A heartwarming look at truly feral horses with some fantastic insights into how they really work. Lucy is funny even when she is talking about serious things and the descriptions make you want to be there, lying tummy down in the bushes, looking at the horses and everything they do. Anyone with a horse will recognise the fascination...and will learn more about what a real horse is and ought to be.
Almost finished this book but it is proving to be a unique and thoroughly enjoyable look at Horses and herd behaviour. This will certainly appeal to horse owners, vet students, animal scientists and anyone who would like to understand Horses more. I teach horse care and feel that there are some real gems of information that you will not find anywhere else.
A revolution! This book is long awaited. The words “pecking order” and ”dominance” have so long been used when we talk about horses and their behaviour. The former comes from studies in hens and the latter, sadly too often used in human interactions is anthropomorphically linked to our dealings with horses. Thank goodness, in this book the author states and explains how painstaking research shows that horses don’t have dominance hierarchies. What some owners report, (similar to the wolf studies on random wolves brought to zoos from different families not behaving “normally”) is completely artificial, brought about by the way we keep horses and the fact often they cannot live as free as the feral ones Lucy has studied. Others are now accepting that horses don't have dominance hierarchies, and using ideas of dominance or being the horse's leader or alpha have no ethological or natural basis. They emphasise the need for horse people to understand how animals learn and how to teach them. Here’s hoping this new paradigm will infiltrate the horsey world soon! Lucy is doing a UK tour July 2018.
I was lucky enough to hear Lucy speak this year and bought the book immediately after. It's very easy to become complacent when you study equine behaviour and spend so much time interacting with horses. I wondered how many new things I would learn from the book - well how wrong I was! I learned masses of new information and an amazing amount myself, not to mention my horses. I now have more tools to reduce opportunity for conflict in our horse herd(s) at home as well as the means to effectively challenge anyone promoting the idea of hierarchical social structures in horses. Lucy's debunking of the horse 'pecking order'/dominance hierarchy myth is the best justification I have read so far, before I had read this I was aware that the idea of equine hierarchies was a myth however I didn't understand exactly why or how that was the case. Lucy provides a fantastic explanation which really helped give depth to my understanding of horse interaction and, perhaps even more so, to horse-human interaction. As someone who works with horses and people this is an explanation which I will no doubt be called upon to repeat and now I feel confident in my knowledge to be able to do so. Thanks Lucy for putting so many years of research and experience into such an accessible and well-written format.
This is an absolutely brilliant book that provides a revolutionary view of horses' social relations based on in depth studies of feral herds and challenges outdated concepts of hierarchies and dominance theories. Lucy Rees once again at her brilliant best - everyone with a horse should read this book.