Book Reviews


About Horse Brain, Human Brain

"If there was ever a book whose time has come, it has to be Horse Brain Human Brain by Janet Jones, PhD. Jones is a cognitive scientist who applies brain research to the training of horses and riders by using the principles of working with horses at the neurological level, that internal space where the brains of two different species interact. The book is an absolute gem of thoughtful, intelligent observations about the complexities of cross-species communication.... The book is illustrated with excellent line drawings, diagrams, and sidebars that help explain not only the complexity of some of the messaging, but the internal functioning of the brain. As much as the book explores the horse's brain, Jones dissects the human brain and the cause and effect of why we do the things we do and therefore how we approach training.... The insights in Horse Brain Human Brain are fascinating and incredible tools to help riders and trainers better understand their horses, their own responses to how horses behave and respond, and how to move forward in training goals. This book deserves a place on every equestrian's bookshelf."
--Margaret Evans, Horse Journals, Canada

"A few months ago a new book was published which is a fabulous tool to help us understand the horse better.... In the book Horse Brain, Human Brain, the author elaborates the concepts of 'brain-based horsemanship,' or, in Portugese, how to cooperate by using our brains.... [It] should be mandatory reading for all riders.... Since 2014, Janet has officially... started teaching about the relationship between the human brain and the equine brain... directly applying the principles of the functioning of the mind to improve the interaction between horses and riders. Throughout the book the author [also] tells stories of everyday life with horses. These examples, as well as the very accessible language, allow anyone who has to do with horses to learn a lot in this book. You don't have to be a scientist to understand science when it is so well explained....The last part of the book integrates all this knowledge and shows how the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The interaction with horses makes us better people. And reading this book makes us better riders because it provides the tools to know what the horse knows. I recommend that anyone who deals with horses and can read English, should read this book."
--Sandra Dias da Cunha, Equitacao Magazine, Portugal

“You need this book. Whether you have spent your entire lifetime around horses, or just patronize a local barn, or even only are curious about the horses you see standing in a field as you drive past – this authoritative and reader-friendly book will help you get to know horses. We all need this information. When I was a child, it was common knowledge that horses had brains 'the size of walnuts,' and that they were stupid and unfeeling beasts of burden. In recent years, we have come to realize that this isn’t true. Now neuroscientist Janet Jones’ myth-busting heart-warming book delves deeply into the truth about the complexity of horses’ inner lives. Readers learn how horses experience the world in which they live – and about how we humans can, using this understanding, improve our treatment of these magnificent beings.” 
--Wendy Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion 


“Can a highly evolved predator species live in harmony with a highly evolved prey species? For the student of this human-horse relationship, there are many answers and musings and strategies to be found in Janet Jones’ intriguing Horse Brain, Human Brain. The idea that 'the burden of tolerance lies upon he who has the greater understanding' applies thoroughly to the book. There are many riders and trainers who, for all manner of reasons, try to push 'the burden of tolerance' onto the horse. Then, when the horse, with a brain that is dramatically different from ours, resists out of noncomprehension, some people crank up the pressure. It reminds me of the idea that the best way to get a point across to someone who only speaks a foreign language is to shout. Horse Brain, Human Brain gets right at the ‘understanding' part of things, because until our brains grasp what the horse's brain grasps so differently, it is easy to think the horse is saying, ‘No,' when what he is really saying is, ‘I don’t get what it is you want.' This book explains the difference.”

--Denny Emerson, Olympic gold medalist, USEA President, named "One of the 50 Most Influential Horsemen of the 20th Century" by The Chronicle of the Horse

"Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship completes my trifecta of horsemanship references, which includes Tom Dorrance's True Unity and Ray Hunt's Think Harmony with Horses. Dr. Jones' book presents facts that are supported by real-time scientific research. It is written so perfectly that virtually anyone can use it as a tool to understand how horses view the world. It's a must for professional farriers to keep in your home office and another for your truck."
--James Wyatt Weatherford, The American Farrier's Journal

 

“As a person who has worked daily with horses for over 45 years, I found Horse Brain, Human Brain to be an eye-opening insight into the horse’s response to its changing environment. The book has improved my work with the horse by helping me try to think about the horse’s perspective, and his likely response to my pressures.”
— Jeffrey H. Warren, DVM, Equine Veterinarian, Southwest Veterinary Service

