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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do [Paperback]

Cherry Hill
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 5, 2006
Horse trainer and instructor Cherry Hill believes that every human/horse relationship benefits from a greater human understanding of what motivates horses, how they experience the world, what makes them happy, and what worries them. Journey through the equine mind with Hill as she explores what makes a horse tick. How do his basic needs dictate his behavior and mood? What touches and tastes appeal to his senses? How does his “flight or fight” instinct dictate his response to sudden movements? If horses are treated respectfully with methods they understand, everyone involved — animal and human — will be happier, safer, and more productive.

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Editorial Reviews


“Any horse owner, from beginner to advanced, will find information of value in this book. The author's tone is authoritative without being condescending, and the layout makes it easy to grasp nuggets of knowledge even at a glance.”

Horse & Rider, March 2007



“If more of us read this book, there might be a lot less whip-cracking, bolting, and biting in our daily lives.  BOTTOM LINE: Your horse suggests you pick this one up.”

Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, January 2007


“Hill first guides the reader through the physical, mental, evolutionary and social processes that lead to common equine behavioral traits. She then relates how that knowledge can be applied practically and routinely at the barn to create an effective partnership between horse and human…In short, a multitude of considerations ultimately affect how well a human communicates with his or her horse when mastering new skills and Hill capably addresses them all with insights she's gained from her lifetime of equestrian experience.”

Western Horseman, January 2007


“Each chapter is packed with specific, sensible, and useful information on every aspect of the horse from the physical to the mental and from the emotional to the social.”

America’s Bridle and Bit, August 2006


“Packed with fascinating facts, it draws you in to the horse's world before you know it.”

Knight Equestrian Books

From the Back Cover

What's Your Horse Telling You?

Equine behavior makes perfect sense when you understand a horse's survival instincts and fears and know what makes him feel calm and confident. As noted horsewoman Cherry Hill describes your horse's basic needs, routines, and responses to sights, smells, sounds, and touch, you will learn to anticipate his reactions and adjust your training methods accordingly. Your lasting reward will be a solid relationship with a curious, trusting, adaptable, and eager-to-please equine companion.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (May 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580178359
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580178358
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cherry Hill is an award-winning author of over 30 books and videos and over 1000 articles on horse training and care.

Cherry was a horse show judge for 25 years for several national breed organizations. She also taught college equine courses from 1975-1985 in the US and Canada, including Olds College in Alberta, Canada and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Cherry instructed courses such as Horse Behavior, Ground Training, Mounted Training, Western Horsemanship, English Equitation, Riding Instructor Training, Equine Evaluation, Stable Management, and Equine Production.

Cherry has been a free-lance equine photo-journalist since 1975 and has written for such publications as Horse & Rider, The Quarter Horse Journal, The Chronicle of the Horse, the American Farrier's Journal, The Horse Journal, Western Horseman and over 20 other national equine publications.

Cherry Hill received the Colorado Authors' League Top Hand Award twice for her books. The Top Hand award is one of the most distinguished writing awards in the regions with competition from fiction and non-fiction books on any topic. Cherry received the CAL Top Hand Award in 1995 for 101 Arena Exercises and in 1999 for 101 Horsemanship and Equitation Patterns.

In 1994 the American Farriers Association presented Cherry with their Journalism Award for meritorious service in collecting, editing, and presenting information of interest to farriers.

Cherry was the recipient of the 1992 American Horse Publications first place award for editorial excellence in the category Service to the Reader for a series she wrote on liability in the equine industry.

In 2002, Cherry Hill was the recipient of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Henry Bergh Children's Book Honor in the Non-Fiction Companion Animal Category for her book Cherry Hill's Horse Care for Kids. It was selected for its outstanding ability to teach young readers a new way to care for animals and natural resources that we all share.

For more information on Cherry Hill and her books and videso, visit her website at

Videos and DVDs by Cherry Hill:

101 Horsekeeping Tips: 3 volumes
Handling and Grooming
Feeding and Health Care
Faciliites and Tack

The Horse - El Caballo
A Journey for Kids
A bilingual video horse book on DVD

Books authored by Cherry Hill:

El Cuidado de Tu Caballo, Tutor, 2005.

Monta Western, Hispano Europa, 2005

HORSEKEEPING ON A SMALL ACREAGE, 2nd edition, Storey Books, 2005.

Cherry Hill's Horse Care for Kids, Storey, 2002

HORSE HOUSING (With Richard Klimesh)Trafalgar Square, 2002.










HORSE FOR SALE, Howell Book House, 1995.

101 ARENA EXERCISES, Storey 1995.

PRACTICAL GUIDE TO LAMENESS IN HORSES with Ted Stashak, DVM. Williams & Wilkins, 1995.

YOUR PONY, YOUR HORSE, Storey, 1995.

MAXIMUM HOOF POWER, with Richard Klimesh, Trafalgar Square, 1994.

MAKING, NOT BREAKING, Breakthrough, 1992.



