The “Old Language” of the Horse – Natural Horsemanship

equine photos, Native American

May 14, 2018




A good rider can hear his horse speak to him. A great rider can hear his horse whisper.

I have become a frequent visitor at the Nokota Horse Preserve of Chester Springs. I love to spend time with the Nokota horses and capture images of them in their natural state. I strive to show you the way I see these horses through my lens and I hope that my images may ignite a spark in you to recognize how unique and special these wild horses are and to join in the efforts to save them.

Recently, Michael Battenfield, a Natural Horsemanship trainer, visited the farm for a 10-day training clinic. I was very excited to visit while he was there. I’d previously heard of his gift with horses and I wanted to watch him “speak” the old language of these horses and observe how they come to work together. Simply stated, it was fascinating to witness and incredibly beautiful.

Michael was very gracious in his work and explained each step he and the horse took together, teaching me to see and speak their language by example. As the days passed, these horses came to see him as a leader and willingly gave what he asked for. Michael used techniques that speak the old language of the horse and bridge the divide between horse and man.

Natural Horsemanship Training is a philosophy based on the original language of the horse – a way of communicating and connecting with a horse using their natural instincts with the understanding that horses do not learn positive habits through fear or pain. They learn from pressure and the release of that pressure. The release occurs when the horse responds by doing what was asked. Essentially, it is working with the “inside” of a horse as opposed to the “outside” of the horse. Natural Horsemanship does not attempt to force a horse into submission. Rather, it strives to engage the horse while ensuring the horse feels calm and safe, because a horse that feels it can trust the handler is quick to bond with that person.

I encourage you to learn more about Natural Horsemanship Training. If you have a horse and need help or want to learn how to speak the old language with your horse, Michael Battenfield with Battenfield Horsemanship, would be an excellent place to start!

If you have an interest in owning a Nokota horse or would like to make a donation to the non-profits that are trying to save them, visit The Nokota Horse Conservancy or the Nokota Horse Preserve of Chester Springs to learn more!

Enjoy these images of Michael Battenfield at his recent 10-day clinic! The horse pictured is Hugo, one of my favorite Nokota horses.


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Here to capture the magical moments between you and your loved ones

I believe it is in our DNA to be connected to nature, animals and each other. When I look through the lens of my camera, I want to highlight this connection and preserve it so you can share your story with future generations.

work with shelley