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"The Revolution in Horsemanship" The exciting new book by Dr. Miller and co-author Rick Lamb (Host of the radio broadcast The Horse Show). They document the extraordinary events of the past quarter century which are changing the ancient art of horsemanship. From training to medicine to alternative therapies and techniques, the author's extensive research provides the reader with a firm understanding of how our relationship with the horse is rapidly changing. Most significant, they suggest that the communication skills involved in this remarkable change can be used to facilitate human relationships. The Table of Contents and an excerpt from Chapter 20 are provided below:
Table of Contents
Foreword by Hugh Downs Preface
Part I Chapter 1 - Introduction Chapter 2 - The Horse in Nature and Domestication Chapter 3 - The Revolution Begins Chapter 4 - The Revolution Continues Chapter 5 - Why Now? Chapter 6 - Why It Works and Why It's Better Chapter 7 - Revolutions in Riding Chapter 8 - The Cowboy Enigma - Rodeos and Ranches Chapter 9 - Wild Horses, the Ultimate Test Chapter 10 - It's Not Just About Horses
Part II Chapter 11 - Early Natural Horsemen Chapter 12 - Whisperers, Tamers and Professors Chapter 13 - Revolutions in Bridling and Saddling Chapter 14 - Other Training Concepts
Part III Chapter 15 - Foal Training Chapter 16 - The Hoof Care Debate Chapter 17 - The Revolution in Equine Healthcare Chapter 18 - On Nutrition Chapter 19 - Alternative Therapies Chapter 20 - The Real Importance of the Revolution
Afterword Appendix - Teachers of Horsemanship Bibliography and Suggested Reading Index
Part I describes how horsemen like Tom and Bill Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Pat Parelli, and others revolutionized horsemanship in the final quarter of the 20th century. But, perhaps even more significant, their methods applied to human communications offer renewed hope for improved relationships between people. Chapter 20 addresses this concept:
one gets into horses to become a better human being or to find greater meaning
in life or to make the world a better place, but sometimes that’s exactly what
the beginning, you play with horses because it’s fun. It’s a pleasant
diversion. Then you find that it feels good in a deeper and more lasting way
than many other recreational past-times. You may love riding motorcycles, but
your Harley doesn’t nicker at you in the morning. There is something very
special about a horse that makes you want to do better with and for them.
just wanting it isn’t enough because this is something very different and very
unnatural for us humans. It takes time and effort to learn to communicate
effectively with a horse. You have to be willing to go back to school, to learn
and to change the way you behave. You have to set your ego on the shelf and
leave it there while you reinvent yourself as a horseman and, often, as a human
new person observes, remembers and compares. He listens more and talks less. He
takes responsibility rather than assigning blame. He controls his emotions. He
becomes aware of his body language. He tries to improve himself. He commits
himself to acting justly. He cultivates patience. He forgives. He lives in the
moment rather than stewing over the past or waiting for the future. And of
course, he places the wants and needs of another living creature ahead of his
does it all, at least in the beginning, because it will make him a better
isn’t easy. We cannot wave a magic wand or drink a magic potion and change the
nature of our species anymore than a leopard can change its spots. It takes work
and lots of it. It takes willpower and persistence, focus and thought. In an age
of mindless entertainment and instant gratification of our every physical and
emotional craving, those don’t always come easy to us. But if we persist, the
payoff makes it all worthwhile.
it to the Street
revolution in horsemanship has given us the motivation and means for meaningful
self-improvement, and the world outside of the horse industry has taken notice.
Major corporations, for example, are finding that they can inspire a different
and better form of leadership, build stronger, more effective teams and foster a
more enjoyable workplace by incorporating the principles of the revolution.
of these corporations are coming to Monty Roberts for help. Roberts has crafted
a message of trust-based management, using Join-Up® as a metaphor, and has
delivered it to companies such as American Express, Johnson & Johnson, Dean
Witter, Disney, Hallmark, Chevron, Pfizer, Volkswagen and John Deere. Educators,
psychologists, children with autism, at-risk teens, victims and victimizers have
also benefited from Roberts’ work.
Frank Bell offers an all day, hands-on horsemanship course for corporate
employees and clients as a means of developing concentration and focus to better
prepare them for the challenges of the workplace. Interestingly, it was the work
of legendary sales trainer Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
that taught Bell the importance of making a good first impression and inspired
his 7-step Safety System for preparing a horse to be ridden. Now he is using
horsemanship to help people reach their full potential, bringing him full
clinician Chris Irwin teaches Equine Assisted Personal Development. E.A.P.D. is
an innovative form of “experiential” therapy for people with a broad range
of needs, from troubled teens, to families in crisis, to corporate teams seeking
empowerment. Working with the horse is the experience from which the insights
flow. Irwin sees the task before the human as learning to communicate and lead
in terms the horse, or another person for that matter, understands. He calls it becoming
the better horse. He explains, “If we trainers, coaches and therapists can
facilitate people in learning how to become ‘better horses’ then we are
assisting them in developing and balancing essential life skills such as
awareness, focus, patience, empathy, assertiveness, boundaries, consistency,
clarity, compassion, calm, courage and multi-tasking.”
horse is truly a vehicle for not only transporting but also elevating the human
species, for taking us closer to that elusive goal of realizing human potential.
