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Equine Behaviour: Principles & Practice

It’s wonderful to know that amongst my 6 day working week and studying part time, part of my uni reading requires that I read an equine behaviour book over a 6 or so week period.  Nice that is, that doing something for my studies also means I get to do another review for the blog!

I love doing something that feels like it’s achieving a few things and this definitely counts as one of those things.Equine Behaviour: Principles & Practice by Daniel Mills and Kathryn Nankervis.

The prescribed text for my Bachelor of Equine Science, specifically relating to the Horse Behaviour and Training Management is Equine Behaviour: Principles & Practice by Daniel Mills and Kathryn Nankervis.

The first section covered is understanding behaviour concepts, taking a look at theories relating to the evolution of the horse and how it’s behaviour has helped it to evolve or adjusted in line with natural selection.  It also brings to light the differences in instinctive and learned behaviour and the time when the horse is most receptive to learn and consequently carry out particular behaviours.

The second section looks at the mechanisms of behaviour – why a horse carries itself a particular way and behaves in certain ways based on the mechanics of how the horse is built physically – a bit of an eye opener!  It covers topics such as how information is processed, the senses and how they relate to a horse’s behaviour, communication and social organisation and the sexual and reproductive behaviour of horses.

The third and final section looks at the flexibility of behaviour and it’s management and how horses learn and can be taught.  The last chapter looks at the welfare of a horse, how we would define it and how we can use management to assess the cause of stereotypies (wind sucking, weaving, box walking, crib biting)  and therefore problem solve for ways to minimise, stop or best manage these behaviours.

This book was definitely an eye opener and the graphics to further explain concepts are great.

I did find myself a little frustrated with the editing (or lack thereof) personally and struggled with some of the explanations, not finding them ‘simple’  enough and requiring a few rereads to get my head around them.  The examples and images provided definitely did help to emphasise and explain points, however.

A good book to open the eyes to how a horse’s behaviour really needs to be considered when we’re frustrated with why they do something and cannot seem to fathom why they just don’t get what we want them to do.

Author: Daniel Mills and Kathryn Nankervis
http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/dbs/staff/479.asp (Daniel Mills)
http://www.hartpury.ac.uk/research/research_staff_detail.asp?RStaffSubCategoryID=2Non Fiction (Kathryn Nankervis)
Non Fiction
In my library? You betcha.  Bought on account of uni but a good addition to the non fiction section.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

“It is the best of lessons if the horse gets a season of repose whenever he has behaved to his rider’s satisfaction.” – Xenophon – The Art of Horsemanship

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