Book Review: For The Love Of The Horse: Looking Back, Looking Forward By Mark Rashid

If you liked Mark Rashid’s other books, you will want to hurry and pick up this newest one. Just published in September 2022, it is hands down my favorite of his works.

While readers familiar with his writing will find some overlap with his previous storytelling, there is still plenty of new material to make it worth the read.

On the other hand, if you have never heard of Mark Rashid, I suggest starting with this newest book. If it speaks to you, you will likely want to explore his other horsemanship books:

Considering The Horse: Tales of Problems Solved and Lessons Learned (1993)

A Good Horse Is Never A Bad Color (1996)

Horses Never Lie: the Heart of passive leadership (2000)

Life Lessons From A Ranch Horse (2003)

Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between Horse and Rider (2009)

Horsemanship Through Life (2012)

A Journey To Softness (2016)

Finding The Missed Path: The Art of Restarting Horses (2017)

A prolific writer, Mark Rashid is well-known for describing his early horse experiences. Especially the ones with his mentor, Walter.

It is primarily through his storytelling that Mark imparts bits of horsemanship wisdom to his readers. If you are looking for a “how-to” instructional guide, you may be disappointed. But if you enjoy inferring lessons from other people’s experiences, you will find lots to absorb here about horses.

In addition to his personal stories, the author also shares his thoughts on some horse industry issues like problems with horse inbreeding and his frustrations with what is commonly termed “the natural horsemanship movement.” I always find it interesting to see professional horsemen’s views on the wider horse world.

Ever a learner, Mark also describes finding opportunities for like-minded partnerships with other horse professionals, including Jim Masterson of The Masterson Method and Dr. Stephen Peters, co-author of the book Evidence Based Horsemanship (along with Martin Black).

Mark has likely forgotten more about horses than I will ever know, but I find it encouraging that even he sees the need to increase his own horse knowledge. It’s a good example for all horsemen to follow.

At the heart of all of his books is the improvement of the horse-human relationship. As someone who struggles with the mental/emotional aspects of riding, I am especially attracted to Mark’s emphasis on the importance of the horseman making internal changes.

“By internally focusing on what we’d like from our horses instead of what they are doing (if what they are doing is not what we want) we can not only draw our horses to us, but this focus can most certainly help in the development of things such as softness, willingness, and even effortlessness of movement.” – Mark Rashid

Mark Rashid writes a lot about how human thought processes and emotions can either create space for a horse to connect with us or create so much noise that the horse can’t hear us. He emphasizes that connecting with a horse is not so much something that we do to the horse, but rather something that we create space for the horse to do.

“Negative feedback loops between horse and rider can be disrupted by the rider letting go of what they don’t want, focusing on what they do want and then offering their horses direction towards that goal. Doing something as simple as this can, in turn, allow riders to get back in their bodies, center themselves, and ultimately create an internal reconnect.” – Mark Rashid

He also talks about the strengths and weaknesses that horses and humans each bring to the partnership. One of my favorite quotes in the book on this subject is

” . . . in general humans are not very good at connecting. Horses, on the other hand, are very good at it. Horses are also very good at finding openings. They can find openings in fences, in a rider’s intent, in someone’s lack of direction or judgment.” – Mark Rashid

I laughed when I read this. I have often thought that my horsemanship looks like swiss cheese. Lots of holes.

In conclusion, I think this book will appeal to a wide variety of horsemen. Whether you are brand-new to horses or have ridden for fifty years, I think everyone who is on a quest to be better with horses will find this book valuable. For the love of the horse, indeed.

Disclaimer: This post was unsolicited, but I do want to point out that my blog has an affiliate relationship with the book’s publisher, Trafalgar Square Books. If you click on the publisher’s link on this blog’s website and buy any materials through that link, this blog will receive a much-appreciated portion of your sales at no extra cost to you. Just click on the photo of the woman reading a book to a horse. You will see it on the right-hand side of your screen or at the bottom after scrolling down.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: For The Love Of The Horse: Looking Back, Looking Forward By Mark Rashid

  1. Oh, I love his books so much. I saw he had a new book coming out, but I’d been so busy I forgot. Thank you for this reminder I’m going to add it to my Amazon list now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am going to order this book. Being in Canada I always order from Canadian bookstores as it avoids customs duties and brokerage fees if I get it from a store located in the USA I have found i have to pay those and it can get complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll add this. I don;t have horses in my life , but I had an old dog grooming boss tell me that a lot of what horse people know can be applied to dogs. You really have to clear your head in order to work with some dogs. I’m not grooming as many dogs as I used to but it’s good read new things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your old boss might be on to something. I suspect all animals benefit from their handlers being mentally present in a calm and focused kind of way. This book really speaks to that. The book’s content is something I think that all animals lovers can appreciate.

      Liked by 1 person

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