Horse Harmony Named Finalist in the the Animals/Pets
category of the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!
The philosophy of dressage is defined as the physical and mental development of the horse. As trainers, judges, and riders we often focus on physical characteristics and do not consider personality traits unless they become a major obstacle. Madalyn’s book gives us an organized way to determine a horse’s mental capacity and personality so that he is happy in his work and compatible with his human partner. As I read this enjoyable and useful book, I found myself categorizing many horses I have known, especially the “difficult” ones.
– Bobbie A. Paulk, Dressage Instructor, Trainer, and “R” Judge
We have a very large cutting horse training and breeding operation, and Dr. Ward’s system of personality typing really helps us identify, from an early age, the horses that will truly excel at and enjoy this sport. Personality typing also helps us choose horses appropriate for amateur riders, pro riders, futurities, and our breeding program.
– Lyndy Montgomery, NCHA Trainer
Foreword by Wendy Murdoch
Author, Simplify Your Riding
From the moment I looked at the first few pages of Horse Harmony I was thrilled to see that finally someone had put into print what I had been feeling about horses and riders for years: finding the right horse has less to do with selecting a breed or color and more to do with finding a horse with a compatible personality. I immediately began reading about each of the Traditional Chinese Medicine types and thinking about not only my horses but also my clients and their horses. Instantly I could understand what made some relationships work while others were less than harmonious.
For over 20 years I have been teaching riders how to use their bodies to communicate more effectively with their horses. Throughout my career I have seen a large percentage of riders whose personality is mismatched with their horse’s personality. But how do I explain that to the clients? Some owners simply think they have to tough it out and “make the relationship work.” Others are simply intimidated by their equine partners and wind up spending their entire relationship working with them on the ground and feeding them instead of riding.
For over six years I taught a weekly lesson program for a United States Pony Club. As part of my job parents would come to me and ask me to help them find a horse for their child. Or a child would be ready to move up to another horse that became available within the Club. I helped determine if the child/ horse combination would work out as a successful partnership. It became clear to me that I was more than a riding instructor in assisting the match-up of child to horse. I was more like a marriage counselor. I had to take into account the personality of the child, the personality of the horse, and the skill level of both. Unconsciously I was determining if they were a good match, as with a marriage, and how long the relationship would last, since the child would continue to grow and develop. But how could I explain this to the parents? Often times the parents were not riders and had no understanding of the delicacy of matching their child with an equine partner. If only I had had Horse Harmony then! I would have made it required reading for every parent so that they could understand what I meant when I told them a certain horse fit their child. It certainly would have made my life easier.
As I continue to teach all around the world I am fascinated by the choices riders make when selecting a horse partner. When I see a good partnership it is so rewarding because horse and rider trust each other and are happy to work through learning new skills together. Sometimes I find that, while the personalities are a good match, there are some basic communication problems which can be easily resolved by teaching the rider how to ride more effectively. A change in perspective or the removal of a problem such as an illfitting saddle can quickly resolve the misunderstanding, and the trusting partnership is easily restored.
Then there are the horse/rider combinations that are simply not working. Often these riders tell me they love their horse, blame themselves, and think they should be able to work through the problems. Equally often they have been injured because they were not willing to recognize that their horse was just not a good match for them. I often advise these people that if riding is supposed to be fun why put yourself through the torture of a bad marriage? There will be someone else whose personality matches your horse and another horse with the right personality for you.
While I can only try to explain my gut feelings, Horse Harmony puts words and case histories behind each personality type to help riders understand why a relationship is not working, ease the emotional stress when acknowledging incompatible personalities, and give guidance as to what to look for in order to have a good relationship with their horse. Horse Harmony helps you understand why you and your horse are not getting along and what to what to look for so that you can make wiser decisions based on compatibility with your next horse.