"With our association with animals there is the ever present tendency by us humans to interpret animal behaviour in a human way, and it is no different with horses. There are many occasions when we see or use human values and interpretations to describe or define the behaviour of our equine companions. More often than not it is done without us recognizing the fact, and to do so is to insult the uniqueness of equines and their behaviour. Observations on equine behaviour have been conducted for centuries and today there is greater inquiry from horse owners for information to understand more fully the behaviour of equines.
If you have an inquiring and analytical mind and wish to understand better why and how your horse behaves then Dr Paul McGreevy's book Equine Behaviour is an outstanding reference. Although it is referred to as a guide for veterinarians and equine scientists, do not be put off. It contains a feast of information for the non-scientifically trained reader.
There is a glossary of colloquialisms, ethological (what did you say? Hit an English dictionary it is in there) and equestrian terms for the vets and equine scientists, many of which would be only too familiar to equestrians.
There are fifteen chapters covering 369 pages and the depth and breadth of the work is outstanding. Following the introductory chapter this reference work covers perception, behaviour and the brain, learning, social behaviour, communication, locomotory behaviour, ingestive behaviour, eliminative behaviour, body care, behaviour of the stallion, behaviour of the mare, training, handling and transport, and miscellaneous unwelcome behaviours, their causes and resolution. The utilization of photographs, line diagrams and tables to illustrate and amplify aspects of behaviour and key points is beautifully done. Furthermore the layout of the book is extremely reader friendly.
What separates Dr McGreevy's book from other popular publications in the equine behaviour field is that his work is based on scientific study. Moreover it draws on scientific knowledge from over 1000 references. Dr McGreevy has drawn on the expertise of two contributors to enhance the work - Dr Caroline Hahn from the University of Edinburgh, UK wrote the chapter on behaviour and the brain and Dr McGreevy and Andrew McLean from the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre, Victoria jointly wrote the chapter on training."
Jane Vincent, Australian Horse Industry Research Newsletter, September 2004
Hoofbeats, October 2004
"This book is a unique attempt to throw light onto the how and why of problems and unwelcome behaviours, offering solutions and a practical hands-on approach to all aspects of equine handling and management. The easy to read and well laid out format, including excellent illustrations, photo's, tables, graphs and a comprehensive glossary allow any horseperson to understand and benefit from this book."
"This is a well-researched and well-presented review of current observations and ideas on the subject of equine behaviour. This book does educate and, in my opinion, should be read by anyone working with, or training to work, with horses."
Deirdre Carson, February 2005
"This 365 page text is a useful resource for anyone interested in equine behaviour. It uses a large body of reputable references to support the text... It has particularly well laid out chapters, (and associated page numbers) at the start of each chapter...There are lots of useful figures and photographs, though some of the tables are too large and should have been reduced to a manageable size for the reader. A useful addition is the summary of key points and an occasional case study to support the text. For those interested in horses and horse behaviour this is a useful addition to the body of literature. For pure ethologists, or for more the more academically based student of equine science, it should rarely be used in isolation, but supported by other key texts."
Veterinary Record, January 2013