Book Review – What Horses Really Want Unlocking the Secrets to Trust, Cooperation, and Reliability

By Lynn Acton

Relationships with horses are complex and ever-changing. This is one of the reasons why horsemanship can become a lifelong pursuit. There’s always a balance to be struck with our equine partners, and it demands continual growth and understanding on our side.

In this book, horsewoman Lynn Acton explains that when the focus in the relationship is on what we want from the horse, his compliance becomes the measure of success, and what he thinks and feels is often overlooked. Is he calm, confident, and trusting? Or anxiously wishing he could escape? His behavior, performance, and reliability depend on the answers to those questions.

Horses want security and social bonds. They want trusted leaders to protect them—not only from danger, but from stress. When we provide this security, they accept our rules. This not only puts us in charge, it makes our leadership more effective because we do not force it on them; they seek it. The result is less anxiety, fewer behavior problems, more efficient learning, and better reliability.

Acton refers to this relationship as protector leadership because being the “protector” is the foundation. Building methodology based on time-tested training theories, Acton shows why protector leadership works and how to make it work for us, fitting the separate pieces together, and illustrating the connections with practical examples of real horses in everyday life.

Published by Trafalgar Square. Purchase at Amazon and start reading today.


See this article in the 2021 March online edition:

March 2021


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