Category Archives: Booklist

Humanima’s Booklist: MUST Reads.

Most everyone has some book or writing that they cherish. Maybe they even keep it by there bed – perhaps it’s a religious book.

For me, it’s these two books. Yep, Tom Dorrance is like a God to me and I would give so, so much to have met him. He passed away a while ago, but is known today as the grandfather of natural horsemanship. The two books, “Tom Dorrance, More Than A Horseman” and “True Unity – Willing Communication between Horse and Human” are packed with knowledge.

In my life time, I will probably read them countless times to work on understanding more and more of what made Tom the man he was. He almost seems like a super-human, super-hero. As these books aren’t novels, I can’t go on too much about what they are “about”. They are about life, how to view it, deal with anything, adjust any situation… see animals in a knew way. See yourself in a new way.

True Unity has a written section by Tom and ends with people’s stories about Tom – what they learned, their thoughts and so on. More Than A Horseman was made as a kind of Memoir for Tom. After he died, they put this book together of amazing, life-changing stories from many horsemen and horsewomen who met Tom. Some met him no more than once or twice, but have life lessons that will stick with me forever. Some worked side by side with Tom for years.

I can’t get over how great these books are and, seeing as they aren’t widely published, recommend getting your copy as soon as possible!

As a side note… I have had True Unity for quite some time and have just recently decided to purchase More Than A Horseman. I live in Germany and it was shipped from America – this kind of delivery usually takes weeks! When I ordered it, they said it would be at my house in a month or maybe more. It was here in… a week?? Yep! They paid a bit extra, as I saw on the packaging, to get it to me fast. Now that’s some great service.

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Humanima’s Booklist: The Elephant Whisperer

Finally, another great (fantastic, wonderful, heartfelt, gorgeous) book!

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild… I got this as an audiobook and was hooked immediately! There can’t possibly be a better plot line than one about a man, a new wildlife reservation owner in Africa, who gets asked to rescue a herd of elephants – saving them from definite death.

Crazy! This wonderful man was, like most of us I’m guessing, not prepared for such an offer. He had never done anything with elephants. His whole life changed due to these massive animals – first he saw them as a rescue case. Then he saw them as a possible nuisance if they broke out of the reserve, but then a wonderful relationship formed!

I absolutely loved this book. If you have anything to do with horses, dogs, or other animals you will definitely relate to this man’s newly-found philosophies and treasure the moments when his patience paid off… Yippee!

Unknown Photographer

Unknown Photographer

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The Final Picture

“(…) Precision comes from the ability to be anywhere, and correctness often comes from finding out what incorrect feels like. The key is to develop excellent skills, then play freely with them… with the final picture being just that, the final picture (4).”

- Excerpt from the Dressage Naturally… Results in Harmony book by Karen Rohlf


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Filed under Behavioral musings, Booklist, Horses, Humans, Quotes

Offering Advice… Or Not…

“In all the time I’d known the old man, I had never once seen him offer advice to anybody on how they should be handling their horse, even when the slightest bit of information from him could have helped tremendously. It was the same reason why he had ignored the thoroughbred that was acting up in the barn at the boarding stable. The woman didn’t ask for help to settle the horse down, so he offered none. In order for her to have asked for help, she first had to admit that she was perhaps doing something wrong. Most people don’t like to admit that and will often take offense when help is offered. So, instead of running the risk of offending the woman and in turn perhaps making things even worse for the horse, he simply did nothing at all.

On. the other hand, I had seen people ask the old man for his help, and it was like opening the floodgates. Information would pour out of him like water through a broken dam, and both horse and rider became better of it. However, if they didn’t ask, he didn’t offer” (33).

Excerpt from Considering the Horse by: Mark Rashid


A good thing to keep in mind… but very hard to do!

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Filed under Booklist, Handling Emotions, Horses, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Quotes

Humanima’s Booklist: Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer is a great snatch .

I started it a while back: picking it up, forgetting about it, repeat… Then, about two months ago, I picked it up and finally got addicted. There are three different stories being weaved together in this book, and the whole theme seemed to be discussions. Those vital questions in life are being discussed and strongly debated in a small town and up in a mountain in Tennessee.

One woman lives alone in the mountains. She has her log cabin and hasn’t seen anyone (except for the man who delivers food) for two years. She is “one” with everything around her. Until she meets someone who is for, yet also against, everything she believes in and she attempts to persuade him.

Another woman is newly widowed and learning to deal with having the farm alone and denying her neighbor’s suggestions of pesticides, etc. I loved reading all of her great comebacks and how well her life with animals worked compared to the others.

The third story is between a sweet old woman and a grouchy (but still sort of sweet) old man – neighbors. This one was very interesting. Ms. Rawley, the old lady, tried to convince this old, very christian man of evolution: how nature works, and why she takes care of it the way she does – giving him reasons to do the same.

That’s as much as I’ll say without giving anything away, but I really recommend it. It’s one of those books where you  could say there was a “good guy” and “bad guy” but at the end I’m not sure who was which, because you grow to be sympathetic with them all. Truly well written – these characters are people we all know.

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The Center of Everything

“‘(…) Yes, I do believe humankind holds a special place in the world. It’s the same place held by a mockingbird, in his opinion, and a salamander in whatever he has that resembles a mind of his own.

