Dressage, Naturally Combines the Best of Both Worlds

dnmainfeature2Confuse Your Friends: Do Dressage and Natural Horsemanship!


Don’t worry, your horse will think it makes perfect sense. The fancy description is: Dressage, Naturally creates stronger partnerships and healthy biomechanics by combining the principles of natural horsemanship with the art of dressage. 

Except for making it more difficult to figure out what outfit to wear to the barn, it is really quite simple: We all want the same thing. We want happy athletes through harmonious education resulting in horses that are calm, loose, supple and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider. Did you know that is how the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) defines the object of dressage? I don’t know, it sounds suspiciously natural horsemanshipy if you ask me.

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My philosophy is that we need to take care of our horses in a way that honors their true nature as best we can.

This includes the ability to move about in interesting spaces 24/7, to feel safe, to be able to interact with other horses, and have a forage-based diet that mimics natural grazing. I believe barefoot is ideal and that horse’s hooves can be improved through excellent barefoot trimming.

I also believe that we need to realize our impact as riders on the horse’s physical body, and we owe it to them to do our best to give them the skills, as well as the postural and movement habits that will keep them pain-free for the years we ride them.

Is that really such a revolutionary, crazy idea? I don’t think so. Not studying both bodies of knowledge is like an artist trying to create purple but refusing to use both blue and red. I don’t care if you call yourself a dressage student, or a natural horsemanship student or Dressage, Naturally student or if you simply call yourself Fred... I want to share some strategies for understanding and developing your horse mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

If your friends still think you are crazy here’s a message for them: 
"Hey dressage people: Guess what? Everything effects posture, and sometimes the best way to healthy biomechanics is to create a calm, motivated horse who trusts you and understands what you are asking.
“Hey natural horsemanship people: Posture effects everything, and sometimes the best way to a relaxed, trusting horse is to create a balanced body.”

Everyone forms a different picture when they think of dressage or natural horsemanship. I dream that students to look past the labels, the outfits, the brand of the equipment, and the breed of the horse, and instead  seek to understand the ‘cause and effect’ of methods that are successful in achieving a positive result for the betterment of your particular horse.


drawing-228x180Take a look around this website. The Reading Room has articles by Karen Rohlf, questions and answers about applying Dressage, Naturally, and a recommended reading list.

If you are ready for even more support you can go to the Web Shop and order Karen's book/DVD as well as other D,N stuff such as the artwork you see here.

If you want lessons right now, you can: