Recommended Reading List

Behaviour:

The Horse's Mind - Lucy Rees
Excellent introduction to equine behaviour. We especially like Chapter 5 about communication and body language. "Neighs have been completely misunderstood by Hollywood filmmakers who constantly re-run that same potted neigh in fear/alarm situations where horses would not neigh; but in the 'creeping-up-on-the-enemy-camp' scenes their tethered horses do not neigh at the sound and smell of approaching horses, whereas real ones would'."

Equine behaviour: a guide for veterinarians and equine scientists - Paul McGreevy
This is a very useful text-book providing comprehensive coverage of the main aspects of equine behaviour. It is easy to read with lots of photos and diagrams. The end of each chapter includes case-studies to help the reader apply the theory, however, note that some elements of the solutions posed in some of the case-studies are not promoted by EBTA for use in general practice.

Horse Behavior: The Behavioral Traits and Adaptations of Domestic and Wild Horses, Including Ponies - George Waring
Simple and easy-to-read reference book. A useful text to have on your book-shelf and delve into when you need well-referenced accessible information on a specific aspect of horse behaviour.

The Domestic Horse: The Origins, Development and Management of its Behaviour - D. S. Mills and S. M. McDonnell
Each chapter is written by a different expert in that field so a fantastic resource from a wide range of authors. We especially like the chapter on the equine play ethogram - an aspect of equine behaviour that is so frequently misinterpreted as aggression or 'naughtiness'.

The Equid Ethogram - S. M. McDonnell
A listing and description of behaviours performed by horses, in both feral and domestic settings.

The Behaviour and Welfare of the Horse - A.F. Fraser
This book provides a lot of detail and is not as accessible as other books on this list. However, it is valuable for readers who are looking for more detail and a science-focussed text-book on equine behaviour. Great to have on hand as a reference book

Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better.

Let horses be horses - Lesley Skipper
A great introduction to horse behaviour, covering ethology and psychology and (unusually) without falling into the trap of superimposing any erroneous human-centric interpretation.

Teach Yourself Horse: Natural Horse Management - Heather Simpson
An excellent introduction with lots of photographs and practical examples. This small but very useful book is especially ideal for teenagers or those looking for a comprehensive but simple introduction to horse behaviour.

Learning theory:

Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training - Karen Pryor
The must-have book! A fantastic introduction to training using positive reinforcement and although focussed on training dogs is equally relevant whether you are training dogs, horses, rabbits or spouses!

How Dogs Learn - Mary R Burch and Jon S Bailey
An excellent introduction to learning theory; as relevant for horses as it is for dogs and very accessible.

Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better.

Training:

Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training - Karen Pryor
The must-have book! A fantastic introduction to training using positive reinforcement and although focussed on training dogs is equally relevant whether you are training dogs, horses, rabbits or spouses!

Other end of the Leash - Patricia B McConnell
A really good read about training dogs but many concepts covered are equally valid for horses.

The Art and Science of Clicker Training for Horses: A Positive Approach to Training Equines and Understanding Them - Ben Hart
Detailed and considered coverage of clicker training from many angles. We particularly liked the chapter entitled `Can I use clicker training in conjunction with my other training methods?' - it doesn't just leap in with an answer but takes you on a journey of exploration to get there. And the final chapter `What is the future of clicker training?' is an honest appraisal of the state of horsemanship in the UK today. If more people read this book one of the obstacles to clicker training becoming a widely accepted and valued method of training - not understanding it - will be blown away.

Knowing Your Horse: A Guide to Equine Learning, Training and Behaviour - Emma Lethbridge
This is an excellent introduction to the fascinating topic of learning theory and its application. Many trainers do not have a good understanding of how horses learn and as a result some training methods are based on flawed interpretation of equine learning - this text will provide the reader with the tools to analyse different training methods and to understand their horse better.

Shaping Plans - Ben Hart
Many of us understand the importance of breaking training into small stages and working through them carefully. However, some of us struggle to envisage how small each stage should be and as a result can expect our horses to progress too fast, which of course is less effective in the long run. Ben Hart has written shaping plans for a variety of training aims, from introducing tack to de-spooking your horse. Each plan provides around 3 months of training.

Behavior Modification for Horses: A Positive Method for Training Horses - Patti Dammier and Wendy Peabody
An unbiased step-by-step guide through learning theory delivered in bite size chunks.

You Can Train Your Horse to Do Anything!: On Target Training Clicker Training and Beyond - Shawna and Vinton Karrasch and Arlene Newman
A detailed but very clear book about the relevant learning theory and how to apply training through positive reinforcement to horse training.

Other:

The culture clash - Jean Donaldson
Explains why describing human-canine relationships in terms of dominance is flawed - an issue that is as relevant for horses as it is for dogs.

Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions and Heart - Marc Bekoff
Thought-provoking book about our relationship, expectations and inconsistencies in how we think about animals

Physiology of Behaviour - Neil Carlson
An accessible reference book providing a fantastic introduction to this subject.

Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness - Donald Griffin
Great introduction to cognition and consciousness. A fascinating read with lots of examples from across the animal kingdom.

Human behaviour:

Why we do what we do - Edward Deci
While training with positive reinforcement has the potential to be much more ethical than more coercive methods, it can still be manipulative and controlling and, at best, is still at the whim of the human handler, i.e. the one who decides what should be rewarded. Skinnerian behaviourism, however, is only the beginning of what we can discover about behaviour, learning and motivation. Deci's highly readable book takes us beyond crude behaviourism to a discussion of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. Finally we learn about how we can maximise our well-being (and/or our horses' well-being) by prioritising autonomy in all that we do - it is through autonomy that our horses can enjoy their interactions with us, not a mere handful of treats.

Coercion and its fallout - Murray Sidman
Coercion is a common method of how we relate to animals and get them to do what we want them to. This book explores the different forms of coercion in place in our society and the negative effects 'fall out' that occur when this way of behaving is used.

Dibs in Search of Self: Personality Development in Play Therapy - Virginia Axline
A memorable, and true, story about a young boy and his journey through a difficult childhood helped by play therapy. There are many parallels between the therapy described here and the "free-shaping" experienced by a horse when used to enhance his personal growth and autonomy.

The Road Less Travelled - M. Scott Peck
"Life is difficult." So begins Peck's bestseller, as it takes you on a journey through subjects such as delaying gratification, love and "religion" (i.e. your "map of the world"). This book will help you to question who you are and your motivations for doing what you do. Very relevent to horse-training if you consider (as I do) the horse to be your mirror. Just be warned that you may learn things about yourself you wish you hadn't - but you will probably be a better person for it when you emerge from the throught process.

Videos:

The Poisoned Cue - Jesus Rosales-Ruiz
Research showing the powerful effect that classical conditioning can have on training when aversive stimuli are used.