THE FORMATIVE YEARS, Breakthrough, 1988.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
130 of 139 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot. April 15, 2010
By C. Wang
As a person who has loved, worked with, trained, ridden, lived with horses for over 50 years I wanted to like this book. Unfortunately I did not find it useful. In fact, I am afraid that novice horsemen will use this book as a baseline for equestrian behavior. I found her knowledge limited to personal experience, maybe she needs to get around or to read some research. I question her observations and interpretations of those observations. There are many issues in this book that I could take exception to but I will just talk about one. To suggest that a horse does not learn and their behavior is only rote or instinctual is very misleading. I've watched horses remove their halters, untie their leads, open gates, open snaps to get to the feed-room, and direct me to issues that they thought I should see such as empty water or feed barrels. Perhaps the author just has dumb horses but I suspect not. I hope that any novice horseman will expand their reading to other books as well so that they can get a more rounded view of equestrian behavior.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think Like A Horse? August 1, 2006
By Giddyap
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. Bought it for my 14-year-old who thinks she knows it all. She has learned some interesting facts and applies that to her own horse. It has made her understand the horse instead of just reacting. Highly recommended for any level horse rider. You will learn at least one thing you didn't know before you picked up this book.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and understand February 16, 2007
By Cotton
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cherry Hill's books are always very useful and easy reading. She has a way of stating things in a very simple but informative way. You can't go wrong with her books. This book is great if you have a casual interest in learning about horse behavior. It gives a lot of basic logic behind why horses do what they do. If you were intrigued by the study of horses, I would recommend "The Nature of Horses" by Stephen Budiansky as a more in depth study of the subject.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winifred's View September 28, 2007
I have purchased many books on horses and riding, but Cherry Hill's "..Think Like a Horse" explained and reinforced so much more about what I was questioning and experiencing with my horse. It is certainly a wonderful resourse for "newbies" like myself who have discovered the wonders of horse at a late age, but I believe it also holds a lot of insights for the more experienced riders/owners who care about knowing their horses at least as well as they ride/show them. I was looking for something to explain a particular change in my horse's behavior (after eye exams, blood work etc turned up negative) and I believe I found it in Ms. Hill's book. Winnie and I thank her for sharing her knowledge and wisdom in a book packed with information.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Think Like A Horse December 22, 2006
Cherry Hill always has great books that are both interesting and informational. I have several in my home library and this may be the most useful one that I own. The horse is so much more complicated than people realize and if you are able to understand what your horse is thinking then you will be able to be more successful in anything and everything you do with your horses. The book has been an excellent source of information for training my own colts and understanding what they are thinking when you are trying to get them to respond to what you are asking them to do.

Cherry Hill is a great trainer and writer. She has a great way of explaining training procedures and offers excellent information on how to make training easier on both the trainer and the horse. Your horse will thank you for reading this book!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! July 14, 2007
This is a delightful book full of information and insight from an often under-appreciated trainer. Cherry Hill covers everything from development to grooming to behavior to training.
Information which is normally strewn across several horse books comes together in this single volume. This is a must-read for every horse enthusiast.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Think Like a Horse January 10, 2007
This is a must for beginner riders or anyone who wants to understand horses. The material was very useful to me as a beginner rider, as well as, understanding what I need to know to ride my horse. Cherry Hill presents her knowledge in a way that is easily understood even by beginners, and has helped me greatly in knowing about my horse. I feel that I have gained enormious knowledge, and am grateful for such a book. I feel it has made a difference in how I relate to my horse. Thanks Cherry!
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79 of 98 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars again January 30, 2009
Cherry Hill has produced yet another trade paperback which is very difficult to summarize or critique due to the inherent contradictions that appear throughout, and the absence of a clear thesis or theme for the work. Ostensibly, the book purports to describe the horse's mental world and cognitive functions. But the title seems at odds with the thrust of the content; and in fact, there is very little empirical information as to exactly "why" horses do what they do (she admits to a reliance on anecdotal 'evidence' drawn exclusively from her own experiences; indeed, the bibliography lists only her own publications). The title leads one to believe that Hill is going to translate the equine view of the world into terms that humans can understand and use to communicate with their equine partners. However, the central tenet upon which Hill bases her description is that horses function in accordance with an exclusively behavioralist model (a la` B. F. Skinner, a modality outdated and at present rejected by most of the professional psychological community). She states in Chapter 9, "Learning," that "horses are not ranked highly as problem solvers," (pg. 127); and again in the same chapter, "as horses learn they don't reason, they react." She is actually describing the horse's mental world as not mental at all, but linear, exclusively instinctive and limited to responses to stimulus presented to them by their environments. First of all, anyone who has watched a horse undo a stall latch, take off a blanket or fly mask, feign fear, or cut corners in a riding arena to save themselves some steps is fully aware of the problem solving ability of even the most lackadaisical horse. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Refresher in "Horse 101"
Good book, easy to read, well designed and well edited. This provided easy to understand insight into horses and what makes them tick. Read more
Published 6 days ago by K.L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I really enjoyed this book. I'm planning on having my daughter read it to open her eyes and see things a different way.
Published 13 days ago by tstar
5.0 out of 5 stars great insight into a horses way of thinking
Cherry presents a story about the horse from the time it is born until it is a senior citizen. How it thinks and how they develop as they age. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Wayne A. Chmielecki
5.0 out of 5 stars Cherry Hill is becomming a favorite.
I started out with her Ground Work exercises book. Loaded with good stuff. This one, I enjoyed so much, I ordered a 2nd for a friend as I couldn't part with my copy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MsRLG
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
this book it awsome i love it so much taught me so so so much i would recomend this book
Published 1 month ago by amm
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Good basic information. I would recoemend this book to all my students and have already done so!! Well written well thought out!
Published 2 months ago by Cpt. Nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
The first copy I bought of this book has been passed around multiple times, from green horse owners like I was when I bought it, to horse owners that have had horses for years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Music Loving
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Horsey Know-How
Very good introductory guide to horses. It had a detailed section on body language and mannerisms which I found to be very helpful.
Published 2 months ago by JamesOsiris
Miss Hill - a disciple of horse understanding makes it so easy to meet and understand
the horse. "Talk Horse' essentially.... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jinka1950
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Perfect for the horse lover in your life! I bought this for a friend as a gift and she absolutely loves to read it.
Published 4 months ago by Caitlyn Tressler
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