Penn State

Linda M. Null - associate professor of computer science, Penn State Harrisburg

Book Title: Such is the Real Nature of Horses

Author: Robert Vavra

Book Description:

When first asked to select a book that had special meaning to me, I thought of the top three computer science books that had affected my career, only to find that they already resided in many Penn State Libraries. Upon further reflection, however, I came to realize there were many books that had influenced my life path. But none were more powerful than those that reflected my love for horses.

I've always been inspired by the relationship between horses and humans and have found that much can be learned from working with horses that can be applied in our everyday lives. Horses not only mirror our own traits, but can reveal our vulnerabilities and teach us about ourselves. The positive effect horses can have on humans is legendary, but perhaps none is more dramatic than the success of hundreds of therapeutic riding programs across the country, where children with various physical and mental disabilities have shown unexpected and significant progress once introduced to horses. Horses have taught me to communicate with compassion and patience, as well as inspiring me with their strength, courage, confidence, and trust. Their gentle natures and willing attitudes to coexist with humans, on our own terms, should be held as an example of how much we humans have yet to learn.

There is an extraordinary book entitled Such is the Real Nature of Horses, a masterpiece on equine social behavior by Robert Vavra. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print. However, Vavra recently released an inspiring and educational documentary under the same name. I recommend this DVD for both the novice, who wants to learn about horse behavior, as well as the experienced horse person, who wishes to gain better insight into the real nature of horses.

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