DR. DEB BENNETT, Ph.D.
This section of the ESI Website is intended to provide you with a broad background of interesting reading on topics of use to horse owners. Articles posted here are all .pdf's offered free of charge. Click on one of the buttons and the item under that title will instantly start downloading to your computer or other device. To read the papers you must have Acrobat Reader installed (any version 5.0 or higher).
Topics take in anatomy and biomechanics (both human and equine), zoogeography, evolutionary history, growth and development of the horse skeleton, and much more.I have a special interest in the history of horsemanship and of horse breeds and breeding, and by the courtesy of my editors at EQUUS Magazine and The Eclectic Horseman, you can download selected titles from my series in both these magazines. Some of these articles were published a decade or more ago and are not now available anywhere but here.
Some of the articles come from peer-reviewed scientific journals. They are "technical papers" -- but written in a very readable style -- and like the popular articles are posted here by permission of the publishers. I believe that it isn't enough just to learn riding techniques; good riders seek to understand everything about horses. Why do we use the aids we use? How is a saddle designed and built? What is crookedness and how can I help my horse to move straight? When is a horse physically mature? How can I help my horse to have a long and happy life? How did the unique structure of the horse's body evolve through time?
There is some "required reading". I ask students to read three of these papers prior to attending any seminar or horsemanship clinic led by me. These three papers are: "Lessons from Woody", which tells why it is so necessary to have your horse move straight; "The Ring of Muscles" which explains what collection is, why it's desirable, and how the horse's body is structured to produce it; and "True Collection", which goes into the more subtle, non-physical means of understanding and producing straightness. These are topics we work on at every Horsemanship Improvement Clinic.
You will also want to download a copy of "What Should I Read". This is an extensive listing of books which any modern rider ought to be interested in. By no means do I agree with all that is said or advocated in many of them, but they are nonetheless a mark and measure of horsemanship as it exists in our time and as it has existed over the preceding five centuries. I encourage students to read these books, think about what they say, and then come to the Forum to ASK QUESTIONS. I own every book on the list and as a teacher of horsemanship, I'm at the Forum to field those questions and discuss the meaning with you.