"This book should be required reading for all equestrians... Horse Brain, Human Brain does an absolutely fantastic job of explaining key similarities and differences in how people and horses think and perceive the world."
-- Tonya Johnston, Equestrian Mental Skills Coach and author of Inside Your Ride

"Teenager Janet Jones lost consciousness in Scottsdale, Arizona, after being thrown from a horse. She had bouts of amnesia for years. What could have been a debilitating injury instead energized her to become a leading voice in understanding grey matter.  Now, ... she has written the book the horse world has been waiting for: Horse Brain, Human Brain.  It is a game changer. Dr. Jones draws on her experience as a trainer and a scientist to share cutting-edge ideas on how to understand horses.  The book is not simply about training horses, it is about how to understand them. I have often thought people give horses too much credit for some things and not enough credit for others.  How smart are horses?  And in what ways?  Jones draws on many recent studies to explain. The prefrontal cortex, for example, is a part of the brain reserved for advanced decision making.  In humans it is 33% of our brain, in monkeys it is 15%, in dogs and cats it is 5%.  And the prefrontal cortex in horses?  0%.  In other words, horses do not dream of winning blue ribbons, nor do they plan the evening before to step on your toes. Dr. Jones is a self-proclaimed horse nerd. You will be too after reading this book."
--Tik Maynard, acclaimed natural horsemanship and eventing trainer, author of In the Middle are the Horsemen


“’Brain to brain’ communication is an example of brain-based horsemanship, a new way of thinking about horse-human relations developed by Dr. Janet Jones…. In Jones’ opinion, brain science is the key to achieving a better understanding of how horses and humans can think, act and work together.... By applying brain-based horsemanship, horsemen can learn to accommodate differences [between horse and human brains] to become better trainers…. Understanding how horses think and process thoughts may be one of the most fundamental lessons a horseman can learn. In addition to being an investment in safety, it’s an investment in learning how to communicate between the two species.”
--Allison Armstrong Rehnborg, Hoof Beats Magazine, United States Trotting Association

"For all my equestrian life I have lived off the statement 'Know your horse,' not only as a species but as an individual. In Horse Brain, Human Brain the author's understanding of this principle is abundantly clear. The last chapter of her book should be read first, last, and then read again. It’s a wonderful summary of horsemanship."
--Eric Smiley, Fellow British Horse Society, Olympic medalist, Federation Equestre Internationale judge, United Kingdom 

"Janet Jones discusses how understanding the equine brain improves our connection, our training, and our ability to solve problems in a kind way. She also discusses cross-species communication and how special that is between horses and rider. She writes: 'Asked which species of animal is best at mutual communication with humans, most people would guess dogs. After all, dogs are the most common pet and have evolved an innate alertness to human signals. But I believe the potential for cross-species communication is much greater between horses and riders.' HOW COOL IS THAT?"
--Kim Curzi, Flying Changes Magazine


"a must-read for Icelandic horse owners. Icelandic horses tend to be more stoic and averse to training methods that involve endless repetition, and Janet Jones's science-based understanding of the horse's vs. the human's brain complements their non-reactive and people-friendly natures.... It was only after reading Janet Jones's book that I made the connection between my earlier, unsuccessful, and later, more successful efforts. 'Horse Brain, Human Brain' enabled me to offer a solid rationale to people who had voiced skepticism about my use of indirect training methods with my Icelandic horses."
--Alys Culhane, The Icelandic Horse Quarterly


"...scientist and equestrian Janet L. Jones, Ph.D. gives a fresh and meticulously researched guide to the equine brain and how the human one interacts with it. Broken into five sections, this enlightening book is essential reading for any horseman looking to know the ins and outs of how a horse thinks, learns, feels, and processes the world around them. And if the idea of reading about equine neuroscience seems intimidating, Dr. Jones's writing will put you at ease. The clear, simple language is easy to digest and strikes that delicate balance between science and practical application. ...Horse Brain, Human Brain is also full of tiny gems of narrative. These pocket-sized stories embedded in many of the chapters give life to the concepts she discusses. They also include a vast array of equine characters. Her experience, combined with her prose's mastery and clarity ... is destined to make this book one of those dog-eared tomes covered in sticky notes, pen marks, and horse dirt that can be found on horse lovers' bookshelves everywhere."
--Gretchen Lida, Horse Network  


