BOOK REVIEW: “Equine Etiquette – A Guide to Your Horse’s Social Behaviour”

When this little book arrived for my view this morning, my first thought was that it would be a perfect birthday gift for horse owners that you could pop in an envelope together with a larger Birthday Card! Light and easy to send anywhere and yet substantial enough for an enjoyable present.

The book is a general overview of social behaviour in horses and looks at certain characteristics of socially confident and submissive individuals. It looks briefly at the evolution of social behaviour, how it develops and how it shapes relationships between horses and how we as horse owners, can use our knowledge of social behaviour to manage difficult situations like introduction of a new horse to an established herd.

Although I would say that it’s mostly for novice horse owners or those who have basic knowledge about equine behaviour I think that the biggest value of this little book is that it awakens your curiosity to dig deeper into the subject.

For example, most experienced horse owners know that alfa-alfa can cause excitability and difficult behaviour in some horses, rendering them as “hot”. I personally didn’t know this could be related to the estrogen content in some feedstuffs…Apparently, horses fed on a diet high in estrogen (like alfa-alfa) are, to quote Laura, ” likely to have an increase in motivation to become socially ambitious”. You can appreciate how this can in turn affect the relationship between rider and the horse…

This made me do some little research on my own because I have known quite a few mares on alfa-alfa who were much more difficult to handle and train than geldings on the same diet.

If you too are curious about this subject search for “phytoestrogen levels in alfalfa’.

In summary, Laura Bateman’s book gives a great simple overview of important aspects of equine etiquette and I would happily recommend it to all novice horse owners and those planning to buy a horse.

It’s also a useful publication to hand over to your students/riders to get them interested in the subject and encourage them to delve into this important aspect of horsemanship.

If anyone would want to purchase the book, it is available to buy at £4.99 in UK & Ireland and £7.99 worldwide via Laura’s website at:

To read more about Laura and her work at Horse & Mind please see: If you have any questions you would like to ask Laura, do leave a comment and we will add it to the interview she will do on the blog soon 🙂

All the best and happy equine discoveries!


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