Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between Horse and Rider

Rate this book
Many horse trainers, even those who espouse the so-called natural horsemanship approach, take the position that horses who fail to obey a human's request are doing so as much out of perversity as ignorance. That's not Mark Rashid's view. In his words, "If we understand that horses can't separate the way they feel from the way they act, then we can start to see that unwanted behavior isn't bad behavior at all. More times than not, it's just the horse expressing the way he feels at that particular moment in time. . . .How we perceive that information dictates how we respond to it."

Whole Heart, Whole Horse focuses on this idea, covering such subjects as gathering information from the horse, turning rider/trainer mistakes into positive experiences, developing realistic boundaries between you and your horse, understanding how and why horses release energy from real or perceived traumas, and reaching a comfortable balance point between horse and rider. Rashid analyzes developing softness, consistency, dependability, trust, and peace of mind in both horses and humans, as well as how to become a leader whom your horse will willingly want to follow and work with.

Full of examples that extend beyond the training pen, Whole Heart, Whole Horse offers good sense and information that will make you a more astute, capable, and sensitive horseman and person.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2009

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mark Rashid

41 books102 followers
Mark Rashid (pronounced RASH-id) is an internationally acclaimed horse trainer known for his ability to understand the horse’s point of view and solve difficult problems with communication rather than force. He began working with horses at age ten, when he met the “old man,” who taught him to work with horses, not against them, and to listen to what the horse is trying to say. Mark’s clinics center on one-on-one work with horse and rider and are immensely popular with people around the world.

When Mark decided to study the martial art of aikido as a way to improve his horsemanship, he brought the same quiet determination to it that he exhibits in his work with horses. After years of practice, he has earned a second degree black belt in Yoshinkan aikido and now teaches the “way of harmony” in the local dojo.

Mark worked full time on ranches for many years gathering herds, managing stock, and training horses. When time permits, he still enjoys working on ranches near his home in Estes Park, Colorado.

Mark has been a guest on NPR’s The Horse Show and was featured on the Nature series on PBS. He is the author of nine books - Considering the Horse, A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color; Horses Never Lie; Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse; Horsemanship Through Life; Big Horses, Good Dogs, & Straight Fences; A Life With Horses; Whole Heart, Whole Horse; and his latest, a novel, Out of the Wild. He also has a solo music CD Song of the Prairie and enjoys singing and playing guitar with a local band The Elktones.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
168 (60%)
4 stars
79 (28%)
3 stars
26 (9%)
2 stars
6 (2%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Teisha.
14 reviews
December 3, 2010
What I loved about this book was the way it addressed the "intangibles" of the horse world... balance, softness vs. lightness, peace,trust, joy etc. It is not written in a "wow-factor" kind of way, it is very simple in its story telling, and beautiful because of it. The author was able to put words to feelings I have with/about my horses that I wasn't able to do myself. I definitely recommend it to any horse lover/owner. It makes you examine your horse-habits...training, handling, attitudes, long-held notions...and offers a safer, more peaceful way of approaching problems...though it's not a how-to manual. Well done. Will be adding it to my book shelf.
Profile Image for C.J. Darlington.
Author 15 books365 followers
January 27, 2015
I love Mark Rashid's books, and this one is one of his best (right alongside Horses Never Lie). If I only get one thing out of a book I can apply to my riding, I consider it valuable, but this one not only has that one thing (and more), it also shows me how I can be that horseperson I want to be---calm, cool, a leader but not a bully.
Profile Image for Suzanna.
194 reviews4 followers
April 10, 2011
I have read enough from this author that I didn't get as much from this book as the others. That is more because if you understand the concepts from his previous books, this book is revisiting them and will serve as a good reminder and help one to fine tune those ideas. A worthwhile read for anyone who wants to improve their horsemanship and relationship with horses.
Profile Image for Michelle.
Author 24 books440 followers
October 20, 2010
Mark Rashid has sort of an unhurried story telling style, but it sort of gets his point across about quietness and calmness in a demonstrative fashion. I like his ideas about horse training. They are very gentle and respectful
Profile Image for Ellen.
355 reviews
August 1, 2010
A master with horses and with people. Not a how to book but an exploration of human/equine life. Very highly recommended.
Profile Image for Rlouiseg.
34 reviews50 followers
January 20, 2019
This is an amazing book. I always cry when I read about The Black. It's so special and beautiful. You should definitely read it.
45 reviews
August 16, 2021
A beautiful book, full of beautiful stories. The author is a horse whisperer of sorts whose gifts are revealed to him through his relationship with “the old man” and culminate with a horse called “the black”. If you remember The Black Stallion, the story line is familiar.

