Horses Never Lie - The Heart of Passive Leadership

By Mark Rashid

Copyright 2000 by Mark Rashid

ISBN 1-55566-249-8

Publisher, BowTie Press

Paperback, 170 pages, Approx. $16

It's a true horse lover who hangs on every word of another horse lover's horse stories, whether it be merely for entertainment or to gain some insight. Such is how this inspiring and uniquely educational book, Horses Never Lie, came to be. And such is how the reader will gain insight into horses, horsemanship, and passive leadership. This delightful book is one you won't want to put down.

The author, Mark Rashid, a natural horseman of a slightly different kind from Estes Park, Colorado, casually and descriptively relates fascinating tales of his horse experiences, from childhood to present. But he is not just telling stories, he is relating profound experiences with a lesson behind each, and he is teaching the reader in much the same way that the influential old horseman in many of his stories taught him. This prominent character, known only as the 'old man', played a key role in Mark's life and passed on his knowledge to the author by merely pointing things out and letting Mark do the learning.

Mark's writing style of capturing the reader's interest, then softly imparting wisdom, is a welcome change from the usual horsemanship textbook. There's no need to study; the lessons presented are readily retained because they will be remembered as an interesting story. The reader will come away having learned a lot without ever knowing he has just been taught something.

Horses Never Lie is about passive leadership. Mark points out that not all herd leaders are the "alphas", or the bullies of the herd. Though there are horses that have become leaders by force and fear tactics, the herds do not necessarily want to follow them. They just give the alpha space and do what he says to avoid trouble. Instead, horses choose to follow a different type of leader, a passive one, a horse who is dependable, consistent, and level-headed. And, contrary to popular opinion, so it is with human leaders. Horses will choose to follow a person they trust and want to be with, out of a desire for their company and leadership, not a fear of what will happen if they do not comply with the human's wishes.

Most of all, this book shows the reader a better way of relating to the horse - by looking at life from the horse's point of view, by understanding the horse, and by adopting the proper attitude. No matter what natural horsemanship training techniques are used, the right attitude and a basic understanding of the horse are essential to success when relating to horses. Mark shares how he has found quiet but effective ways of resolving even difficult problems with horses, and how to find the 'try'. It is most important to recognize a try when a horse gives it, and to give the horse a chance to do so.

Mark firmly believes that a person does not need to be an alpha to be the leader, and as you read each page, you'll understand why 'getting along with' a horse is important. The natural horsemanship movement has done much to bring to owners an awareness of the importance of having a good relationship with one's horse, but Mark takes this to an even higher awareness. Mark instills in the reader a new sensitivity and understanding of how important it is for people to see things the way the horse sees things. There can be a partnership without an alpha, a boss. A person can still be in charge without being domineering, but by being a passive leader, leading by example, and by being consistent, reliable and trustworthy. Horses follow those they can depend on.

If you care about your horse and the relationship you have with him, this book is for you.

Also by Mark Rashid:

Considering the Horse

A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color

Video 'Views:

Feel The Difference with Clinton Anderson

Downunder HorsemanshipT Series:


Suppleness and Body Collection

Trouble Free Trailering

Copyright 1997

Approx. $40 each; $99 set


Downunder Horsemanship

985 Eastman Lane

Petaluma, CA 94952


Fax 707-776-4706

Through this video set, Clinton Anderson, a noted Australian horseman who now resides in the United States, helps us discover the keys to unlock our horses' natural talent and true potential. Professionally produced, these videos give the viewer a front row seat for Clinton's demonstrations. In each video, Clinton proves himself to be an excellent teacher, and his narration never misses a beat. Everything that he and the horses do is demonstrated and explained clearly, with Clinton pointing things out as he goes.

In Trouble Free Trailering, Clinton demonstrates how a horse can be taught to load by using a common sense approach of making the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy. He explains why we are responsible for our horses getting better or getting worse, and that it is up to us how well they do. Horses are naturally inclined to avoid confined areas, so a trailer can be a frightening place for a horse to be. Entering a trailer is not something a horse would normally choose to do on his own initiative. Or would he? With two horses who previously wouldn't load, Clinton demonstrates his techniques for turning their reluctance into a willing attitude so that they want to get in the trailer, and they enjoy being in there.

In Suppleness and Body Collection, Clinton teaches easy-to-learn techniques to change the horse's responsiveness to a consistently lighter, softer response. The exercises he uses make sense to the horse and the proof is in the horse's fluid, graceful, and collected movement as Clinton brings out the best in the horse. He demonstrates how to get consistent results without force, how to encourage the behavior we want, and how to get the horse to allow us to control his body through suppleness. The key is in getting control of the head and neck, shoulders, rib cage and hips separately, suppling the horse from nose to tail. Clinton explains that horses don't have hard mouths; they have hard, stiff bodies, and that suppleness is what needs to be worked on more than maneuvers, because without suppleness, the maneuvers will not stay very good for very long. He also demonstrates how to teach backing correctly and how to build in a good stop. By using the exercises in this video, the rider can improve the horse's lateral and vertical flexion, collection, lightness, and hindquarter control, effortlessly and on a loose rein.

In Maneuvers, Clinton demonstrates how to perform more difficult maneuvers once suppleness has been achieved. Circles, lead departures, lead changes, stops and spins or turnarounds are examined and he breaks the maneuvers down into smaller steps. Clinton stresses that the rider must always think about how to make requests easier for the horse to understand. He shows his methods for bending, aligning and positioning the horse and getting the horse to stay in the position requested, and how to keep the horse alert without him second-guessing the requests from the rider. Clinton stresses the importance of a good stop and that 'whoa' means stop, NOW, and he demonstrates his method for getting a reliable stop, on a loose rein. Clinton explains that in maneuvers one must get the horse's footwork right before the speed. Whether one rides English or Western, one truly can attain the ultimate in softness and collection while learning to position the horse's body correctly for maximum performance. This video demonstrates clearly how to do that, and how to keep it interesting for the horse and rider.

This video set is packed with useful information, and the viewer will want to watch these tapes over and over. Not only is it a pleasure to watch these horses move and respond, but there is so much useful information presented that each time one of these videos is viewed it will reveal something new. Clinton is currently producing a video series on groundwork that, judging by his first three, is a series to look forward to.