"...a well-written book that explains in an approachable manner the vagaries of the equine and human mind. Dr. Jones adds warmth and humor to her teachings and there is something to learn here for even the more advanced riders.The differences between the evolved thinking and brain development in horse and human, and therefore the accommodations that horse owners and trainers can implement to best understand and thus train the horse, are documented here in a science based reality. The explanations are keen and succinct, and the anecdotal experiences shared by the author of her history working with horses, brings another level of understanding for the reader. This book is a welcome addition to the world of horses, and will no doubt have horse owners changing up some of their own behaviors and expectations around their horses, and encourage trainers to listen to what the horse is telling them rather than using force or detrimental methods to manipulate their horse’s attitude or habits. Well worth a read, for riders at any level."
-- Chelsea V. Smith, Catskill Horse Magazine  

 

"I was expecting to need a scientific dictionary to read [Horse Brain, Human Brain], but in fact, it read brilliantly, really easy to understand without having previously studied any kind of equine science. When it says it's written in Plain language, you can believe it. There is even a convenient glossary at the back for quick reference. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was drawn into the fascinating facts and managed to finish the whole book in just a few days."
--Jenni Sellick, Horsemanship Journal, United Kingdom


“What Jones has done here will really help readers come closer to perceiving the world as a horse does and tailoring their expectations and demands accordingly. The blend of scientific research, anecdotes about specific horses, advice, and instruction is powerful, with a gentle but highly informed hand to guide the book’s audience.”
— Karen I. Spear, PhD, Emerita Dean of Arts and Sciences, Fort Lewis College

 

"...This book is engaging and informative all at once.The author has the big ambition of aiming the book at everyone who interacts with horses – from beginner to expert trainer... The book is rich with anecdotes of equine behavior that anyone who spends much time with horses will surely recognize. The author uses these familiar tales to launch an explanation of everything from senses to attention...This book is not a compendium of cutting edge studies on the equine brain. Those don’t really exist, a fact that the author points out many times. What she has done is taken what science has learned about brain function in humans, and across other species such as primates and dogs, and uses that with what we do know about the horse’s brain, folding that together with her broad experience working with horses. Where studies do exist on horse behavior, she brings them in, such as one where handlers’ anticipation of a scary event caused reaction in their horses in advance of the event... It is clear throughout the book that the author has affection, admiration, and respect for the horse. She succeeds in providing a wealth of information to better understand the horse. Her clear objective is to improve the bonding with a horse she believes we should all have, and that the relationship between horse and rider is a unique one. For those who finish the book and want more, there is a rich list of source materials at the back, listed by chapter. You can comb through those to find books, articles, and websites to further explore any topic covered in this book. It is difficult to convey just how much I adore this book! ...This book is truly a must read for anyone who wants to better understand horses and, more importantly, to improve the relationship they have with their current horse(s)."
--Lia Scott, The Literate Equine 

"The potentially complicated anatomy and neuroscience topics in this book are explained in such a way that you don't need to be a professional to understand them. The relaxed tone throughout the book makes the content feel more accessible. The examples, case studies and easy to follow explanations help the reader grasp the concept, the science, and the point the author is trying to make. These strategically placed structures also break up the text into smaller sections, giving the reader a chance to absorb the information. The book contains exercises throughout for the reader to engage in whilst reading, which makes it more interesting and solidifies the learning."
--Sadie Beech, Horsemanship Journal, United Kingdom

 

"I read your book and it was amazing! And when I say it's amazing, I mean AMAZING. It actually changed my life. I'm an 11-year-old girl who's been riding for as long as I can remember. I was going to sell my horse that I've had for 6 years and get a new one. I felt I lost my connection with him. So, I was going to get a new horse instead. But then after I read your book, everything changed. I realized my mistakes and fixed them with the methods you provide. And let me TELL YOU. He responded so well to me I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. Something clicked after I read your book. I felt I was smart and good enough [to handle my horse]. I'm no longer going to get rid of my best friend. (for now at least). I'm having way more fun with horses than I could ever imagine. I would just like to thank you so so so so soooooooooo much for your help." 
--Amelia Aspen, age 11, rider and reader


