In Whole Heart, Whole Horse , through stories about his days as a kid working for the “Old Man” as well as people he’s met through years of doing clinics, Marks brings the process of building trust between the horse and rider to life. As is typical for Mark’s books, this is not a ‘how-to’ book. Having tried to write something of a how-to book I can appreciate his desire to avoid that. So instead he focuses on our attitude and though processes which I know have a huge impact on our success (or lack thereof) with horses.
Mark sold me on his philosophy about how he wanted to be with a horse way back when I read his first book. Each book since then has added a little more to the story. This book is no exception. Mark is a great storyteller and draws you into his world easily.
If we can read a book and come away with a passage or two that resonates, I think it was a book worth reading. Here’s one that I underlined:
“One of the reasons some folks aren’t sure of the difference between a horse that is willingly available and one that is simply available is that so many horses out there today are light, but not necessarily soft. As a result, a lot of folks at one time or another have probably ridden a light and thought is was soft, when in reality there is a sizable difference between the two (in my opinion).
The difference for me is that lightness is primarily on the outside of the horse and is mostly technique-based, while softness comes from the inside of the horse and is a combination of technique, trust, conviction, and feel that is exchanged between rider and horse and back again. Softness is a conversation and a way to be, rather than a thing to do.”
Words worth pondering!