Sunday, April 12, 2015

What I Learned from Teddy Roosevelt--to appear in Equus Magazine

My article "What I Learned from Teddy Roosevelt" will be published by Equus Magazine!!!!  TR obviously was quite a horseman and had a special relationship with several horses during his life.  Although he never wrote an essay on horsemanship, he sprinkled some fascinating comments about horse training through out his works.  As I read his reflections, I was struck by how relevant these observations were to training and understanding horses today.  The article represents my attempt to compare his methods with what current research indicates are best practices in horse training. I think Teddy Roosevelt would have been very interested in what scientists are finding out about equine learning and behavior.  

For example, Roosevelt understood that feeding a well timed treat could help the horse adapt to novel situations.  His young horse Renown was extremely frightened of automobiles encountered during rides in Washington DC.  On one ride the young horse behaved better than expected upon meeting a large red automobile.  “In fact,” as Roosevelt explained, “he behaved so well that I leaned over and gave him a lump of sugar when he had passed the object of terror—the old boy eagerly turning his head around to get it.”  (Roosevelt, 1919, p. 69)   

Here is a link to a video from the Library of Congress of Teddy, who was in his 50s, riding his horse Sidar at the Roosevelt summer home Sagamore Hill. Notice how he feeds a sugar cube to Sidar, I suspect because the horse may be afraid of the huge camera used in the early 1900s. 

Equus is one of the big 4 magazines on horses and riding.  It is sold by the major bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and at tack stores.  Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote Seabiscuit and Unbroken, is one of the contributing editors.

I even managed to sneak a reference to Icelandic horses into the article.  

Roosevelt, T.  (1919).  Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children,  New York, Charles Scribner's sons.

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