we can change is ourselves as well. This means in our relationship with our horse, we can not change the horse directly. However by directly changing ourselves we can have an effect on our horse. If we focus change on the outside of ourselves this will set about the use of undesirable methods for building relationships; the use of force, intimidation, fear, manipulation and the like. If we boil everything in this world down to a common denominator; everything is energy; protons, neutron, electrons and photons. There is no difference between a thought in our head and an action in the horse's feet. It is all connected. It is all energy. Our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and judgments are all stored within us as energy and are transmitted or communicated in very subtle (and not so subtle) ways by way of body language. As a horse is a body language expert at the very least, he will know exactly who you and where you are at, at any given time.

Like all good newage gurus, he offers group workshops (at $NZ400 for two days) where
As well as getting a look inside yourself from the horses view point, you will also get a view of others in their process. This can enhance the learning as you may identify with others at the time and can use this to further your own learning and understanding at that time or further down the track.

So, like the best psychics as well, if it doesn't make any sense that's not the fault of the person you're paying. It'll make sense later. No, really it will.

Or you might choose the individual tuition at $NZ450 per day.
His workshops teach better horsemanship skills, not better English:
As we move forward, letting go, so our relationship with our horse can climb to incredible new heights.

Don't get EoR wrong though, this is powerful stuff. As Ian states
I am not qualified to judge how you are doing with your horse, as the only true measure of what is happening or changing between you and your horse is between you and your horse and the relationship that you work out together. Besides, the horse can be the only judge of how it is for him and he has difficulty in holding a pen. Another aspect of the modern capitalist business world is about creating a dependency of the client to the service or product being sold. This is no different in the horse world, where many trainers create a dependency in their clients so that they keep coming back for workshops and tuition and paying them plenty of money. Add to this that they promote many products, as the only products that can be used to achieve the ends that must be met in order to fit their system. My aim is to create an independent client, who is prepared to self explore with their horse, returning when they are stuck. [...] My role is one of facilitator, observer, and to offer feedback to the client. I will allow the client to explore, not show them how to do everything. This is experiential, intrinsic learning, true learning, where the focus is on being yourself and not be like me. I like to stand back and observe the big picture of what is going on between you and the horse, look at the congruities and incongruities of the communication in the relationship. I also don’t teach you or your horse any circus or party tricks here.

So: you teach yourself; Ian won't tell you what to do (though he will watch - presumably he likes to watch) nor how to be a horseman like him; you will not need to return repeatedly except every time you get stuck (at which point he will presumably watch you "self explore" again, for a fee). EoR is pleased that, unlike other Natural Horsemanship gurus, he isn't promoting the "many products" you need to be just like him (or just like yourself, or whoever it is he's (not) teaching you to be like). Mysteriously though, he has a products page where he sells the Ian-approved required tack, such as "Progress Strings" (four colours, $NZ20 each). A certain tinge of hypocrisy (or is it just the standard newage doublespeak) also creeps into his pricing policy:
I have to put food on my table and to meet the expenses of life and the expenses of continuing the Humanship workshops.
The Humanship model is good for horses and good for people, and anything that is good for people helps make the world a better place for us all to live.
I believe in people and I know that most people do the right thing by themselves and by others. This fits into many elements of the Humanship teachings.
I know how horses have affected my life (for the better) and desire to share that with all. So price should not be a hurdle to receiving the benefits.
I know a financial transaction has to take place, so as to add a tangible cost for the participants of the workshop.

The pricing conclusion is:
You pay what you can afford.
You pay for the value that you received from the workshop.

So why does everything on his site have a price on it? And whatever happened to sanity?

Unnatural Horsemanship 1
Unnatural Horsemanship 2
Unnatural Horsemanship 3
Unnatural Horsemanship 4


  1. "It's a widely held belief that people on a spiritual path can't make money out of their passion, their skill, their sacrifices. But then others ask "Why not?" If you do what you do from your heart, isn't that reason enough to do it well and prosper sufficiently so that others can benefit too? Be generous to others and to yourself..."

    Novaview May 2006

  2. EoR is amused by people saying how little they care for money, and then putting a high price on everything.

    But what point were you trying to make by simply quoting someone else?

  3. The point? Their greed has become an embarrassment. They're attempting to excuse it.

  4. easy question - easy answer... he must have been fed up with the question "what is the price on this... what is the price on that". Do assume that this answer would have been given by anyone having a site that offers what ever product :)

  5. Thank you for posting your critiques of the 'natural horsemanship movement.' Contemporary communications technology has allowed some of the gurus to become wealthy while many of their sycophants assume that nothing of any value anywhere existed until their messiah showed everyone the true way.

    There is no substitute for time spent teaching the horse. It is just that simple, regardless of whatever methods one uses.

    As a point of interest to any Monty Roberts fans who might surf by, I would recommend the following:

    The book 'Horse Whispers & Lies' at; the Feb. 1999 issue of Horse & Rider magazine's article, 'Horse Whispers or Horse Feathers?'; San Francisco Examiner Article: 'BIOGRAPHY CALLED UNBRIDLED FICTION' January 11, 1997; "Horse of a Different Color" by John Skow & James Willwerth, Time Magazine Dec. 14, 1998; "Now! Read the True (More or Less) Story!" Tuesday, February 24, 1998 The New York Times; and "A Peddler of Court Gossip May Pay the Piper" by Jonathon Turley.


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