Someone that is trying to understand the horse’s needs and has established a feel for the horse, in a sense that allows him to offer the horse something in a way that is understandable to the horse in a manner that will not offend him, at the time when needed. Being a horseman is not something you can become in one day, it is earned through much time and effort, working on oneself. It is something that is improved and shaped constantly. It is a life long journey.
The more we develop ourselves as horsemen or in general, the better we will be for the horse.
There are many great “Natural” Horsemen and there are many great Horsemen, but I believe there should be no difference between Natural Horsemanship and horsemanship, perhaps should be divined as "Good" Horsemanship. Anyone that is great with horses will have similar principles and attitude but they certainly will have that feel for the horse and always feeling of, for and with the horse.
And most importantly they always put the horse first!
Horsemanship goes back to Xenophon (430 BC) who had many followers, who appreciated his sympathetically approach to training this majestic creature. This has shaped todays Horsemanship and the roots of Classical Dressage.
Today’s Natural Horsemanship has its roots from the Vaquero cowboys. The Vaquero style riding came from Spain, called Doma Vaquero. These riders and horses were highly trained, it required connection between horse and riders, something an exceptional horseman could achieve. This was required to work the cattle. This style of riding continued developing in Mexico and then America, where it was essential to have a great connection and partnership, especially a solid foundation to work the cattle everyday for hours. Imagine working on a ranch on a horse who will not walk, trot or canter, turn, stop and put effort into the job that is required, when you ask them.
Some of the great Horsemen from the past were Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt and Troy Henry who have past on their knowledge to other great Horsemen.