This book emphasizes the importance of truly understanding the horse - its needs, its nature and its mentality and how to treat him accordingly in order to maximize his potential as a sport horse.
Author Kerry Thomas's experiences with wild horses, racehorses and English/Western sport horses helped him develop a theory of what sport horses truly need to be physically and mentally healthy in our modern world.
Thomas offers you exercises and techniques to help simulate the horse's natural environment, within even the most artificial of circumstances. In a chapter discussing "Equine Mental Illness," he points out that it's unnatural and potentially harmful for the horse to be so removed from his natural state that his human caretaker becomes his herd and his entire world. I wanted to photocopy the section and hand it out to people.
The theories are supported by case studies and photos. His writing is descriptive, maybe even a bit dense in places, and some of his charts and descriptions may be overly technical or complex to some readers. But it's worth getting through, leaving you with no question as to why his work has been called "groundbreaking."
Bottom Line: Thomas is a strong advocate for creating as natural an environment as possible for horses. This book will help you unravel your equine athlete's personality and needs, so you can evaluate your horse's "emotional conformation," which Thomas calls the real indicator of a horse's ability.
Best Suited For: Anyone who wants to learn why we need to make a horse's environment as natural as possible.
You'll Be Disappointed If: You're a get-on-and-ride person with little interest in understanding horses at a deeper level.
John Strassburger, Performance Editor