Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not quite Friday Book Review: passive leadership

I was at a library conference in Denver. Surrounded by books & people talking about books & reading and literacy. For two days I'd climbed out of bed and headed eagerly out the door to talk to colleagues, sit attentively in presentations, ask (hopefully) intelligent questions, and just generally soak up the atmosphere. Evenings I'd curl up in bed, do a little channel-surfing and review the conference schedule to see what the next day would bring.

One of the best things about conferences is browsing the vendor booths - they almost all have free chocolate and drawings for nifty prizes, for one thing. But in addition to the goodies, in among all of the technology-related, educational furniture and library system displays are the book vendors.

Oh sure, lots of them are reference books - not exactly light reading, lol! But there are others, as well. And sure enough, I found a few I had to take home with me. Today's book is one of them.

Horses Never Lie by Mark Rashid
This isn't a horse training book. You might call it a philosophical book with horses..., but that isn't exactly right either. What it is is more a series of semi-conversational stories illustrating Rashid's views on horse training, behavior, herd dynamics and what not, and how he came to hold them.

It's interesting. It reads well, and it's thought-provoking. It's also not preachy; not over-bearing or condescending. He doesn't push specific tools, training methods or products as a one-stop solution for any and all problems.

What Rashid does focus on is attitude and communication and thinking about what you're doing and the relationship you're creating with your horse - that it's important to listen, and to feel, and to think about the WHY of the response.

It's intriguing. He doesn't make it sound easy and effortless. He isn't saying your horse will be your friend. But the idea that it's possible to build a partnership based on trust on both sides? It's appealing. And certainly, it seems to work for Rashid.
When I picked the book up to read it again before I started writing this review I popped over and checked out his website. Not a carrot-stick in sight - grin. I've never been to one of Rashid's clinics - I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has.

If nothing else, the man has a way with a story, and I've enjoyed my second trip through Horses never lie.

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