Evidence-Based Horsemanship

Evidence-Based Horsemanship by Dr. Peters and Martin Black

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Evidence-Based Horsemanship by Dr. Peters and Martin Black
Evidence-Based Horsemanship is based on the Scientist-Practitioner Model. It was developed out of a collaboration between Martin Black and Dr. Stephen Peters who felt that the public and their horses needed a source of accurate information.

“Real information” gathered by observation, tested in the field and validated by science.

Evidence-Based Horsemanship involves assessing and integrating scientific findings to inform decisions and to create “best practices ” in all areas of horse training and care based on empirical outcomes (i.e., what “works”).

It allows us to ask the question, “What does our current scientific knowledge of the horse, when applied and empirically observed, show me about getting the best outcomes possible for me and the horse?”

Soft Cover, photos, 90 pages


Think Harmony with Horses by Ray Hunt

Think Harmony With Horses by Ray Hunt

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“When you ask your horse to do something it should be his idea… he wants to do it, he understands how to do it, and he does it. ” These words are typical of the way Ray Hunt expresses his philosophy of the ideal relationship between horse and man. That philosophy is discussed in this book, in a manner that makes the reader feel as if he is listening to Ray talk. It is persuasive talk — gently persuasive; this man’s ideas make a lot of sense, and the success he has achieved with those ideas is impressive.”

What Appears Beautiful & Effortless

“What appears beautiful and effortless, is in fact an achievement in art, feel and athleticism requiring years of quality development for both horse and rider.”

Jim Hicks

“I think most people don’t really understand all that it takes to stand on your toes, and to be able to jump and land without any noise, or for a male dancer to be able to lift a girl. All of these things look so effortless, but there’s an attention to detail and years of training, as well as being able to transform into a character and being able to meld all of those things together.”

Misty Copeland








Holding Hands by Dallas Sweat

When you hold hands with your horse and he holds your hand back, to me that’s true connection and harmony. My students often hear me say when you hold hands with someone it doesn’t feel good to hold an empty hand , it doesn’t feel good to hold a strong hand, just hold hands.

By Dallas Sweat



Developing a Path of Understanding Before Attempting Shoulder In

“It is very unfortunate that so much ring side coaching is laden with  “use more leg and ride more forward” as the always fixed answer.

I received a thought provoking text one morning as I was driving into work. The content of the message was advising me that I needed to walk like a penguin when traversing the Sage Creek parking lot due to its having a layer of ice covering it.

I instantly recognized that the advice was simply about adjusting to shorter steps to create the balance needed to walk safely on ice.

Likewise when a horse has tension from balance issues, influencing smaller steps will help the horse have freedom and lightness in the front end while allowing him to re define his needs.


Attempting a shoulder in or any of the movements for that matter, will result in an unproductive inept mess if you are not able to influence the length of your horses steps.

There is no way to have success in lateral movements if you do not understand how to support your horses needs.


When the rider does not have a concept of the length or activity of his step to be able to balance and bear more weight on the horses hind end. They are truly lacking in building the athleticism needed in the development of strengthening muscle, while allowing freedom and energy to flow. The goal is to not subject the horse to physical stress on his tendons, joints and emotions.

Before any of this is attempted a defined riders position with balance, feel and timing while maintaining energy is a good place to start.


Donnette Hicks

Advancing Through Uniformity

Knowledgeable horsemen who teach are often profoundly committed students who seek coaching for themselves.

Wise educators will work with those who can shed light on blind spots, as well as be willing to receive wisdom from those who have a map ahead.


If a teacher is not humble or seeking to develop their personal journey with the horse. It becomes difficult to accept what is being offered. It is not only wise to not ask a self taught uneducated doctor to perform surgery anymore than seeking the same from anyone lacking real knowledge as an equestrian coach. Who suffers the most in this situation is often the horse.

A fundamental good example of why a coach will seek to continue receiving information. They understand that humans have to constantly choose to not get lost in the reaction of  life’s challenges. Shedding light on the habits we have and how they effect our relationship with our horse is essential. This takes outside input.

Fundamentally there is hardly a person who’s body is balanced in their physical or emotional self carriage. The ability to stay symmetrical, gets lost in our reaction to life’s worries and concerns, resulting in unbalanced movement patterns which in turn become  unconscious habits.

Once physical and emotional imbalances have been dislodged, advancing through uniformity with a coach becomes a tool where progressive layers of refinement successfully comes into play.

Seeking  a teachers mirror, brings the human horse partnerships into balance.  The personal commitment to growth and learning opens and allows the horse in the end to become our greatest teacher and mentor.


Donnette Hicks


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