Please read through this F.A.Q. before you start with the forum, thank you!Q: How to start AND (Art of Natural Dressage)?
A: follow the instruction underneath this linkHow to start ANDQ: I have a question, how can I find out if it hasn't already been answered?
A: Many of the same questions pop up over and over.
Romy has made an overview of topics where these questions are answered and overviewed by (founder) members.
Please check these topics first before you ask your question.
Of course you may (after reading the thread) add your view or question if you would like in the same thread.Romy's question overviewQ: Who started AND?
A: AND was started by Bianca Kersten, Miriam Nieuwe Weme and Josepha Guillaume in 2007.
Karen, Romy and Leigh help out moderating this ever growing forum to keep it tidy and inviting.Q: Is AND a system?
A: we have a systematic way of training but as it varies with every horse and human combination we can not call it a system. Therefore we call it rather a philosophy.
This is also what makes AND unique as it applies to every and each horse, which is logical because the horse directs his own training!Q:What is the AND philosophy?
A: you can find it on http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com
or click here: AND PhilosphyQ: What's the use of AND?
A: Within AND we are very much interested in what 'makes the horse tick'. We are interested in his ideas about training and interacting with humans and of course horses.
The only way to find that out to our experience is to not expect any obedience from our horse as obedience only means a one way street of communication, in this respect from human to horse. To make it a two way street, we must let go of obedience so the horse can answer truthfully and without fear of being reprimanded for his replies to our questions. Only then will we find out our horses' ideas, thoughts, feelings and physical well-being.
This approach makes AND unique in the whole wide world as most other ways of training however friendly or not are mostley based upon horse obedience, that is, as far as we know off anyway. (And we searched a lot for years).
Next to that, the gymnastic groundwork will not only be helpful in your relationship and communication with your horse, it will help your horse to gather strength, straightness and flexibility needed when a horse needs to carry a rider. Riding without the proper preparation is harmful to a horse, therefore we need to follow a 'horse fitness' program found within the groundwork section of the AND forum.Q: Isnâ€™t AND not simply a form of Natural Horsemanship?
A: No, as we do not use pressure nor strive for obedience. For a short explanation of the differences between AND and NH you can read MiriamÂ´s reply to BiancaÂ´s question here for example: Difference between AND and NHQ: Is AND against bits and spurs?
A: No, every one is free to do as he wants. Within AND we have the philosophy that every decisions a horse makes is based upon good reason, meaning his biomechanics and instinct.
Therefore it is of vital importance that the horse is allowed to listen to his own body and act upon his instinct behaviour to maintain sane and healthy. Bits, spurs and other means of control make this way of interacting with the horse only more difficult.Q: I use a bit or practise an other systeem like for instance Parelli. Can I still become a member of AND?
A: Yes, you can.
You are totally free to follow any systeem you like as is any other member on the AND forum. The focus of the forum however is to share our (AND) experiences in our training with our horses. Therefore we view this forum most as a 'study group on horse behaviour and biomechanics'Q: Will my horse not become dangerous if I do not use any form of pressure, tools or demand no form of obedience?
A: No one of the growing 600 international members has been killed yet. But seriously, judging by the millions of accidents, small and large, each year that happen with horses around the world makes one wonder how safe all the pressure based methods are.
Second, within AND we believe we are dealing with a prey animal. Preys will, from natural ability, try to avoid conflicts because a conflict could cause harm to their bodies and make them vulnerable for predators. They will flight first and foremost. It is our experience that if we give the prey horse no reason to attack or defend himself, he shall not. The horse is in general a cooperative, sensitive, intelligent and gentle being. Since AND is all about getting the true horse come forward, we feel completely safe. However, there are cases of dangerous horses. These cases often stem from past experiences with humans or lack of social contact with other horses. AND has proven to help â€˜soften upâ€™ a lot of these animals again. But we will warn to only do what you are able to do with any horse and always listen to your guts and instinct to remain safe. This of course counts outside AND as well.Q: Is riding allowed within AND?
A: Yes it is, only we view riding as an exercise just as any other ground exercise like jambette or shoulder in. The AND way of riding is named Natural Academic Riding Art.
Natural Academic Riding Art is the next step after the gymnastic AND groundwork to ensure as much as possible that your horse will not be harmed by being ridden.Q Is AND free?
A: Yes it is totally free!
However, the Admins make costs to maintain the forum and are alas not rich. So if you feel AND and our forum has brought much to you and your horses, we would appreciate it if you would make a contribution
to help us carry the costs. However small. Thank you! You can also sponsor by buying our AND merchandise
. But the decision is yours alone. Q: Since AND only exists from 2007, are there any horses who have been brought up only within the AND Philosophy?
A: Yes there are. You can find their names here and clicking on them will bring you to their diaries which you can read when you register as AND-member.
Mind that every horse or foal and human is different, so a standard AND horse would never exist. Typical though is the freedom and self-confidence mixed with a natural curiosity and the desire to interact and work with humans. But most typical is the self expression of the horse who is taught from the beginning to express his needs, desires and emotions.
The AND babies:UnicornicoPiaBonnieJourney* Note that some of the babies are in their motherâ€™s diary and born later on so you might have to brouse throught the diaries until you find the page where the babyâ€™s life starts.
** A baby needs to be added? Please notify one of the Admins or Mods, thank you!Q: Is there an AND DVD I can buy?
A: No. But there is a massive amount of AND videos to be found on this forum for free!
Underneath this link youâ€™ll find them all: Video section AND
The first link in the AND video section provides videos produced by the Admins only, but more videos of the all (founder) members can be found all over the forum and of course via youtube directly.Q: Are there AND books I can buy?
A: No, but we are working on it. Miriam Nieuwe Weme and Josepha Guillaume have written books outside the subject of AND in Dutch though that can be bought via several (online) shops:
* Vrijheidsdressuur - Miriam Nieuwe Weme ISBN 978-90-5821-345-7
* Probleemloos Bitloos - Josepha Guillaume ISBN 978-1-4092-7805-04
Both Miriam and Josepha have published articles in various Dutch or Flemish magazines and both are currently writing books about AND, have patience. Q: Apart from the forum, can I follow AND lessons somewhere or from some one?
A: Yes you can. There is a course center in Belgium based on the AND philosophy:TAONARA
Next to that, some of our moderators can be booked for (international) clinics and individual lessons.
You can find the homepages here of Miriam
Romy and Bianca can be contacted via the AND forum.