For some good holiday reading there are two books I’m going to recommend for those lazy days in the sun or in front of the fire – depending on which hemisphere you’re in!
Guiding Principles to Natural Horse Care – Powerful concepts for a healthy horse
This easy to read E-book is well set out, has interesting headlines and the intent of ‘creating a shift in your thinking that will empower you to become more confident when it comes to making difficult decisions that relate to your horse’s health and well-being.”
It is an ideal book for people starting out or those ready for a change to a more natural way of keeping and caring for their horses. “The core principles that set your horse up for optimal health is the concept of staying as close to nature’s intent for the horse as possible, which means treat your horse as a horse, not how humans think a horse should be treated”. ~ Stephanie Krahl.
Stephanie is a leader in the revolution of Natural Horse Keeping and says:
“This book is made up of a collection of key natural horse care concepts published on the Soulful Equine website over the years. It includes modifications to those articles along with additional materials that expand on certain subjects such as nutrition, hoof care and other overall natural horse care concepts mixed with a little personal development.
This book doesn’t dive into the details of every aspect of natural horse care. Natural Horse Care is a huge subject. An introduction to important key concepts and foundational information is provided, no more, no less.”
However, it does answer a myriad of questions and offers considerations when choosing professionals to help with the care of your horse which ultimately is in your hands. I enjoyed the read and discovering that my thoughts and directions on Natural Horse Care were certainly in alignment with these Guiding Principles.
You can purchase it from www.soulfulequine.com as an instant E-Book download – 205 pages can be printed double sided.
Revealing Your Hidden Horse – A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding Your Horse
I class this book as one of my all time favourites – it is a great read but more importantly, it defines how horsemanship has developed over the centuries to reach the point we’re at today, then gives a road map for the future.
“We need to understand how our ideas and the reality of the horse are moving apart, and the best place to start this is with an understanding of the evolution of the relationship between our two species” says Mark who presents four models of horsemanship to achieve this.
“The following statement is the essence of what this book is all about: Whether your horse is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, whether he lives a long, fulfilled, happy life or a life of misery and pain, disease and suffering; whether he is your best equine friend or your worst equine nightmare; all will depend on only two things: What you believe about him and the environment you put him in.”
I found by understanding the four models of horsemanship I then understood how horsemanship (and the way I relate to my horses) has changed and grown. This validates our progress without making us feel wrong, and shows the next step forward. The four models Mark so beautifully defines (I believe he is the first to describe it this way) are:
- The Utility Model
- The Anthropomorphic Model
- The Natural Horsemanship Model
- The Natural Horse Keeping Model
These are supplemented by detailed chapters on The Environment, What is a Track System, Control and Communication, Positive Reinforcement Training and Relationships then Great Questions, Great Answers.
“For more than a thousand years humans have taken the things they wanted from the horse. The 21st century is our chance to give something back.” Most of us are on the way to making that change by choosing to look at more modern ways of communicating with and training our horses. “Natural Horsemanship is a huge step in the right direction and in many ways it is the forerunner of what is to come. I think of these systems as a progressive stop on the journey to understand horses rather than a destination in themselves.”
Some of us are ready to move on and embrace the 21st Century model of Natural Horse Keeping. “It’s not about wild horse keeping, it’s about natural horse keeping.” These are the Seven principles of this model:
Our management of the horse must always create good-health and well-being in the herd.
Principle #2. We base or relationship on the Natural Behaviour of the horse. That means: Life in a herd, a life full of natural movement, a diet that closely relates to the natural fibre-based diet.
Principle #3. Horses need to move. Constant movement any time, day or night is a fundamental right of the herd.
Principle #4. Management is based on the environment, – not just the horse.
Principle #5. The opportunity to feed is the main daily activity. Up to 16 hours + per day!
Principle #6. There is always something to look at or do. Horses have a right to live in a stimulating environment.
Principle #7. RESPECT THE HORSE AS A HORSE
I love this book not only for the quality content but how it is written, how each concept is built upon from the previous one, and how Mark shows us the way forward to develop even better relationships with our horses, not only through the way we train them, but through the way we keep them.