Natural Horsemanship, which focuses on the horse’s well-being, is a method of handling horses in which you “work with the horse’s nature rather than against it.” The proposed Umatilla Tribal Horse Program will include it prominently. In fact, this method is based heavily on “ancient Indian Tricks” for gentling horses. Cayuse horsemen were once said to breed and nurture horses that were nearly human in appearance.
“Cayuse horses are small, ranging in height from twelve to fifteen hands, and come in a variety of colors and patterns, with many of them being white or spotted, bald-faced, white-legged, and glass-eyed. They’re lively, but they’re easy to tame with a saddle or harness. They are significantly superior to the typical American horse as saddle horses, and they have no peers in terms of speed and endurance force. Major Barnhart of Umatilla owned a little Cayuse, approximately thirteen hands high that could gallop thirty-one miles in two hours with a man on his back to the Columbia River, and then return at the same pace. The Indians train their horses to be gentle by being kind to them.