From the horse’s mouth

What book influenced you as a young rider? It’s fun to ask this to my clinic participants.

 Black Beauty typically tops the list. But this classic is more influential than I thought – so I learned at this weekend’s Equine Industry Symposium at the U of Guelph.

Written from the horse’s point of view, Sewell’s story shed light on the life of working animals. The voices of Black Beauty and Ginger  fostered empathy for horses in the general population.  Sewell’s keen observation of horse behaviour created a stir,  whose ripple effect would influence horse welfare legislation in  the horse drawn taxi industry, including policies to eliminate the overcheck  – tack less about function and more about a fashionable carriage horse outline.

The ripple effect continues. Every year horse associations revise their permitted and non-permitted tack in rule books.  With so much equine research available I’m hopeful that these changes will be inspired by science over fashion and emotion.