A Horse By Nature

Managing Emotional and Mental Stress in Horses for Improved Welfare

Mary Ann Simonds



The first complete reference to help equestrians make the changes needed to ensure social license and the ability to ride and compete horses for years to come.

Renowned wild horse ecologist and equine behaviorist Mary Ann Simonds provides a practical soup-to-nuts manual for understanding how horses think, feel, learn, communicate, and interact with each other and with humans. Integrating over 30 years of field research, identifying functional social behaviors in wild horses with her lifelong professional practice working with equestrians solving equine behavioral issues, Simonds helps readers gain a strong foundation into the emotional and cognitive lives of horses and explore various horse-human relationships. She provides numerous tools for assessing personalities, communicating with horses, and understanding how horses learn, with an emphasis on improving care and reducing stress in competitions and sports. 

In three parts, each introduced by top researchers and scientists in the equestrian field, readers will: 

  • LEARN the natural history and social ecology of free-roaming wild horses.
  • UNDERSTAND the instincts, learned behaviors, gender differences, social roles, and social bonds that are the driving factors in horse culture.
  • DISCOVER how adaptable horses really are, and how that makes them an ideal species to share their social lives with humans.
  • FOCUS on horse-human relationships applying the knowledge from Part One to reduce equine stress and improve communication in the management and training of all horses.
  • EXPLORE how to better assess the horse’s personality and emotions, understand his learning style, and use various communication channels to establish trust, improve friendship, and enhance performance.
  • ADDRESS the ethics of horse sports and ask the questions needed to ensure horse welfare in all the disciplines.
  • CONSIDER dozens of changes related to horse management and competition recommended by respected industry professionals.
  • BE EMPOWERED to be an influencer to improve the lives of horses, whatever the profession, breed, or sport.

Filled with hundreds of color-coded tips and beautiful photos, and backed by science, personal stories, and unique insights, readers have multiple ways to quickly find useful information and apply it to their own horse-human situations. Whether preparing for a horse show, working with young stock, riding on the trails, adopting a wild horse, running a rescue, or just hoping to improve your communication and relationships with all horses, this book is a catalyst for much-needed change in the equine industry. 

Additional Information

Author: Mary Ann Simonds

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Count: 424

Illustrations: 331 color photographs

ISBN: 9781646011827

By Mary Ann Simonds

Mary Ann Simonds grew up loving horses and showing in California, then pursued her passion, studying wild horses and equestrian psychology. She developed a professional practice of more than 45 years as a researcher, educator, coach, and consultant. A pioneer in the field of human-animal interactions, Simonds established models for minimizing stress in both humans and horses with a focus to improve sport horse welfare. She lectures internationally, working with veterinarians, professionals, and equine enthusiasts. Simonds has published numerous articles, books, and videos. Selling her farm after 25 years and running the Whole Horse & Equestrian Science Institute for 35 years, she now happily lives in Wellington, Florida, and continues to teach, write, and speak on the subject of equine welfare (maryannsimonds.com).

Cowgirl Magazine Says:

“Belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves horses. It’s an insightful and rewarding read.”

Danielle Torano, Show Jumper and Trainer, Says:

"Bridges the gap we have been missing in the horse industry."

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, Veterinarian and Author, Says:

"Should be required reading for anyone involved with horses.”