Every creature alive believes this: The center of everything is me.

Every life has its own kind of worship, I think, but do you think a salamander is worshiping some God that looks like a big two-legged man? Go on! To him, a man’s a shadowy nuisance (if anything) compared to the sacred business of finding food and a mate and making progeny to rule the mud for all times. To themselves and one another, those muddy little salamander lives mean everything’”(217).

- Prodigal Summer

This quote from Prodigal Summer (a book I recommend! Interesting…) reminded me of a book I read in high school. My teacher, a friend of mine and I discussed this subject. Our topic was more along the lines of: Our creation myth or story ends with the appearance of man. But a rabbit’s creation myth ends with the creation of the rabbit.

Point being – we’re all self-absorbed! Ta da! No… While true, that wasn’t the entire point. Simply that every animal only really knows itself and who it is. We’ll never truly understand another species, even if we sit around watching them our entire lives. We can only talk for ourselves. We have no right to say: birds think this and cats feel this. I’m so much better than them. In your mind, you’re the best. In their mind, they are.

It’s in our blood to believe that our species is everything. But I love pondering this, and how each animal feels about themselves (as an individual) and their species (as a group).

Ponder, ponder, ponder…

Think, think, think…


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Filed under Animals, Behavioral musings, Birds, Booklist, Dogs, dolphins, elephants, Horses, Human & Animal Interactions, Humans, Quotes

A Book of Mastery!

To all of my German readers: I have good news!

One of my favorite books is now in German – Dressage Naturally: Dressur im Sinne des Natural Horsemanship.

It is a book written by Karen Rohlf (my idol!). I view and treasure it as my own kind of Bible. If you have interest in your relationship with your horse and ever dreamed of having that light, flowing, connection… having your horse prance and stretch as you ride them – just as they would in the pasture – get this book!

I can not recommend it enough. After seeing her post the new German version on Facebook, I had to share.

Take a look!

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Mowgli & The Kong

My dog’s way of eating was taken to a whole new level last week…

I got inspired by a book (Wanja und die wilden Hunde: Mein Leben in fünf Jahreszeiten) by Maike Maja Nowak. It’s an amazing, amazing book if you can read German – I highly recommend it. She entirely changed my views on feeding my dogs (and many other things as well).

Here’s how Maike lays it out: Searching and hunting for food is practically a dogs life. Putting their food in a bowl is like telling them: “Look! I did your favorite hobby for you! You don’t have to do it (search for food) anymore – I put it in this bowl for you.” Which is nice, because you’re feeding them, of course. But it also makes their life boring and a favorite daily activity is over in a matter of minutes.

She feeds her dogs by telling them to stay, throwing their food in a meadow (I’m pretty sure she uses chunks of meat – bigger and easier for the dogs to find) and when she says “Okay”, the dogs go and search for their food. This happens during her walks, bike rides, or jogs… In the evening, she fills a Kong with wet food for them.

So. I was very inspired. I can’t afford to throw my dog’s dry food into a field because I’m guessing I’d probably lose about half of it. But I bought a Kong. Genius! It takes my dog about an hour to eat and he get’s so excited and focused. His dinner has always been a small meaty bone that I buy by the bag.

This is how I feed my dog now:

Mornings – Fill Kong a little more than half way with dry food and pack the rest up with wet food. It takes him a while to even get to the dry food and then he has to figure out how to get the last kibble bits out…

Evenings – One, or two, of his small bones. Then I take one of those bigger treats that are “strips” of dried meat. I stuff it into the Kong by breaking it in half and then pack it densely with wet food (my Kong isn’t that big, so these are fairly small meals, but take a long time for him to eat). This last meal of the day takes the longest, because the wet food doesn’t just fall out like the kibble does. The dried meat strip is surprisingly difficult for him to get out. He works on it on and off all night if I can cram it in well enough.

Just some… food for thought! I have a better feeling knowing that my dog is more stimulated from eating now. I hope to hide his food on our walks over the meadow someday, too.

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Filed under Booklist, Dogs, Human & Animal Interactions, Inspiration and Idols

Humanima Book List: Animals in Translation

This book captivated me right from the start. Absolutely fantastic!

Temple Grandin, the author of Animals in Translation, is an autistic woman who changes the lives of domesticated animals every day. Particularly for those unfortunate enough to be cows in slaughter houses. Time and time again, she has found correlations in how autistic people and animals view the world.

Her book is packed with great info on animal behavior as she muses personal experiences as well as results from behavioral research and experiments. She often says that her autism gives her the opportunity to relate to how animals feel in most situations. This gives her an amazing opportunity to help them and consult people as to how they can make their animal’s life even better.

Grandin is known for her work in slaughter houses. There is an audit that a slaughter house must pass in order to be considered “humane”. Well… as humane as they can get. So Grandin goes and puts herself in the cows’ hooves to see what might be spooking them or causing the pain or stress. It’s very captivating if learning about animal behavior is your kinda thing.

She covers such a wide basis. I agree with most everything she had to say. I most definitely give this book five stars, thumbs-up, high five, a grin, and a pat on the back.

It is fabulous. I’m in the process of reading another of her books – I’ll let you know if it’s a book worth reading!

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