Every time we think we can make a definitive statement about how the human brain works, science makes advances, and in many cases, proves those beliefs to be wrong. The same is true of horses’ brains, which directly impacts how they learn, how they experience the world, and how we can more effectively work with them and provide them with better lives.
Elise’s guest today, neuroscientist, author, and horseman, Dr. Stephen Peters, was frustrated by the many often opposing views about training and working with his own horses. Dr. Peters decided to apply his knowledge of the human brain to developing science-based horsemanship to understand how a horse’s brain and its behavior are related and how they, in turn, affect learning. Dr. Peters partnered with trainer and fifth-generation rancher, Martin Black, whose early years of training horses were guided by working for legendary horsemen Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. Together, they wrote the book, Evidence-Based Horsemanship, to share their intriguing findings.
In this episode, Dr. Peters shares his incredible insights on how the equine brain thinks and how we can apply this knowledge to work more effectively with our own horses. He also gives his impression of how he believes horses experience the world and how we can best interact with our horses to accommodate this.
Topics of Discussion:
[:25] About today’s guest, Dr. Stephen Peters.
[1:39] What can the equine brain think? How does it think? And how can we apply this knowledge to working more effectively with our own horses?
[6:22] What is Dr. Peters’ impression of how horses experience the world? And in particular, with regards to our interactions with them and creating that calm environment that is most beneficial to learning.
[27:38] When Dr. Peters is working with young horses, what is the middle ground between exposing them to new experiences and completely “bubble-wrapping” them?
[35:57] Has Dr. Peters been surprised by any of his findings as both a neuroscientist and a horseman?
[41:07] It’s been proven that horses are good for humans, but are humans good for horses?
[50:13] Dr. Peters and Elise discuss the ongoing evolution of horsemanship in understanding what is actually most beneficial for the horse.
[52:20] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses.
[53:37] Where to learn more about Dr. Peters and find his book online.
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Mentioned in this Episode:
The Hampton Classic
Evidence-Based Horsemanship, by Dr. Stephen Peters and Martin Black
EquestFile(Use coupon code: BOH10 to receive a 10% discount for two months off your subscription)
Horse Head: Brain Science & Other Insights, by Maddy Butcher and Dr. Stephen Peters (Contributor)
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