Somewhere around 600,000 years ago the early ancestors of Equus Caballus appeared. There are plenty of disputes over the equine fossil record and what it means, but whatever else might be said one thing is absolutely certain, they've proved themselves as great survivors. Long after countless other species have fallen into extinction the horse is still with us, in large numbers and across a diverse range of environments - from the bitter cold of Mongolian winters to the searing heat of high summer in African desert.

During that long journey of development the horse has collected a range of behaviors that have supported its existence and underwritten its survival. Together, the environment in which horses live, and the genetics it has inherited, determine which behaviors are triggered, how and when, and an understanding of how the process works can go a long way towards creating good methods of management - and happy, healthy horses that co-operate with riders to perform their tasks safely and with that flair and grace that we find so spellbinding.

Human and Horse have been in some kind of relationship for thousands of years; first as hunter and prey, then as master and slave, and although some owners are still quite content with that master/slave type relationship an increasing number of horse-keepers have begun to look for another way, in which partnership and harmony replace slavery and compulsion. The search has produced some interesting consequences in the areas of use, management and training, and has created major challenges to traditional methods and attitudes.

Sometimes these challenges have been met, and honest attempts made to update old practices using newer techniques and research findings, but very often, and a little sadly I guess, those at the leading edge of the search, the pioneers of a new more ethical horsemanship, have been attacked and their work dismissed or deliberately misrepresented. Despite the reactionaries the movement has grown, and while there are still diehards that find the challenges just too hard to deal with, the wave of change has now become so large and strong that it's just a matter of time before it spreads into every part of the equestrian world.

Since the White Horse project began 17 years ago W.H.E.E.P. has been at the forefront of that wave, running natural family and bachelor groups of horses and attempting to fill in some of the many gaps in what's known about the social behavior, psychology and development of the horse, and, as a result, has been been able to throw some much needed light on a number of areas where there was a lot of misunderstanding and myth. That basic work continues - but the challenge doesn't stop there. Horses don't exist in isolation, along with us and all other species they have to inhabit an increasingly fragile world. It's not enough to try for a limited harmony that includes just us and our horses, the wider environment has to be looked after too. For all the talk about 'holistic' horsemanship there's often very little mention of the ecological impact of how horses are kept. To have any real and lasting value 'holism' must be based on sustainability. And it's there that next stage of the challenge lies, and where the focus of the project is directed for the coming years at the new farm.

Article Archive

This award winning site is based on the work of Andy Beck, founder of W.H.E.E.P. and well known international equine journalist. The archive includes a collection of articles, many of which have appeared in various magazines over the last ten years or so.

We hope you enjoy the site and find the information useful and perhaps thought provoking too - if you'd like more, buy the ever popular E-Book, now in it's revised 3rd edition - here are just a few readers comments:

Hi Andy - Just wanted to let you know how much I have benefitted from reading your book and so have our horses by the knowledge gained. You have provided invaluable information about horse behaviour in very understandable language to the lay horse owner. That said, Horsonality should be on the curriculum for every veterinary student specializing in horse health care. I am particularly taken with your comment, "for those of us who are drawn, for whatever reason, to a relationship with the horse, the way in which we keep and treat these most wonderful creatures, whether in slavery or respect, will often be the most profound statement that we can make about who we are and what we really are." Thank you so much.

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 Thankyou thankyou!!  I have downloaded successfully and just had a quick whiz through - can't believe the amount of detail and scientific detail to back it up!!  I will really enjoy reading and using this - such an amazing resource:))

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Only about halfway through Horsonality at the moment but felt I had to put finger to keyboard and congratulate you on a wonderful equine educational experience. It really should be required reading for any horse owner, regardless of discipline.

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I just wanted to say how fantastic I'm finding the book especially the section about domestic breeding methods, I completely agree with your thoughts on breeding in hand and the use of sedatives etc and problems occurring in domestic stallions. You probably hear this a lot but I found the book very inspiring

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Thanks so much for an extremely insightful e-book and all the years of research that you have done. I feel ashamed that I asked you if there was a possibility for discount, it is worth much more!.

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to buy just click on the button you will find above and a little to the right. Or, if you are looking for information more specific to horse management check out my sites, Herdworks and BBHM - buttons to take you to both are to the right also.

And, finally, if you have any problems getting where you'd like to go or finding the info or help you're looking for send an e-mail! and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction.