'Horse Brain Human Brain' by Dr J Jones
Book review written by Sadie Beech
Janet Jones has combined her PhD in cognitive science with her experience of training horses to put together 'Horse Brain Human Brain' to explain the differences between how humans and horses see and experience the world. I was interested in reading 'Horse Brain Human Brain' in the hopes of furthering my knowledge of the science and anatomy of the horse's brain and senses, and how they compare to our own. As a trainer and coach, one of the challenges I face when working with a partnership is helping owners understand how their horses think differently about certain situations than they do. This book shares the science to back-up explanations of behaviour that could help horse owners better understand their horse(s).
The potentially complicated anatomy and neuroscience topics in this book are explained in such a way that you don't need to be a professional to understand them. The relaxed tone throughout the book makes the content feel more accessible. The examples, case studies and easy to follow explanations help the reader grasp the concept, the science, and the point the author is trying to make. These strategically placed structures also break up the text into smaller sections, giving the reader a chance to absorb the information.
The book contains exercises throughout for the reader to engage in whilst reading, which makes it more interesting and solidifies the learning. Such as the example in chapter thirteen; which sets up two images slightly differently and encourages the reader to assess how quickly they could spot the differences.
The connection between science and mindfulness riding in chapter eight; 'Proprioception, the sense of body awareness that tells us where our bodies are in space and where our horses' bodies are while we ride them.' was really interesting as it highlights the neuroscience of the physical connection between horse and rider and how intune the two can be. As a trainer who encourages my clients to ride tackless from time to time, to fully experience and benefit from such a connection, it is great to read the science that supports it.
I think this book would possibly be of interest to those who lean towards pressure and release training, who are looking to expand their knowledge of equine neuroscience and how to incorporate that in their training. There are insights into the horse's senses and brain function that would serve to improve the trainer's awareness of the horse's view of the world, such as the section highlighting the difference in brain function of the horse and the human.
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