What is Thinking Horse? PDF Print E-mail

Welcome to Thinking Horse!



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Thinking Horse is about understanding how horses think, and using that as a model for how we think when we're handling and riding them. It's about recognising that a horse's mind is not just a load of reactions (push button A, and B happens) but somewhere where a complex range of thought processes, assessments and decisions take place.


There are a great many people who claim they can teach us to “speak horse”, each with their own method and recipe for success. When you compare their methods and approaches, there are generally several common elements, some aspects that differ, and while almost all offer a substantial amount of “how to…” most are rather light on the “why it works…” side, so it's hard to see it from the horse's point of view.


Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked “What is natural horsemanship?”, and “Does it work?”. I’ve also heard a lot of “I tried XYZ’s method and it didn’t work”, “I think it’s interesting, but my horse doesn’t know how to do it”, and  “I tried it, but my horse didn’t like it”.


This all got me to thinking, and I realized that there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the principles that underpin natural horsemanship and, in fact, good horsemanship under any label.


I hope Thinking Horse is going to start filling that gap, and start answering some of the common questions about training methods.


When you look at the roots of classical horsemanship, which forms the basis of natural horsemanship, the old masters themselves didn’t necessarily know WHY a particular approach worked, they just knew it DID work, and so that was what they used. Modern research is starting to fill in the "why", and this information can help us understand what is going on from the horse’s point of view.


Thinking Horse aims to help you understand the principles of equine thinking and behaviour, and how these can influence the way the horse sees the world and the people around it.


The exercises offered on this website, on the Thinking Horse DVD, and in my books and articles are developed from these principles, but are by no means exclusive or exhaustive and are simply a starting point to reaching a better understanding of the horse’s mind. As more and more is discovered about how the horse’s mind works, the exercises recommended and the explanations behind them are constantly reviewed and updated.


Armed with an insight into WHY these exercises are important, I hope you will be able to work more effectively and harmoniously with your horses in your chosen discipline.


Photo © ARTECAST 2010

Be safe and have fun with your horse!





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