What I Know for Sure

My educational journey into horse ownership, caregiving and training


By Caroline Volandt-Beste

Twenty-plus years ago, I used to have my horses shod. At the time I never questioned why my horse should be barefoot. I was told his hooves were too sensitive without shoes and that was that! It wasn’t until I had stepped out of the equine world and then re-emerged more than ten years later that I began questioning everything; and, with that process I began educating myself by means of hands-on experience.

I understand the overwhelming feeling my clients have when they begin reading and learning about different perspectives and opinions. It can be a daunting and often emotionally exhausting experience educating yourself in the equine world. We equestrians can be very opinionated and it seems every horse owner is an expert about everything.

If you are a new horse owner, or one that is searching for a new or better way for you and your horse, this is what I recommend along your educational journey:


  • Ask questions.  Ask as many “experts” or professionals as you can and look for a common thread. Meaning, it’s one thing if one “expert” claims it to be right or true and another if many are saying the same thing. I am not saying that it’s always wise to follow the masses – I sure haven’t. Listen, learn, and then decide once you have education and experience to back your decision.


  • I encourage you to keep probing, reading, and asking until the answer not only feels best, but it works best for you and your horse.

  • Follow the expert or professional that “walks the walk,” not just “talks the talk.” There are many “talkers” or intellectuals out there and very few “doers.” I want to follow the doer – the one who has learned through experience and has a reputation to back it.

I have included below a list of articles about horsemanship, ownership, and training that I follow and believe in.

Suggested Readings

The Tao of Abundance
Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living 
Laurence G. Boldt

Awakening the Buddha Within
Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World 
Lama Surya Das 

The Essence of Buddhism
An Introduction to Its Philosophy and Practice 
Traleg Kyabgon 

Eastern Body, Western Mind
Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self
Anodea Judith 

The Seventh Journey
Reclaiming Mind, Body & Spirit Through the Chakras 
Anodea Judith & Selene Vega 

Riding Between The Worlds
Expanding Our Potential through the Way of the Horse 
Linda Kohanov 

Way of the Horse
Equine Archetypes for Self-Discovery 
Linda Kohanov 

Power vs, Force
The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior 
David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. 

Transcending the Levels of Consciousness
The Stairway to Enlightenment 
David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. 

The Celestine Prophesy
An Experiential Guide
James Redfield and Carol Adrienne

Holistic Horse Magazine Articles

Developing Self Carriage, Balance & Collection – Naturally  Click here

PTSD & Equine   Click here

Instride with Caroline Volandt-Beste  Click here

Mustang Research spurs Greater Understanding  Click here

Building Blocks for Riding Bitless  Click here

Recovery: Cognitive & Muscle Pattern Recognition and Re-patterning

Habits are formed through perpetual thought and physical patterns (repetitive movement) and/or recognition (muscle memory). Much of what we do and think is habitual, second nature to us as they don’t involve much thought or conscious awareness. People and horses are habitual by nature, seeking the comforts of routine and habits. The human brain is hardwired to select habitual thoughts patterns as they chemically produce hormones that create feelings of comfort and ease. When we are in state of stress, panic or fear, we produce adrenaline which releases our need for flight, fight or freeze. Equines relate similarly when feeling either relaxed or in a state of stress. Research using MRI’s has shown the effects both adrenaline and serotonin have on the brain when in flight, fight or freeze. Large amounts of serotonin are released from the hippocampus region within both humans and equines, proving that equines feel the same amount of stress and/or relaxation hormone, cortisol and endorphine, as humans.

Practicing consciously, meaning practicing viscerally, by means of experiencing what you feel physically (through movement) and not in a robotic manner or what I refer to “auto pilot” – just going through the motions is how we begin to re-pattern our neurochemistry. Repetitive movement aids in releasing relaxation hormones thus places us in a relaxed, meditative state of mind and being. This is what we practice and teach at Tao of Horsemanship, conscious rhythmic and meditative movement.

Learning for Both Horses and People

What is Neurofeedback  Click here

Sensory, Experiential and Transformative Learning  Click here

What is NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)  Click here

Fresh Research Shows how Horse Domestication Helped Shape Humanity  Click here

Head Movement Timing Helps Horse Walk Efficiently  Click here

The Power of the Horse - We're Just Only Beginning To Understand  Click here

Equine Intelligence

Co-Being Relationship  Click here

Consensual Partnership  Click here

Sydney University  Click here

Recognizing Human Emotion  Click here

What’s Your Horse Thinking?  Click here

Neuroscience and the Three Brains of Leadership  Click here

Study Confirms Horses ‘Talk” to Human Handlers  Click here

Ability of Horses to Manipulate the Attention of Humans Shown in Study  Click here

Horses Can Read Human Facial Expressions  Click here

Horses Never Forget Human Friends  Click here


“The secret in riding is to do few things right. The more one does, the less one succeeds. The less one does, the more one succeeds.”
~ Nuno Oliveira

To Bit or Not to Bit  Click here


Definition of On the Bit  Click here

Bitless Resources  Click here


Building Blocks for Riding Bitless  Click here


Why Bitless for Foundation Training  Click here

A Bit-less- The Explanation of Different Bitless Bridles  Click here

Bit Information (Curb and Western type bits and hackamores)  Click here

Bit Type, Bridle Style Impact Rein Tension  Click here

Facial Nerves and the Importance of Proper Bridle Fitting  Click here


PTSD & Equines  Click here


Sydney University  Click here


Proper Saddle Fitting  Click here

10 Points to Saddle Fitting  Click here

Disengagement is a Powerful Safety Technique  Click here


Developing Self Carriage, Balance & Collection – Naturally  Click here

Lateral Work: Progressing to Shoulder-in  Click here

Barefoot Trimming

Why Barefoot  Click here


The following website gives great pics and descriptions of balanced trims: Click here


This is a descriptive video on trimming: Click here

Underrun Heels in Horses  Click here

Equine Health & Healing

Training Horses That Have PTSD  Click here

Trust Your Horse to Heal Itself  Click here

PTSD & Equines  Click here

PTSD in Horses - Causes, How it Works and Rehabilitation   Click here

OTTB’s healing Veterans   Click here

Kerry M. Thomas Equine PTSD; Thoughts and Theory   Click here

Subcortical Brain Structures in Animals and Humans   Click here

Horses in Study Show Dramatic Fall in Pain-related Behaviors After Going Bitless  Click here

Reading Dents and Dings on Your Horse  Click here 


Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Horses  Click here

How to Feed a Horse Magnesium  Click here

Magnesium the Mineral Superhero  Click here

Magnesium to Relax Equine Muscles and Nervousness  Click here

Chakras and Energy

You can find the 3 topics below on this page: Click Here

Energy & Healing Click here

HeartMath: Click here


Chakra Conscious®: Click here

Unconventional Horsemanship

Alexander Nevzorov  Click here