The Compassionate Equestrian: 25 Principles to Live by When Caring for and Working with Horses

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9781570767159: The Compassionate Equestrian: 25 Principles to Live by When Caring for and Working with Horses
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This marvelous book, born of a unique collaboration between Dr. Allen Schoen world-renowned veterinarian and author and experienced trainer and competitor Susan Gordon, introduces the 25 Principles of Compassionate Equitation. These Principles are a set of developmental guidelines, encouraging a level of personal awareness that may be practiced not only through the reader's engagement with horses, but interaction with all humans and sentient beings he or she encounters. The authors share stories and outline current, peer-reviewed studies supporting methods of training, handling, and caring for horses that are safe, healthy, non-stressful, and pain-free. Through their Compassionate Equitation program, the authors encourage the horse industry to approach training and handling with compassion and willingness to alleviate suffering. By developing compassion for their own horses, and all equines, equestrians transcend differences in breed, riding discipline, and training, and empathize and connect more closely with the global collective” of horses and horse people. A worldwide community of compassionate equine practitioners and horse owners will emerge, and benefit everyone, including their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers from every walk of life. These are simple changes any horse person can make that can have a vast impact on the horse industry and society as a whole.

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“Two years ago two residents of Salt Spring Island in British Columbia came together to conceive what they called The Compassionate Equestrian. Pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine and renowned author Dr. Allen Schoen joined forces with horse trainer Susan Gordon to help others understand compassion and how it relates to the equine world. Their goal was to demonstrate how we can apply compassion to the equestrian lifestyle.” OntheHorse.com, June 2017

Anyone who wants to call themselves a “horseman” or a “horsewoman” should be required to read this book in order to do so The twenty-five chapters (each devoted to one of the 25 principles) range from “Treating Animals as We Would Like To Be Treated” and “A Compassionate Approach To Training and Showing” to “Recognizing Subtle Signs of Resistance” and “Compassion For The Global Herd”. In addition, the ongoing story about Willie is invaluable for anyone who has acquired an older horse with both physical and emotional baggage. Much of what Susan Gordon shares we have been applying to our senior show horses, and to see it crystalized in her entires about Willie in the book confirm that using compassion and treating horses like we want to be treated is the better way. Also beneficial are the Questions to Consider following each chapter/principle. These offer the reader the opportunity for application of the principle to their own equine relationships/experiences. EquineSeniors.com

“If you’re looking for an enlightened approach to horsemanship, your search has ended. ... Gordon uses an ex-show horse to illustrate ways we’ve been unkind to horses, then offers thoughtful solutions to common issues. Dr. Schoen uses scientific studies to illustrate a more humane approach to dealing with horses and with life in general. Both authors whisper to our hearts to pay attention to what’s best for the horse.”—Trail Rider Magazine

In fact the book stops too soon at the exit gate, as frankly the 25 Principles to Live By’ illustrated in this entertaining volume can be equally effective at the office, the dry cleaner, or the dinner table. Mutual respect, understanding, empathy, and compassion in effect, defining what it takes to be [truly] human is what this book shares.” Ranch & Reata Magazine

With over 60 years of combined experience in the horse industry, Schoen and Gordon offer a wealth of wisdom and insights based on science and emotive common sense that allow every rider to reach a new paradigm of caring and expanded awareness in their equestrian goals. [A] delightful and insightful book that deserves a place on every rider’s bookshelf.” Canadian Horse Journal

With [co-author Susan] Gordon, Dr. Schoen illustrates 25 Principles we can each take to heart and begin to apply in pursuit of a more compassionate existence with horses one that will not only change the way we work in the barn but how we interact with our family, friends, colleagues, and in fact all living beings.” Hudson Valley Horsesource

This is a book for those who seek a mutually satisfying relationship with their horses. The Principles provide a road map...we should read them carefully and often.” Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, MRCVS

The Compassionate Equestrian is both ahead of its time yet remarkably ancient in its wisdom and fundamental teachings. Based in art and proven modern science, the 25 Principles are a priceless collection of universal values, methods, and techniques that will greatly improve the mind and body of both horse and rider. This impactful book is loaded with valuable lifelong lessons that place compassion and empathy at their core. It will enable readers to develop and sustain meaningful, respectful, and successful partnerships with their horses.” Philip E. Richter, Treasurer, United States Equestrian Team Foundation

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who loves animals not just horses and wants to gain an understanding of them on a deeper, more intimate level. The authors offer us numerous, often profound insights, through their own varied experiences and backgrounds, regarding the integration of compassion into all areas of our lives. With deeper reading, one begins to appreciate more fully, how the immutable relationship between human health, animal health, and that of our environment a world of One Health is the real basis for improving the life of our entire planet.” Ted Cohn, DVM, President, American Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Allen Schoen is an innovative, compassionate, and thoughtful veterinarian whose book emphasizes the responsibilities that attend the human-equine relationship. The Compassionate Equestrian provides practical information derived from a lifetime of caring for sport and pleasure horses. Dr. Schoen has a keen eye for animal and human behavior, and his book has value for the novice and the experienced equestrian alike.” Michael Kotlikoff, VMD, PhD, Austin O. Hooey Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Dr. Schoen is an innovator in combining conventional medicine with holistic therapies. In The Compassionate Equestrian, he charts the rise of a unique field of veterinary medicine whose foundation rests on a profound respect for all life, and specifically for horses. This is compassion in its purest form, and it’s revolutionary. Meticulously researched, The Compassionate Equestrian enlightens any reader on the benefits of applying sympathy and empathy to the core of all equine training and care. Practicing compassion is the essence of the bond between rider and horse, and of course between any two people.” Arriana Boardman, Member, ASPCA Board

Dr. Schoen has always lead by example, and lives a lifetime of connected joy with the horses that he treats and their owners. We will continue to benefit from his kindness and guidance through his new book, The Compassionate Equestrian. From backyard ponies to trail horses to show jumpers, it’s all about the horse.’” Paula Kennedy, LVT, Dean’s Advisory Board, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine

A very good book that will bring the reader harmony and peace at the barn and around horses, whether riding or handling. Read it. It’ll reduce your stress level [and] give you the relaxation to facilitate learning for both yourself and your horse.” TheHorseStudio.com


“The two discovered that while they had followed very different paths of experience through the horse world, they had a common goal: to fundamentally change the way the equine industry works, how it affects the lives of those within it, and how they, in turn, influence the world as a whole.”—www.horsenetwork.com

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