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Evidence Based Horsemanship sneak preview, part I

Published: 2/1/2012
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Editor's Note:
I've had the privilege of assisting Dr. Steve Peters and Martin Black with the production of Evidence-Based Horsemanship. The book is a unique cowboy-scientist collaboration and NickerNews is providing a sneak preview with this multi-part series.

In Part I, guest columnist and renowned horseman Randy Rieman talks about where we’ve been and where we’re going with horses. In an excerpt from the book's foreword, he says the timing for Evidence-Based Horsemanship is now.

-- Maddy Butcher

By Randy Rieman

For thousands of years, horses and humans have had a partnership both remarkable and unique in the animal kingdom.   We have combined our strengths by uniting our minds, bodies, and wills to accomplish tasks together.
In those bygone days, the horse was an intimate part of daily life and a large percentage of our population had a basic working knowledge of horses – a.k.a. horsemanship.
Enter the industrial age, mechanization, and a mass exodus from rural America to urban America. That common knowledge quickly became uncommon as horsemanship skills disappeared from the general public.
[Photo by Ross Hecox, Western Horseman]
Fast-forward to the year 2012 and we find ourselves living in a virtual wonderland of the greatest technological advancements and devices in history.
Oddly enough, we are also living in a time of renaissance, a renaissance of horsemanship.

The word renaissance is defined:  1.  A rebirth or revival  2.  A revival of intellectual or artistic achievement.
Now, if you don't think horsemanship qualifies as both an intellectual AND artistic achievement, then you've not seen fine horsemanship. This renaissance of horsemanship has been occurring here in the United States for about three decades, smack dab in the middle of the information age. It’s no accident. This new interest in good horsemanship owes much to the technological advancements that make information so easily accessible today.
What a perfect time for a scientist, Dr. Stephen Peters, and a horseman, Mr. Martin Black, to combine their considerable knowledge and expertise concerning horses. That is just what they've done in Evidence-Based Horsemanship.
Most horsemen agree you need accurate information and years of experience and experimentation to turn that information into knowledge. They also agree that timing, feel, and balance are the holy trinity of horsemanship.  These are also the key ingredients for success in many other areas of life.
As for this new book, the “timing” couldn't be better. We are in the midst of a revival of interest in horsemanship. People are hungry for factual information, intelligent conversation, and astute observation about how horses learn, think, react and respond.  The book is filled with that information.  
The "feel" of the book is genuinely refreshing and original, introducing factual information few have been privy to. It is unpretentious, straight forward, and informative.
The "balance" of the book is brilliant.  It is a combination of scientific facts and the empirical evidence to support those facts assembled by two highly respected professionals in their respective disciplines.
Dr. Stephen Peters is a scientist and neuropsychologist with decades of experience and a deep understanding of the processes of brain function, neurochemistry, and how they impact the learning process.
Martin Black is a horseman and clinician with decades of experience and a deep understanding of the subtleties of animal behavior and the modification of that behavior.
Together, in Evidence-Based Horsemanship, these men are exploring and bringing to light some of the mysteries of successfully interacting with horses.
Bill Dorrance once confessed this statement to me: "I found out that if I wasn't learning, life got kinda dull."   
I have a notion he would be excited about this book because it sure presents an opportunity to learn!

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Click here to read Part II

View Reader Comments:

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2/1/2012 Georgia
Can't wait. I saw them at the Maine clinic this summer and I was fascinated.
2/9/2012 Nevada
This is going to be to be an amazing breakthrough in horsemanship.

"Those who look down eventually get there" - Kip Rosenthal