Don’t get me wrong. The messages in the book are on target. Seeing situations from the horses’ point of view is valuable. Understanding how the horse thinks is insightful.

For me, the book placed Rashid in the mythical, magical realm. I wanted less of a fairytale and more of the truth.

Perhaps this is Rashid’s truth, but it read like a great story. :)
Profile Image for Stephani Hren.
123 reviews5 followers
February 3, 2020
I sat down to read a couple of chapters of this before I went to bed and ended up plowing through the whole thing. Rashid never runs out of stories—and every one of them leaves me with another lesson (and sometimes a bit of a choked up feeling, too). I liked that this one focused on some of his clinic experiences. There was, of course, stories from his time with Walter Pruitt, too. I don't know what else to say about this book that I haven't said about Rashid already. He's a great horseman, but he's also an incredibly good writer.
Profile Image for Q.
14 reviews1 follower
April 7, 2020
I adored this book. Every story made me want to run out and spend time with the horses while also wanting it to keep going so I could continue reading. I miss it now that it's over, like I miss a novel full of beloved characters.
Profile Image for Loni.
314 reviews2 followers
July 1, 2021
Rashid is a great storyteller and a horseman with a vision to encourage relationship with horses first. He reminds us to be kind, calm, honoring, consistent, and honest with the horses and ourselves. It is an easy book to read and to understand. Recommended.
81 reviews
November 21, 2021
The author has a pleasant way of telling horse stories from his life experience to impart training philosophies. This is an enjoyable read, and you may learn concepts to take into the barn when working with your horses, whether handling them on the ground or in the saddle.
January 9, 2022
I absolutely LOVED this book! Mark has a great easy style of writing that keeps one captivated throughout. This is the first one of his books that I have read and cannot wait to get started on another. The only tough part is deciding which one 🥰
Profile Image for Stephanie.
136 reviews4 followers
November 15, 2017
Mark's is an invaluable voice in this horsemanship journey. I am grateful to read his stories.
17 reviews
May 23, 2022
I love everything about this book. Of all the Rashid books I have read, this one is precise on his training philosophy.
Profile Image for Ellen Broadhurst.
Author 4 books5 followers
March 6, 2017
Interesting stories, builds on his other books. I enjoy reading about how Rashid solves horse problems. Not a ton of new insights for me personally, but an engaging overall read.
Profile Image for Olivia.
82 reviews
October 20, 2012
I got this book from the library I don't know how many times and started reading it. I never finished it though, this last time I tried reading it again it just clicked and I 'got it.' It made sense! It has changed the whole way that I ride and train and even think about my horses. I deffinitely recommend this to anyone who is really wanting to get the most potential out of their horse.
Profile Image for Amanda.
609 reviews6 followers
October 3, 2013
I really whipped through this one. Rashid's style of writing is very easy to follow and is extremely conducive to absorbing the lessons behind each chapter or anecdote.
10 reviews
June 27, 2017
LOVED it. Having a "Western" guy confirm what classical dressage - you know, the understanding of horses that started with Xenophon - has been teaching all along; well, it's not just that. He says it in a better way: with stories, that make it So Clear! An emotional read for me. Tearjerker at the end.

If you're ever laid up for awhile (can't ride etc.), make sure you've got a copy. :D
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.