Horse Brain Insight from Dog Brain Doc

This week, we visited with Dr. Erin Hecht, assistant professor in Harvard University’s Department of Human Evoluntionary Biology. Hecht’s research on dog brains and how breed can manifest in canine neuroanatomy got our attention here. We talked with her via email of the possible insights […]

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Heart Rate Variability, Part Two

Editor’s Note: As new devices like heart monitors become available for horse owners and riders, we think it’s important to understand their potentials and limitations. Technology often outpaces our knowledge base, making the setting ripe for misinterpretation and misinformation. Take a moment to educate yourself […]

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Empathy Gaps Hinder our Horse Work

This is an article about calm versus chaos, basic emotional states for both horses and humans. It was inspired by a Hidden Brain discussion about the Hot-Cold Empathy Gap. and has much to do with the autonomic nervous system discussed here. In the podcast, Shankur […]

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Novelty: Key to Horses and Riders

New additions to my herd are Bug and Barry. Bug is a four-year old Utah mustang. During his young life, he’s been passed from one owner to the next, six owners in total, before landing with me. Barry is a ten-year old Tennessee Walker with […]

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Lay Down Science

Talking about laying down a horse can be like discussing presidential politics. Some steer clear altogether. Some engage passionately. Many are interested, but wary. Beliefs and traditions run rampant, but science takes a backseat. We’re here to change that with an examination of the brain […]

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Serotonin Moments: Martin, West, Amy

As a follow-up to the HorseHead article on serotonin, we visited with several renowned trainers for their observations and experiences around learning moments likely influenced by serotonin. Keep this comment from Dr. Peters in mind as you read of their experiences: “Research on the effect […]

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Another Neurochemical to Know: Serotonin

Neuroplasticity is a healthy brain’s ability to form and reform synaptic connections created through gazillions of moments. Every being – from a lab mouse to a horse to a human – is unique because of these moments and subsequent memories They are experiences stored and […]

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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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Feel, Our Brainy Explanation

Years ago, I defined Feel on BestHorsePractices as an intense awareness of action and reaction. Feel is knowing how your thoughts, behaviors, and movements impact your horse. It’s an ability to anticipate and influence your horses’ actions and behaviors. But what does that look like […]

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Attention: Key to Your Horse’s Learning

Sometimes improving our horsemanship – a pursuit dominated by the almighty and intangible “feel” – can be like trying to capture dandelion seeds in the wind or bottle fog. How do we effectively translate what we read or watch cerebrally into our daily interactions with […]

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