About this project
**We hit our goal!! EVERY NEW PLEDGE we get now makes the project go faster! Spread the word and make a pledge if you haven't yet, and let's get this resource in the community's hands by SUMMER!**
Check our 9.7.14 Update for a cool tutorial about why a horse's mane moves up and down during a fast gait like a pace. And learn why the trot to canter transition can be difficult in the 2 minute sample of our horse biomechanics project below.
(This 2-minute clip is from a longer sound file you can find on the "Extras" page of the book website. The longer clip finishes outlining the two major ways a gallop and canter are different from the walk, trot, pace, and gaited horse gaits. The published book will more fully explain the subjects introduced in the clip.)
“Riding with feel” is central to the work of outstanding trainers and clinicians such as Ray Hunt, Paul Belasik, and Sally Swift. But how can a rider understand and move with a horse’s own natural movements when most people can’t access reliable information about how horses really move? Some of the horse biomechanics books and resources already available leave people with unresolved questions, and others leave riders feeling puzzled or confused — or even left out if they don’t ride dressage. Because yes, most available books about horse biomechanics focus on how it applies to principles of dressage — and that’s fine. But it doesn’t mean, as some publishers apparently think, that only dressage riders care about horse biomechanics.
We have learned that cowhorse people want to understand the biomechanics of how their horse moves, and so do gaited horse riders, thoroughbred racehorse breeders, endurance riders, eventers, and hackney pony drivers, to name just a few. At our clinics and seminars, these kinds of riders and more have asked us for a horse biomechanics resource that integrates biomechanics with riding so they can understand how to use the knowledge they acquire.
“The Science of Riding with Feel: Horse Biomechanics and You” is that book: a unique and very different look at real horse biomechanics that sets a new standard for the horse community. The scientist member of our team, Dawn Adams, explains the anatomy and physics that determine horse posture and movement with accuracy and insight. And because she's an award-winning science educator she does it with humor and clarity in a way that's accessible to everyone. And the horse professional part of our team, Jo Belasco, connects the biomechanics to principles of riding using methods she’s successfully applied in lessons and clinics for riders of all levels, in disciplines ranging from dressage to Western trail and in venues from the classical arena to the basic backyard. There is literally no other book like this available. You can see what’s in the book, including its table of contents and a sample chapter, here.
~Testimonial from an equine sciences professional: “Being a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University made me think that I was pretty knowledgeable when it came to horses. After taking this seminar I learned that there was a lot I didn’t know and a lot that I should have known.”~
You can participate in making this important community resource a reality.
Kickstarter gives us the chance to invite you to contribute to this important community resource and even to appear in print and/or online as a permanent part of it. Every person who supports the project with as little as $1 gets to tell us which breed of horse and what type of riding, driving, or other horse use (vaulting, for example) they’d most like to see in the book’s illustrations. Several intermediate pledge levels reward you with your name and/or you and your horse’s photograph in the final project. Upper pledge levels offer personal seminar and private instruction rewards that give you an opportunity to ask questions and suggest topics you’d especially like to see addressed in the book. Some project Partners will even appear in the book and Workbook as models.
Many of the campaign rewards also give you unique opportunities to learn horse biomechanics and how it relates to feel. We’ve already mentioned the personal seminars and private instruction opportunities, and an audio-visual tutorial series and basic biomechanical assessment of your horse are also available as pledge rewards. Perhaps most importantly, you can get an autographed advance copy of the book itself for any pledge of $50 or greater, as well as an early-release copy of the Workbook PDF for pledges of $15 or more.
Detailed information about rewards and their delivery dates is available here.
~Testimonial from a veterinarian: “I had the pleasure of attending Dawn and Jo’s Biomechanics seminar a few weeks ago, and have to say that I haven’t looked at my horse the same way since. Even with my years of training, they presented ideas and explanations about how the horse’s body interacts with itself that I hadn’t really considered. It certainly has given me a new perspective on my riding.”~
We will self-publish “The Science of Riding with Feel: Horse Biomechanics and You” through Amazon’s CreateSpace platform so we can control the book’s contents and illustrations, both of which relate very directly to who the book is written for. We want to make certain the book serves the entire horse community, not just one part of it. Self-publishing also allows us to make the companion Workbook to “The Science of Riding with Feel” available FREE to everyone, something many traditional publishers frown on. The free companion Workbook contains exercises designed to develop your horse’s natural systems for support and movement, better feel in yourself, and clearer communication between the two of you. The project will also be supported by online pages of supplementary diagrams and photos, animated gifs (such as these), and video clips. You can find detailed information about our publishing plans here.
This project has been 10 years in the making, the last 2 spent in research, writing, and illustration planning and layout. Now, with your help, we can deliver the book and its free companion workbook to the horse community in 2015.
Finalizing the illustrations for print requires the purchase of professional art materials. Turning our rough photographs into ones suitable for publication requires we purchase a good camera. We also need to buy layout software to get the manuscripts in publication format and pay a CreateSpace fee to publish there. Finally, we need to arrange for permissions and royalty payments for a few diagrams, images, and photographs we can’t easily reproduce but that are important to the text. The goal for this Kickstarter campaign is the $1700 we need to do those things so we can finish the project and deliver it to you: the people who want, need, and deserve to have clear, basic information about the biomechanics of horse movement and how it applies to riding with feel.
The target date for book publication and for release of the free Workbook PDF and website of supplementary materials is October 1, 2015. But if we exceed our minimum funding goal, we can deliver the book ahead of schedule.
We want to put the book you want into your hands, dealing with the questions you’ve asked, bringing our professional training and expertise to bear on issues of vital interest to everyone in the horse community. And we want this book, its free companion workbook, and the online supplementary materials that enhance and clarify your experience to be as accessible as possible. If that’s what you want, too, help us make it happen.
~Testimonial from a Mechanical Engineer who rides horses: “Dawn did an excellent job of bringing the average ‘Non-Engineer’ horse person to a working understanding of Mechanics, Stress, Motion, and the forces at work with moving mechanical systems; all this in relation to the makeup and structural/motion differences in the horse.”~
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge to completing this project on time is the process of publishing itself. Formatting book layout, getting signed permissions for images, and dodging winter weather patterns to photograph the models who will demonstrate exercises for the Workbook are all potential points of delay. But we've scheduled enough time for everything that we hope even a major glitch or two (looking at you, March blizzards!) won't prevent publication next fall.
Jo worked as a legal editor, and Dawn was a professional illustrator and graphic artist all through graduate school. So both of us are very familiar with deadlines and the effort it takes to stay on top of them. We've laid out a timeline that will accommodate delays. Further, if we exceed our funding goal for the project we'll be able to afford putting more time and effort in on getting the project done, in which case the project will go faster and come in ahead of its deadline.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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