Modern Horse Training: The Story Behind the New Book

I have a new book coming. It will be published April 26, on the anniversary of Peregrine’s birthday. You’ll be able to pre-order it soon. I’m still getting all of that set up. I’ll have more details about how you can order the book coming soon.

For now let me tell you a little more about it.

In 2020 I was asked by an editor working for a popular line of self-help books if I would consider writing a horse training book for them. The request was interesting. It did no harm to say I would consider the idea. For a couple of months I heard nothing more from him. Then I got another email. This one took the idea a little further. They were definitely interested.

The email exchanges continued. The editor asked me to write a sample chapter. I did. In the fall of 2021 I was offered a contract to write a horse training book for them. The contract was very one-sided, but their marketing would bring clicker training to a much broader part of the horse community than I am able to reach on my own. So, even though it felt more than a little bit like I was selling my soul, I signed the contract.

I was still working on my on-line clinics so it was nose to grindstone all winter to get that project finished. I launched the clinics March 11, 2022. The following day I started on the new book.

It turned out the clinics were the perfect prep for writing a book. I was well primed. The words literally flew onto the page. The contract stipulated a July deadline for submitting the final chapters. I beat that deadline by two months. By mid-May I was sending in the final chapters. The editing had already begun on the sections I had already submitted. I had a meeting with the editor the end of May, and then I heard nothing.

Weeks went by in email silence. I started emailing others in the team who would be involved in the book’s production. Nothing. Finally, at the end of June I got an email from the production manager. The editor no longer worked for the company, and they would not be going ahead with the book. End of story.

I told you the contract was very one-sided.

So I was left with a book, but no publisher.

I put the book aside for a while. I had other projects that needed my attention, and I wanted some time to consider my options. I could look for another publisher. I could publish it myself. Self-publishing seemed like the best option. I like the editorial control that gives me over the content.

So there you have it. I wasn’t intending to write another book. That wasn’t on my radar. The book is very much the product of the pandemic. At the start of 2020 I had a full schedule of clinics planned for the year ahead. When we went into lockdown, one by one those clinics were canceled. My initial thought was I couldn’t possibly transfer my teaching to an on-line format. I needed to see the horses, to work with them directly to know what to advise. But in-person clinics were out, so I started to experiment. Rebekka Schulze, the organizer of the North Carolina clinic that was scheduled for the spring of 2020, invited me to test out a zoom clinic option. I discovered I loved the format. Using video we could focus in on the training details make such a difference to horses. People didn’t have the expense or the stress of travel. We could watch the horses in their home environments. There were so many advantages.

I put together more on-line clinics. I built each clinic around a major topic. I think my favorite was the rope handling clinic. Who knew that you could teach something as tactile as rope handling via an on-line platform!

Those clinics created the structure for the new book. When I heard back from my contact at the publishers that they weren’t going ahead with the project, I was actually relieved. They had done me a huge favor. I would not have written the book without the prompt from them. But in the end I am glad to have the book back in my own court. Their contract placed too many restrictions on how I could use my own work.

I set the book aside over the summer and came back to it in the fall of 2022. When I read it with a fresh perspective, I loved it. It’s a very good book. It needed to be published, so the editing and formatting process began.

The gestation period for a horse is roughly eleven months. It has taken me just a little bit longer than that to write and prepare my new book for publication. Every day I get a step closer to having it ready. April 26 is my target for publication – Peregrine’s birthday.

Coming next: I’ll answer the question – why another book? And very soon I’ll have information about how you can pre-order your copy. This isn’t a marketing tease. So much has changed in the publishing world, I’m on a steep learning curve putting all the pieces in place for a smooth book launch April 26.

7 thoughts on “Modern Horse Training: The Story Behind the New Book

      • Yes ,it is a great occasion ! I’ll hit the 75 this autumn , still riding, but changing the horse-tap
        I’m heavenly in love with my Icelandics , the horses you knew are all death, Gamila, Nestor et Lidy are gone , every-one took a part of my heard with him.
        Arthroses is my daily life and the Tölt gait is the best for hurting knees .I have 3 mares, 2 are pregnant since 2022, 2 foals one from2019 and one from2020 and my first Ckimni, who seems to be the nice leader.
        The arabisant mare is 21 now, still with us and soooo kind ! and last, but not least my now 23 year old donkey Manon
        I’m still and always will clicker train my horses , they like it , I like it and it makes us be happy together
        So much occasions to smile, or even laugh (happiness like a child discovering the world) watching growing them and learn about their needs and behavior

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello Alex,
    I cannot wait to see and read your new book!!! I am loving the title and your explanation of the meaning is lovely. I see so many people who use ‘treats’ as a way to train but without boundaries and wonder why things fall apart!!! Perhaps I may buy a copy to put on the book shelf of the livery yard Ben and I are on for these individuals to pick up and start to understand and know more. Alot of the science goes over my head – but Ben simplifies it completely – the contract is simple – he does what I am looking for, I click and he gets a treat – simple in my beloved horses eyes!!!! He and I are older and you again just get your teeth into another project and show all of us that we are never too old to keep dreaming and achieving!!!
    Best wishes always Alex
    Shirley Merrin UK xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shirley,
      It’s so good to hear from you. The new book will be a perfect choice for leaving on the book shelf of the livery yard. It’s designed to be used in a variety of ways, including dipping into. People will, of course, jump ahead to the chapters that seem most relevant to what they want to work on. And then the book will nudge them to the lessons they need to put in place first.


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