For the Good of the Horse


By Mary Wanless, 1997, Trafalgar Square Publishing

ISBN 1-57076-083-7

Remember when you first went to a new school where you changed classrooms for each subject? Maybe you felt a little uncomfortable, watching the older students confidently striding from one hall to another, knowing all the "secrets" of the place and perhaps, not being too quick to share them. If you've ever felt at a loss to understand the subtleties of a new situation, or felt a little left out because you haven't yet experienced all the different aspects of a new interest, you would appreciate having a resource like For the Good of the Horse to familiarize you and give you a firm foundation on which to build.

Mary Wanless has done extensive research and spent countless hours studying horses and riders, speaking with farriers and saddlers, veterinarians and homeopathic practitioners, and numerous others in a successful attempt to shed light on many controversial topics. From initial training of horses (and their owners) to the ongoing concerns of shoeing, saddling and health care, Mary explains the controversies, trying to be impartial while giving examples of the most effective methods, and even explaining a bit about where the proponents of the controversies developed their ideas. Like the trainers she describes in her book, Wanless offers the reader the information in the most informative possible manner, and allows you to understand and accept the same conclusions she has drawn. Her conclusions can all be summed up by the title of her book.

For the Good of the Horse is just that - a comprehensive study of horses, their care and nurturing, and suggestions that are all intended to re-map your way of thinking about equines. She even explains that our expectations are often colored by our own lives and the traditions handed down to us intentionally or subconsciously by those who have gone before. The principles of homeopathic medicine and other "new age" style methods of treatment are explained and documented and the reader is reminded subtly that any significantly evolved technology would most likely be perceived as magic by one who didn't yet understand it. Looking back at the history of human medicine, it has not been so long since the concept of bacterial infection was laughed at by those who considered themselves most educated in medical practice. Time and the proof of repeated successes are demonstrating that what were once considered strange or mythical beliefs are in fact beneficial treatment modes.

This book is written in a comfortable, familiar, voice which encourages you to read it all, even though it could also be considered a reference to be referred to frequently for specific needs. Wanless has done a very fair and informative job of encouraging anyone who loves and/or works with horses to consider the horse as a whole being, not just a set of hooves, muscles, bones, and "horsonality" strung together. As with humans, only by considering the whole creature can any overall problems be solved. Wanless provides many avenues of exploration for the horse owner or professional to consider, and offers equines in general a much happier existence, once the principles are accepted. It is a recommended resource for not only the beginning horse enthusiast, but for anyone who loves horses and wishes to ensure that the care they receive is indeed designed to be for their own good.

Lynn Carrick


Comments (5)

Topic: Volume 8 Issue 6
4/5 (5)
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philip hamrick says...
Great Article. piece , I loved the analysis , Does anyone know if my assistant can access a blank Copyright PTO/SB/131 copy to type on ?
23rd February 2016 7:19pm
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Spencer Browning says...
My granddaughters horse, a German Warmblood, 13 yrs old, and Dressage trained and used. Was pleasant and quiet to saddle up until two or three months ago when he began to object to being Girthed. He has go progressively more dynamic in his objections and the greatest care needs to be exercised when tightening his girth - even placing the saddle on his back provokes a reaction. His objections slacken off after about 10 - 20 minutes of warm up. We have had the vet check his back and had an Equine ... Read More
14th February 2016 7:28am
Julia says...
This was a very interesting and informative article. But the \"problems with the bit\" aspect of it only covers poor riding with a bit. Poll flexion should never ever be brought about from the bit - that is completely improper riding and training. Flexion at the poll should come from training and the horse should do it on their own in their own natural way after building up required strength. A rider should never be keeping the head from natural movement at faster gaits either. I ... Read More
1st January 2014 8:57pm
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Barbara Bliss says...
Hi Ellen. In my research on this almost extinct breed, I came across your article and would like to have permission to place it on my website on a dedicated page to the Abaco wild horse and the efforts in the recovery program. I am very impressed with your research and facts and know I couldn\'t do the same and would like to borrow it as a link or an added dedicated page for the last standing mare, Nunki. You will receive full credit, of course. Thank you very much for your time and I look ... Read More
26th November 2013 11:25am
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sylvie hebert says...
There is a human disease that is astonishingly simila to PSSM it is called McArdle disease or Glycogen Storage disease type 5. In horses we are advised to avoid sugar and use fat where for humans the reverse is done?????????
25th March 2013 1:23pm
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