Winning: Equestrian Science

Winning: Equestrian Science


We love good books written by trainers, riders, equine experts, and other interesting people. But there are (thankfully!) a lot of them already. “The Science Behind Horsemanship” by Dr. Steven Peters and Martin Black are in a class of their own.

This book goes into much greater depth than most horse books, at least from a scientific standpoint. It deals with the horse, its behavior, its training, and its ability to learn in a neuroscientific way. Questions like “Why is reward learning so effective?”, “Why do horses really lick and chew?”, and much more are answered clearly and scientifically.

Special cooperation

Stephen Peters, a neuropsychologist who specializes in the workings of the brain: “Equinology helps debunk myths and confirm and validate experimental experiences for people with deep understanding and experience.”

One person who embodies these qualities is horseman Martin Black. Peters and Martin met at a clinic. A special collaboration ensued, resulting in the book, The Science Behind Horsemanship.

Full view

Although the book is only 127 pages long, it gives a fairly complete picture of the inner workings of the horse. It begins with the development of the brain in the foal and young horse, and in Chapters 2 and 3 discusses the structure and functioning of the nervous system and the senses. Separate chapters are devoted to learning ability, fear responses, embodiment, and housing.

Hot, but manageable

The material discussed is very spicy at times. It remains interesting and easy to understand, thanks in part to the limited length of the chapters and the alternation between Peters’ scholarly erudition and Martin Black’s more narrative texts, supplemented by photographs and photo series. By the way, Martin Black’s texts (in italics, so the distinction is clear) are certainly not superficial. Black shows a great deal of knowledge of the behavior and performance of horses. Peters deepens this further by offering neuroscientific explanations.

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Brighter light

Thus “The Science Behind Horsemanship” provides the reader with a lot of knowledge, eye-opening, and appreciation. In conclusion, Peters writes: “We hope that the anecdotes and neuroscience will enable readers to see horses in a clearer light.” Ideally, this will make readers better riders and their horses better off. A great goal, and we believe it has certainly been achieved. s

know more?

Be sure to stay tuned for upcoming issues of Bit & Cap, because you’ll soon be reading an extended interview with Dr. Steven Peters!

To win?

Are you a Bit & Cap subscriber and want to win this book? Which you can! Enter your details here before July 24th.

Would you rather buy the book yourself or give it as a gift? Then search for

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