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23 March 2010 @ 08:48 pm
Book Review: Tom Moates - A Horse's Thought  
I could empathise a whole lot with Tom Moates' first book, Discovering Natural Horsemanship- A Beginners Journey - I could certainly see a lot of common ground between his initial cluelessness as a latecomer to the equestrian party and my own and if I cringed in places it was as much at memories of my own ineptness as his own honestly documented experiences.

This book sort of follows on from that and sort of doesn't, because although it quite directly picks up after the other one ended in terms of Tom's journey, that is because just after he finished the first book he went off to his first clinic with Harry Whitney and everything changed for him. This is really a book about what Harry teaches, which as he doesn't seem inclined to write too much on his own behalf and he is a very interesting trainer, is good news.

This is less of a narrative than a set of essays about what Harry teaches and how it is different from other trainers. A couple I had seen elsewhere ( this article changed my thinking on round pens and there's one on The Myth Of Natural Horsemanship that voices my feelings on the topic absolutely ) but they are well worth having in one place.

The essence of the book is the idea of working with the horse's thought, making sure they are with you the whole time. Of always offering the cue you would like to be your final cue before you do anything stronger and of working with the expectation that your horse will get things right. Each chapter covers one of these topics both in terms of how Harry teaches it and how Tom experienced learning about it as a student.

There is a lot here to enjoy - it certainly complements the teaching of people like Mark Rashid and if you aren't familiar with Harry Whitney or his way of working then I strongly recommend it. It also made me appreciate the good luck I have had in finding teachers who work in more or less the same way.

My only criticism is that at only just over a hundred pages it's pretty short. I didn't find myself feeling as though there was anything missing in particular but it was over rather quickly.
Penella22penella22 on March 24th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
I think I have to read that...I did like that round pen article. Good to see someone's writing about Harry too.