I read another horse book on my way to South Carolina, Horses Never Lie, by Mark Rashid (2011) (Sara tells me it’s pronounces Rash-idd). It’s the kind of book I enjoy reading, with lots of stories used to make the point, rather than a lot of pontificating and such. It also backs up my gut feelings about horses and explains why some methods of horse training (such as forcing a horse to keep going on and on until it bows to your wishes) make me uncomfortable.
The book talks about passive leadership, a concept Rashid explains in his comments for the second edition to have been a hard one to make sure people understand. I like the idea, and it makes sense after my limited amount of horse observations.
The idea is that horses don’t necessarily follow a leader who pushes, prods, bites, kicks, or hits them (human or horse), but rather a leader who is calm, seems to have a clue what they are doing, and treats them with respect. That’s what passive leadership is. In horses, these leaders don’t set out to lead, they just end up leading because they are the horse with the most chance of keeping the rest of them safe, at least in the other horses’ eyes.
The dominant horse (mare, stallion, or gelding) is obeyed, but never trusted or sought out for companionship. Interesting ideas when you apply them to people. Rashid provides helpful examples, both of how horses act when left to their own, and how they act with people. I know that I’ll be a better horse leader having read this, which is good, because I have been repeatedly told what a sucky leader I am, because I can’t “make” Apache do what I want to do. Now I see that sometimes I am letting him have a say in his life, and sometimes I do need to show him leadership…just the right kind.
In any case, there is always more work to do when it comes to horsemanship, and the big lesson I’m getting right now from the books I read, from my trainer, and from wise friends is that you should take what works for you and leave the rest – but make informed decisions based on your learning. Where did I hear that before? Oh, yeah, back when I was a La Leche League Leader and trying to figure out how to best feed and parent my children. Ha, maybe I’ve just moved on to a different species for my caring and nurturing focus.
By the way, if you’ve read this far but didn’t read the review of the horse book I read before this (hardly anyone read it), I encourage you to read the Horse Brain, Human Brain book. It also provided great insights into both human and horse behavior that can be helpful.
Why the Three-Star Review
You may have noticed that I gave this book only three stars. Well, besides the fact that not every book can have five stars, I just got annoyed by the typos in the book. My guess is that it was self-published, but if I spot three typos in a book, I get disappointed. In this one, I found three separate instances of the letter “a” appearing where there should be a letter “u” in the word. And it wasn’t some weird dialect of English either.
- Ran for Run, p. 91 and 176
- Rash for Rush, p. 201
Ok, yeah, editors should not read self-published books. I know that. The last one I read had a whole bunch and the person wasn’t even interested in hearing about them. OK, fine. Hope someone buys it anyway.
By the way, yes, I know my blog has typos. A lot of posts are written on the phone, and my ancient and chubby fingers end up making some doozies sometimes. I would appreciate it if you pointed them out so I can fix them. I typed this post. Let’s hope it’s not too bad.
I’m probably going to read another of Rashid’s books, so I didn’t get all that upset with the typos; I’d just prefer to not see any. Back to staring at the ocean.