Details and Warnings on Dopamine

For years, horse owners and riders have gravitated to the black-and-white straightforwardness of the dopamine response. Licking, chewing, and associated manifestations of this feel-good neurochemical are simple, visible indices of the horse’s state of mind. But, as with everything, there are finer points and nuance […]

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Peters reflects on Mirror Neurons

Editor’s Note: Dr. Steve Peters, 2017 and 2018 presenter at the Best Horse Practices Summit, received an inquiry recently about mirror neurons. These neurons have been the object of study, confusion, and wild extrapolation in recent years. Here’s the question and reply: Dear Dr. Peters, […]

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Your Horse’s Internal Mapping System, Part II

  Read Part I In Evidence-Based Horsemanship, Martin Black describes a daunting scenario: One night, I was riding in the dark and two feet of snow. It was overcast, so there was no moon or starlight. Not even the silhouette of the horse’s head could […]

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Your Horse’s Internal Mapping System

Part One of a two-part feature: I’m one to celebrate unfortunate events with a positive attitude. So, let me recount a not-too-proud moment with my mule, Jolene: We headed out on what quickly became a treacherous trek, full of bushwhacking and precipitous ups and downs. […]

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The Troubled Horse’s Brain

There’s a reason colt-starting competitions rarely feature rescued horses. It’s the same reason contractors would rather tear down a house instead of restoring it. What’s under the surface can wreak havoc on your wallet, your skills, your patience, and even your equipment and facilities. Troubled […]

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Of Horses, Cows, and Humans

Recently, Dr. Steve Peters traveled to Idaho to visit informally with stockmen and livestock researchers from Treasure Valley Community College, Oregon State University, and the University of Idaho. He was introduced by local and international stockman Martin Black. The pair co-authored Evidence-Based Horsemanship. They will […]

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Close Encounters with the Amygdala

I live in a rural town and don’t travel much. But last month, I found myself driving my truck camper through St. Louis. In heavy traffic. In heavy rain. In darkness. I grew disoriented and nervous. My heart rate increased. My hands gripped the wheel […]

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Learning to Embrace Discomfort

“Your circle of comfort and your horse’s circle of comfort – they must constantly expand, otherwise they will shrink.” That’s what horseman Randy Rieman once told me. I’d thought I could hang out in comfort, where my horse and I would coexist blissfully and enjoy […]

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Wobble Board Science

Most of us will not pursue a neuroscience doctorate in between trail rides and hay tossings. But we can skim equine neurology’s surface to improve our horse-human connection. We’ve talked about dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical. But there are scores of other chemicals in the […]

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Can You Spot a Dopamine Release?

Brain chemicals represent themselves physically and behaviorally. These chemicals are present in horse brains, human brains, and are often referred to as neurotransmitters. The expression of the neurochemical, dopamine, is one of the more commonly observed ones in our horse work. Mammals (including horses and […]

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