Modern Horse Training

I have a new book! And I have a publication date. Very exciting.

The new book is “Modern Horse Training: A Constructional Guide to Becoming Your Horse’s Best Friend.”

The publication date is April 26 -27, 2023.

That may seem like an odd way to write the date. I chose the dates in honor of Peregrine. He truly was my beloved best friend. He’s the horse who introduced me to clicker training so how perfect that the newest book will be published on the anniversary of his birthday/first day.

He was born shortly before midnight on April 26, 1985. I have always celebrated both his birthday and his first day. For his 30th birthday I wrote a series of blog posts through the month of April. You can read them here:

So a new book! What’s in it? What’s it about? How is it different from the other books? I’m sure you have lots of questions. I’ve been so busy writing the book and getting it ready for publication I haven’t really come up with the “elevator speech”. I don’t yet have the quick two or three sentences that grabs your attention and makes you want to know more.

I have three weeks to the book’s publication so I’m going to use this blog to help me develop my elevator speech. Why did I write this book? There’s a story behind that. But before I share that story, let me begin with the title.

“Modern Horse Training”

Why that title? All my other books have referenced clicker training, so why the change?

What does “Modern Horse Training” really mean?

To answer that kind of question I like to begin with the dictionary.


relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past

characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment•
denoting a current or recent style or trend in art, architecture, or other cultural activity marked by a significant departure from traditional styles and values

noun (usually moderns)
a person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.”

I often think about what life was like for horses (and people) in times past. I’ll say a hundred years ago ___, using that phrase as a benchmark against which to measure changes that have occurred. It occurred to me recently that while I use this phrase a lot, I haven’t kept it updated. So when I say a hundred years ago, I don’t really mean 1923. I mean a hundred years ago from the time when I was a child and I was forming my ideas about the world I lived in. What was the historical context in which I lived? I was growing up with a television in the house. My parents had listened to the radio.

I got my first horse in 1968. So a hundred ago at that time meant 1868. Think about what the world was like in 1868. That was the world Anna Sewell wrote about in “Black Beauty”.

I remember reading a monograph from England that was written in the 1840s. It described the care of the horses that were used to pull what were essentially city buses. The horses came mostly from Ireland, strong Irish draft horses. They used mostly mares which I thought was interesting. The horses were put to work when they were four or five and they were dead by age seven or eight.

Think about what a hundred years ago means to you. If you’re ten years old, that’s 1913, a year before the First World War. Think of the horses who lost their lives in that terrible war. It wasn’t machines that pulled the canons up to the front lines. It was horses. That included the strong Cleveland Bays that my Robin is descended from.

Wherever your hundred year benchmark begins, the world has undergone some incredible changes. We’ve seen tractors replace horses in the fields, cars replace them on the roads. I can watch a movie on the same device that I use to type this blog. Just incredible.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the many cultural changes that have occurred. Horse training and child rearing used to share the same motto: spare the rod, spoil the child. At least with children, that has changed. Yes, I know children are still beaten, but now it is called what it is – abuse and family services can step in. All too often with horses, it is still called training. Much has changed and in in some ways nothing has changed.

I want to celebrate the much that has changed.

This is the perspective that I was thinking of when I decided to call my new book “Modern Horse Training”. Horse training is not what it was a hundred years ago. It now includes clicker training and all that that means.

So before I tell you more about my new book, let me leave you for today to think about what a hundred years ago means to you. What was the world like a hundred years ago? And what are the changes that you have seen, that your parents and grandparents have seen. We are living in a different world from anything the people living a hundred years ago would have imagined. “Modern Horse Training” belongs to this new world. In the coming days I’ll tell you more about it. I may not end up with an elevator speech, but hopefully you’ll have a good sense what the new book is about.