It's easy to get caught up in the latest fad of training and lose sight of what really matters which is always what's best for you and your horse. I'm guilty of getting caught in the 'natural horseman' guru trap and using the wrong approach with my horse. Some methods don't work with some horses and some handlers. Horsemanship isn't like math; sometimes 1+1 is actually supposed to equal 1, not 2. If the method you are using is making your horse work against you, then it isn't right for the two of you. Sometimes it's either change the method or change the players in the method. Since a horse in the hand is better than one on the Internet, sometimes changing methods is the best bet.
When you only get to work with your horse occasionally, you have to make every minute count towards your goal. We don't get to work with our horses as often as we'd like. Between school, running back and forth for errands, cleaning house, cooking, weather, and just plain tiredness, horseplay doesn't always happen. When it does happen, we need it to be relaxing for both of us. Sometimes we're not able to relax when our horse is acting crazy, but maybe our horse is thinking the same thing about us because the method we're using seems 'crazy' to them. Appearing 'crazy' to each other is not the way to achieve your goals with your horse.
There is no end to the methods available for training horses these days. In some 'natural horsemanship' methods, there is a lot of chasing the horse around at a gallop in a round pen or even on a long lead that doesn't seem very relaxing to either party. Other methods use more of a subtle dance of positioning with the horse. Traditional methods, while not the current fad, at their root, use the latter. Of course, sometimes the best method is to use pieces of several that your instincts tell you are the best for you and your horse instead of strictly following only one method. Horsemanship really is one instance of slow and steady really winning the race - whether it is 'natural', traditional, or instinctual. There will always be 'new' methods with the following and hype of the crowd and the old traditions of the past. You will always have your and your horse's instincts to rely on as well. It's important to not get caught up in the hype or the traditions, but focus on what your horse tells you. The only shortcuts you should take with your horse are those on the trail. In training, the long way around will usually give you the kind of foundation to build a lifelong partnership.
Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.