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ABOUT DR. DEB: Deb Bennett, Ph.D., is a 1984 graduate of the University of Kansas, and until 1992 was with the Smithsonian Institution. She is known as an authority on the classification, evolution, anatomy, and biomechanics of fossil and living horses. Her research interests include the history of domestication and world bloodlines and breeds. She teaches unique anatomy short-courses and horsemanship clinics designed to be enjoyable to riders of all breeds and disciplines, and all levels of skill.
Internationally known for her scientific approach to conformation analysis, "Dr. Deb" has made a career out of conveying a kind of "X-ray vision" for bone structure to breeders and buyers. Her background in biomechanics helps her clearly explain how conformation relates to performance ability. Dr. Deb's clinics often feature real bones and interesting biomechanical models.
Dr. Deb doesn't confine her work to the chalkboard, but rides and trains, having participated over a 30-year span in nearly every form of horse competition. She is a universalist, constantly reminding students that the cut of a person's hat or the style of their saddle matters not one whit to a horse. Riding clubs and organizations everywhere have enjoyed and benefited from Dr. Deb's expertise and insight: Arabians, sporthorses, enduro, Morgans, gaited breeds, Warmbloods, Quarter Horses -- you name it -- for she is remarkably conversant with the needs and problems of many breeds. Practical problem-solving is always a focus, and "play" that develops the horse's mind is a top priority. Dr. Deb's goals for your horse are the same as for her own horses, who are athletically competent, happy, confident, long-lived and free-moving.
Dr. Deb's horsemanship philosophy is based on the belief that horses and humans have potentially equal intelligence. She encourages riders to increase their ability to perceive what the horse is thinking and feeling. Dr. Deb's horses are educated -- not "trained". She believes that all work with horses should consider both the physical body and the "inner life". Dr. Deb coined the term "Perjustice" to describe the very old art and science of using the horse's innate powers of movement to develop him as an excellent riding companion. She also invented "Birdie Theory", a way of putting yourself in your horse's shoes and a great aid to understanding what makes him "tick" on the inside.
Since 1984, Dr. Deb has been a consulting editor and frequent contributor to Equus
Magazine, but has also been published in almost every other major horse magazine in
North America. She also has a long list of technical publications (click on button
at right). She is a major contributor to the Elsevier World Animal Science
Encyclopedia and the Smithsonian Institution's "Seeds of Change"
Columbus Quincentenary volume. She has published four books on horse-related
topics. Dr. Deb founded Equine Studies Institute in 1992. Events led by Dr.
Deb are essentially "intelligent conversations" about horsemanship -- and you're invited to participate.
Dr. Deb's current list of publications can be found here.