The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

27.9.2021 Excerpt from ‘Understanding Horse Performance: Brain, Pain or Training?’

Chapter 1: How To Use This Book

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy, or beauty without vanity?

Here where grace is laced with muscle and strength by gentleness confined.

He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.

There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent;

There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

England’s past has been borne on his back.

All our history is in his industry

We are his heirs.

He is our inheritance.

Robert Burns, “The Horse’, © the Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation

You know your horse better than anyone else. You are his strongest advocate, his ‘best expert’. This book is about helping you to make the most of your time with your horse, as opposed to making your horse do the most. To achieve success with a horse in any sphere you need to understand him and he needs to understand you, because good communication is key in any successful relationship. Understanding horses comes through education and experience, and leads to improved welfare, safety, and enjoyment. That is my motivation for writing this book. I’d love to hear what your motivation is for reading it, if you’d like to drop me an email via my website

The content of this book is very much a road map, offering different routes to the same destination, making the most of your time with your horse. My aim is to give you an awareness of the different roads available (brain, pain or training), and to help you decide how you might choose a particular one to follow. I give you some ideas to get you going and pointers to look out for, but I don’t try to tell you how to travel your road, what speed you might go, if you need any rest stops, etc. At the end of the book I’m hoping you’ll have as many questions (if not more!) as you did when you started, but they’ll be different questions, and you’ll have much more of an idea where to look for the answers. This book in itself does not give the answers; it helps you to know where to look.

I suggest that you begin by reading the book all the way through, to get an overall feel of the ideas it generates. Then read it again in more detail with a particular horse in mind, making relevant notes on a notepad, smart phone or tablet as a reminder of the pertinent points. Work through the practical exercises, and again make notes of what you find. Read through your notes, perhaps with a like-minded, non-judgemental friend, and decide whether you should begin by taking the road labelled ‘brain’, ‘pain’ or ‘training’. Probably you’ll find that you’d like to investigate a combination of two or even all three of these routes. Finally, look in the appendix to find the relevant organisation(s), and contact them to help you begin the next leg of your journey with your horse. Remember, it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey.

“Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream” Marlon Wayans

Find out more and get your copy of ‘Understanding Horse Performance: Brain, Pain or Training?’ today from

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion