Reader Letters: Expert Commentaries

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Logic and Intelligence

In the Commentary ?Horse Training Takes Time (June 2013),? John Strassburger made the claim that ?Horses are intelligent animals, but they're highly sensitive and not terribly logical.? This was like ? Huh. You can't be both at the same time. An intelligent being is a logical one by definition. That is why they make sense in the grand order of things though they may not make sense to us or Mr. Strassburger. I think that's what he meant to say. He said it himself in his other article on ?Every Horse Can be On the Bit.? Here he noted that a horse's logic is from back to front which is hard to understand ? FOR US. And just because we have a hard time understanding horse logic does not make the horse irrational or illogical. It rather calls into question our ability to communicate with them on their terms, not ours.

Dr. Carole Francis-Swayze, California

Well Said, Mrs. Freeman!

In regard to Margaret Freeman?s Commentary ?The Long and Short of It (May 2013),? thank you so much for saying "it actually more accurately equals 'long leg.' "

I have been saying this for years - and years - and years. Even master trainers whom I respect immensely insist on saying "heels down" rather than "lengthen your leg."

Since it is completely possible to have heels down while the leg is shortened / pulled up, just telling the rider "heels down" accomplishes nothing. It is all about lengthening the lower leg as you so nicely put it.

Now if we could just write this on the knees of riders around the world ....

Joan McColly, California