A Rider’s Reader foreword

By Emily Kitching, President of Eclectic Horseman Communications, Inc.

The company is a leading provider educational resources for the horse community. It features an acclaimed magazine and professional services including video productions and websites. EHC continually to looks for new ways to connect horse owners to the information, products and community they seek.


People want to do right by their horses. I believe this to be true. After twenty years of doing my part to make the world a better place for horses and their humans by giving people alternatives to doing what they have always done, I still believe that a continuing education is the answer.

This compilation can be enjoyed on many levels. I believe it will pull you in and take you along for an educational ride.

The complete definition of the word horseman includes not only ‘a person who is skilled in riding a horse’ but also a person who ‘owns, breeds, trains, or tends horses.’ Pretty much covers the gamut, doesn’t it? But how do we learn what is best for our horses in their training and in the whole of their LIVES? Our horses did not choose to be in our care. We chose them. We are responsible for their well-being, both physical and mental.
Educating humans, however, can be a tall order. Some people learn by observation, others through reading, and many of us through the age-old tradition of trial and error. Unfortunately, while so many of us are open to ideas about how to ride and build a relationship in the saddle, we overlook all the pieces that led to our being up there.
Maddy Butcher Gray’s new book, A Rider’s Reader, covers the spectrum of teaching methods without being a purely instructional book. Her essays of personal experiences made me feel as if I were along for the ride, encountering the challenges and joys of rides through the Maine forests, the hills of Utah, and the wilds, yes wilds, of Iowa. Her interviews with noted horse people describe their lifetimes of experience, thoughts to chew on, and ideas to try—all new lenses to look through to better evaluate our horse keeping and training.

Perhaps most exciting to me is the section on Evidence-Based Horsemanship, a way to scientifically rr buyunderstand what is best for our horses on all levels. It’s based not on mere opinion, or misguided traditions, but on empirical science. These are practical insights that will make your horses happier, healthier and more trainable, and that happen to apply to the entire horse world. So don’t let the word “science” scare you off.

This compilation can be enjoyed on many levels. I believe it will pull you in and take you along for an educational ride.

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