California Riding Magazine • March, 2013

Book Reviews
Horse Profiling; Knowing Horses

Horse Profiling
Written by Kerry Thomas
Reviewed by Diane Legge

The book, Horse Profiling, delivers a serious education on why horses behave the way they do. It will enlighten most just how far we have removed the horse from its home filled with freedom, family dynamics and much needed stimuli. I was hoping to peer into some eye opening gem about the horse's world, and as the pages turned, I knew I would not be disappointed. No matter your discipline with horses you no doubt will glean something of lasting value.

I'm sure, like most, I read the contents first and it took all I had not to jump straight to "The Broken Circle," the eight key causes of behavioral problems. When I finally read the chapter, it was a tough read and a reality check. One of the most traumatic events that can result in what the author calls "Potential Withholds" for the young horse when he is taken from a structured family unit far too early. He discusses a case study of one result of a race horse being weaned too soon and thrown into a herd of babies.

"Discovering the Communicated Equine" was my favorite read. Being fortunate to have horses in a herd pasture situation let me truly see what I had and understand how to proceed in their training. Kerry brings to light "what the individual and group herd dynamic mean in the sport horse." If you own horses that are in a stall situation the exercises and ideas given seem very useful but the extra work on the owner might be burdensome.

Melting the chapters together give the grand finale: why the horse against all odds wins, "Embracing the Magic within the Spirit of the Horse." Elite bloodlines and impeccable conformation will do little for the horse without the heart to be a winner. That right combination of horse and owner really is magic and is unbeatable.

I enjoyed the book tremendously and highly recommend it for those who are serious about horses.

Diane, lives in Copperopolis, rides hunt seat and has a special fondness for a Thoroughbred named Cassanderly.


Knowing Horses
Written by Les Sellnow and Carol A. Butler
Reviewed by Ashley Crescent

I agree with the book's claim that it is an "informative compendium of all things equine" and "answers hundreds of questions about behavior, physiology, breed characteristics, training, sporting events..."
This book is engaging and provides general information about many equine related subjects. Equestrians and non-equestrians will both find interesting topics to enjoy (see table of Contents listed below). It is not designed to provide advanced level instruction, and will not deepen one's understanding in an area the reader is already experienced in.
I began at page one and read it through; however, it is designed so that you could also pick it up, begin reading on any page, and be entertained while your horse plays in the turnout. Its small size (5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches) makes it easy to carry. My copy traveled in my purse the first two weeks I had it. I read it aloud to others any time a moment was dull at the barn or at work; even my non-horsey coworkers found the things I shared interesting.

The writing style is generally clear and easy. The authors periodically express technical details but do a good job providing explanations without getting too wordy. Non-horse people can understand and enjoy this book. Many pages have nice illustrations to aid in their explanations. The drawings are credited to Elara Tanguy, who appears to understand the conformation of horses. I enjoyed the quality of the art and at times found it inspirational for my own sketches. Shared too are old adages, spread throughout the book along with their explanations as well as origins. There is an index for quick reference; and an appendix, which explains horse idioms, lists of breeds from around the world, has a recommended reading list for fiction and nonfiction, provides a list of great movies about horses, and references other equine resources.

Overall I've had a lot of fun flipping through the pages of this book and learned quite a bit along the way.

Below is the Table of Contents:
1. Horses 101, a few equine essentials
2. Hooves, Hearing and Hiccups, some physical facts
3. Horsing around, exploring equine behavior
4. Breeds, how to tell a saddlebred from a standardbred
5. Training horses, if you whisper they will listen
6. Horse Racing, the sport of kings and commoners
7. Piaffes, Pulling and Polo, more equestrian sports
8. Wild Horses, mustangs, brumbies, and how to pronounce "przewalski"
9. The Historical Horse, horses and humans go way back
10. Appendix, more stuff about horses

Ashley, from Los Angeles, has ridden all her life and spent time training and competing in many equine disciplines. She currently owns a Quarter Horse and two Thoroughbreds, one of which is off the track.