Horse as Therapy
potential is different for each of us. Some are born with every advantage. They
have healthy bodies and minds, healthy home environments in which to grow and go
through life without many real setbacks. For such people, the possibilities are
people are burdened with tremendous disadvantages from birth, spiral out of
control through poor life choices or suffer debilitating injuries. What the
horse can mean for them is perhaps even more astounding.
six months, Bridget could sit straight up in the saddle, with the help of
volunteers, and grab a Hula-Hoop while trotting. Then speech therapy began. At
three, she spoke her first words and today, at seven, she runs to the stables,
calling her horse’s name.
value of horses and riding for disabled individuals has been recognized for
centuries. The ancient Greeks used horseback rides to cheer the spirits of those
considered untreatable or incurable. An 1875 study in Paris concluded that
riding could lead to improvements in posture, balance, joint movement, muscle
control and morale. Today we understand why. When riding, the human’s pelvis
moves back and forth similar to the way it does when crawling or walking. Riding
helps develop the muscles needed for walking. Riding provides physical therapy
and motivation that is unmatched in preparing a disabled child to someday walk.
horse has also been helpful in breaking through the mysterious veil of autism.
Children who have been completely uncommunicative with the world around them for
years have responded to the experience of being placed on the back of a gentle
organized therapeutic riding got its start after Denmark’s Liz Hartel won a
silver medal for dressage in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Although afflicted with
polio, Hartel had rehabilitated herself from wheelchair to horseback and gone on
to riding excellence. By 1969, an organization known as the North American
Riding for the Handicapped Association, or NARHA, had been formed. There is no
more respected and beloved organization in America’s horse industry today than
NARHA and its hundreds of local chapters. Corporations, clinicians and the
general public support them generously.
would not be fair to claim that the revolution in horsemanship is responsible
for the rise of modern therapeutic riding.
They have developed on parallel tracks over the past three decades, yet
they are highly compatible and complimentary pursuits. The primary difference is
one of emphasis. With therapeutic riding, improving the human is the end goal.
With natural horsemanship, developing a partnership between horse and human is
the end goal, and improving the human is a means of reaching that goal.
and rehabilitation intersect most dramatically in the mustang-gentling programs
implemented by numerous prisons in America. The Comstock Wild Horse Program
mentioned earlier is one example. The Hutchinson Correctional Facility Wild
Horse Program in Hutchinson, Kansas is another. This program’s motto,
“Saving Horses – Changing Men,” says it all. To participate in this
program of gentling and preparing wild horses for auction, an inmate must put
pride and ego aside. He must learn to control his emotions and his behavior. He
must work towards a long-term goal and delay his gratification.
an inmate, the horse may represent the first totally honest relationship in his
life. The horse does not lie. There is no ulterior motive in the horse’s
behavior. To be successful, the inmate must be observant, look for the smallest
change and reward it. He must prepare in advance, think ahead, and he must
provide rest and reward. Most of all he must develop empathy, the ability to see
the world through another individual’s eyes, an ability many in the
correctional system have never developed. As the inmate learns how to develop
the trust of a wild horse, he also comes to trust that there is a better path
for his own life.
revolution in horsemanship is a revolution in relationships. Between horses and
people and the world in which they live.
is a very common human trait today. In our busy lives, we are accustomed to
looking for fast-acting medications, timesaving products and quick-start
solutions. There is an insidious, unspoken assumption in most of what we do that
this moment is not worth savoring, that we should rush through it to get to
some more worthy moment that we can and should savor. The problem for many of us
is that we never get to those truly worthwhile moments.
is what happens to us while we are waiting for it to begin.
horse responds best to us when we slow down and live in the moment with senses
and minds fully engaged. How long something takes means nothing to a horse.
Teachers of horsemanship today often suggest that we leave our wristwatches at
home when we work with our horses, and we are reminded with an expression worthy
of the great Yogi Berra, to “take the time it takes and it will take less
few of us can ever completely dismiss the element of time from our lives. But we
can certainly reduce our fixation on it. In doing so, maybe we stop rushing
quite so much. Maybe we think about what we are doing right now instead of what
we need to do next. Maybe we find joy in the living of life instead of just
getting to the finish line. Maybe we learn how to enjoy the journey. If so, we
have the horse to thank for that.
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