"EUREKA! I have FOUND IT! This is *the book* that has been missing from my library of REQUIRED READING for every horsemanship client, every farrier customer I have, and it will be forever next to True Unity and Think Harmony with Horses, creating a triad of books that serves to guide the human towards a better understanding of the horse. Dr. Janet Jones has done a spectacular job at explaining how the horse's brain works--and in so doing, she has done with one book what I've been trying to do for decades with my clients--pull back the curtain and strip away the anecdotal, opinionated, all-too-frequently-just-plain-wrong guesswork as to why horses do what they do."
--James Wyatt Weatherford, Horsemanship Clinician
 

"What if we could read our horses' minds and our horses could read our minds? It would certainly clarify understanding, wouldn't it? In Dr. Janet Jones' book, Horse Brain Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship, she uses brain research and her own experience at training horses to teach us how differently, and in some areas similarly, our brains and horse's brains work." 
--Nancy Brannon, PhD, The Mid-South Horse Review 

 
"Janet is an extremely knowledgeable, disciplined, and caring horsewoman.  My young daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed her training techniques when taking lessons… After assisting me with buying my first horse, Apple, she then began the retraining process with my new 5 year old quarter horse. Previously a reining cow horse, Apple quickly picked up english riding and became a hunter prospect. Janet was patient, thorough, and very skilled throughout this process… I am forever grateful to Janet for finding and training my mare and giving us such an excellent riding foundation.”
— Kelly Ziegler, former training client and riding student


"I found Janet Jones to be a dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced riding instructor and trainer. She builds confidence in her students with creative exercises, focusing and improving riding ability with easy and fun patterns. The students then focus their attention on riding instead of their fears and nerves. Janet used brain-based training with a difficult trail horse of mine, and it worked very well. She is a skilled trainer in all disciplines and is able to ride and demonstrate each, from Western pleasure to dressage and jumping.”
— Shirley Fleming, former training client and riding student

“Though I have been riding at varying intervals for over 70 years, I didn’t own a horse until 4 years ago.  Suddenly… I was fully responsible for all the care and training. To gain knowledge I immediately started reading EQUUS magazine and was impressed with Janet Jones’ extensive knowledge of equestrian care and performance, particularly her brain-based training. I exclusively ride trails. My horse … presented various problems for me. Janet was able to evaluate each behavior problem, explaining the reasons and strategizing appropriate solutions that worked. Corrections and progress in groundwork translated well into my trail riding experience. With Janet’s advice I understand my horse better and am now able to properly correct behavioral issues if they arise.”
— Nancy Mazarin, MS, RDN, online consultation client

"The horse world really needs good science-based training for horses and riders, and this book should go a long way toward dispelling many old fallacies and helping riders and instructors understand how we and our horses learn."
-- Susan E. Harris, Centered Riding instructor, international clinician, and equine artist


"Janet was my first legitimate riding instructor. She pushed me to my limits, no matter what discipline we were practicing. Without a doubt, I know that she disciplined herself in this exact same way.... She is an excellent trainer, rider, and writer. Janet has the rare gift and cognitive ability to evaluate circumstances through the equine eye. I have had the pleasure of reading a couple of her articles in EQUUS magazine and honestly cannot wait to read Horse Brain, Human Brain."
-- Zinnia Cantrell, former jumping student

About Understanding Psychological Science

“One of the most highly-praised texts in years… [92] students who’ve previewed the text have unanimously applauded the author’s clarity, choice of topics, and lively writing.”
Catherine Woods, HarperCollins

About The Psychotherapist’s Guide to Human Memory

“Jones’ well-written book is much more than another salvo in the memory wars. Her goal, which succeeds admirably, is to inform psychotherapists about recent advances in understanding human memory so they can use this knowledge, both in helping their clients and in evaluating claims about human memory… The book deserves a wider audience than just psychotherapists. It is a relatively nontechnical guide to human memory that can inform anyone with either a professional or personal interest in how individuals understand, recollect, and report life events. Psychologists who are not therapists, as well as professionals in areas such as law, law enforcement, medicine, journalism, history, survery research, and popular entertainment, would certainly benefit.”
— Martin A. Safer PhD, Professor of Psychology at Catholic University of America

“Jones wrote a terrific book… It is a real beauty!”
— Gordon Bower PhD, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and winner of the National Medal of Science