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For many equine enthusiasts, the iconic image of the US West isn’t a chap in chaps on a dusty town road. It’s a herd of wild mustangs kicking up dust as they fill the horizon with magic. Nothing stops them. Nothing separates them. The plight of today’s North American mustang is anything but magical – unless you’re reading Mustang – From Wild Horse to Riding Horse by Vivian Gabor.

Within her pages, the personality and spirit of these now-feral horses take center stage. The cover teases you: “One Trainer’s Journal: Groundwork, First Rides, Obstacles, Trail Work, Liberty, Performance, and More.” The ‘more’ is what every trainer and rider is constantly searching for: insight into what our horses are thinking, what motivates them to behave the way they do.

Read the rest of my review at Arabian Horse Travel here.

Children have very big questions – about the universe, about feelings, about things seen and unseen. Grown-ups answer with facts, seizing every chance for a “teaching moment” but not realizing they’re really not answering at all. Children figure this out quickly and quit asking we grown-ups the Very Big Questions. They give us the simple ones (“How do I tie my shoes?”) and save the VBQs for special friends.

“The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse” by famed British illustrator Charlie Mackesy is a sweet tale of – you guessed it – a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse helping each other answer the kind of Very Big Questions that grown-ups can’t (but probably still have).

Read the rest of my review of this delightful book at Arabian Horse Travels.

As a career writer and editor, I’m hard pressed to do much of anything without that lens on life. Now and again, I publish book reviews for Arabian Horse Travel. A recent book smacked of communication fundamentals disguised as horse training, so I couldn’t let that pass without comment here.

My review starts, “Humans and horses have built an incontrovertible bond over some 6,000 years now. Those who prefer paddocks over patios don’t look to explain this connection, although 105 million search results for the phrase suggests otherwise. Paddock people like me do search for a deeper understanding of this bond to guide them with practical tools for a better horse-human relationship. Bonus? A touch of inspiration. I found all that in Through the Eyes of the Horse by Carlos Tabernaberri (Moonrise Media).”

You can read the rest of the short book summary, but the essence of the author’s approach is enviable in its simplicity: know your audience. Carlos teaches readers that your horse is your focus (aka audience), not the other riders on the trail or the judges of the show ring. It’s Communication 101.

We want to influence behavior (buy this product) but we too often ignore the very people we want to motivate. Instead we create social content or ad campaigns we think the boss will like or the lawyers will approve or that will win industry awards. We might even think we’ve got the audience/customer in scope, but sometimes that’s no more than a line entry on the creative blueprint. It’s not enough.

What spells success for communications that influence is not unlike horse training. As I note in my review of Carlos and his approach, horses want you to walk in their hooves for a bit and see the world through their eyes. If you cannot see the outcome from your audience’s perspective, you need to go back to the drawing board. Or the training ring.