The connection between what we do as proponents of NHC and our "wild horse model" -- the wild, free-roaming horse of the U.S. Great Basin -- is often a difficult bridge for newcomers and others to comprehend. "What does a wild horse have to do with my horse?" is a common question.
The connection is actually quite logical, and once one is appropriately introduced to it through what we call the "Four Pillars of Natural Horse Care" ("NHC" for short), it isn't hard to understand, and even easier to embrace and put into practice. It is equally important to understand that today's wild horses are genetically indistinguishable from the wild horses of the Great Basin. They are the same species, differing only in how their lives are led.
The Four Pillars on NHC are: natural boarding, a reasonably natural diet, natural horsemanship, and the natural trim. All four "go together" to form a holistic way of caring for the horse. Each "pillar" is rooted in what we call the "lessons from the wild", that is, various facets of the wild horse's life that can be applied in the care of domesticated horses.
The next question we hear is why are these "lessons from the wild" so desirable? The reason is that they are based on what is natural and healthful for horses. We call this "vitality" -- healthfulness. The lessons, therefore, collectively define what a healthy horse is. For example, the wild horse foot tells us what a healthy foot looks like and what it requires (nutrition, movement, habitat) to sustain its vitality. As a result of this invaluable "lesson from the wild," we now know that horseshoeing is both harmful to the horse's foot, and that it is an unnecessary practice. The science and methods of NHC tell us how to transition a horse out of shoes, and how to sustain the hoof in domestication so that it is healthy, durable, and capably functional in a modern world.
In fact, there are many, many "lessons from the wild". AANHCP Executive Director and founder Jaime Jackson's first book, The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild, provides a broad picture of equine life in the wild from which those lessons have been derived. Other related books by Jackson provide specific ways in which horse owners and professionals can adapt those lessons to horses in their care. Today, a vast movement of natural care based on the wild horse model is sweeping across every equestrian discipline on nearly every continent.
This website is the perfect place to launch your journey into NHC, and to become a supporting member of the AANHCP vital mission.