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What Every Horse Should Know, by Cherry Hill


Book Review by Leigh Ballard

Cherry Hill is the author of several practical how-to horse books. Her latest book, What Every Horse Should Know, explains a basic list of “universal lessons” that will prepare a horse to be a calm and willing partner to his rider. She also points out a basic concept that the rider/trainer should know. “Horse training is not strictly linear,” Hill says. There are certain “themes” such as fear, leadership, confidence, trust, and willingness that are active throughout a horse’s life. These themes are influenced by a multitude of factors at any given time, but the goal is to teach the horse basic lessons which influence him to respond in a well mannered way.

The book is broken into three parts. The first part deals with fear. “Fear is the single most dangerous and destructive force in a relationship with a horse,” Hill says.  Fearful horses have strong responses, which can be negative and detrimental. Therefore, removing fear is the key to a good relationship, and is the foundation for all future positive interactions.

Hill helps the reader understand three important fears: Fear of Humans, Fear of Restriction or Restraint, and Fear of Things. When fear of humans is removed, trust and teamwork can begin. When fear of restriction and restraint is removed, the horse adapts to tying, tack, trailering, etc. When fear of things is removed, a horse can relax and be curious and confident about his surroundings. In this section on Fear, Hill covers a wide range of topics including sense of touch, blind spots, socialization, separation anxiety, sacking out, and much more. She offers exercises and “tests” to see if your horse has learned his lessons.

Part Two is about developing a safe and effective partnership. Hill explains respect in horse terms: dominance, pecking order, and space. She talks about attitude and attention. Curiosity and willingness are two attitudes to nurture. Anticipation and sourness are defects of attention and attitude. Patience and yielding are important for both horses and humans.

In Part Three, Hill adds a work program to strengthen the skills learned in the early lessons. She uses the partnership and communication that have been learned to develop physical and mental potential and to reach training goals. In this section she talks about forward motion, control, and contact. She advances to bending and flexing, steady and straight, lateral work and balance. She helps the reader put all the basics together for practical applications in any equestrian discipline. Whether that discipline is trail riding, ranch work or showing, there are simply certain things that every horse should know!

Read more about author Cherry Hill at Storey Publishing: at Cherry Hill’s Horsekeeping website:

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