Welcome to our holiday edition of the Robert M. Miller, DVM Newsletter. As I write this, I am on the eve of Debby’s and my departure to Hungary and Poland, and we’re excited to visit this part of Europe for the first time and see the newest developments in Natural Horsemanship. I’ll be lecturing on equine behavior in Budapest and Warsaw, and attending an International Conference in Poland. 

Holiday DiscountsOur February newsletter will include photos and an article based on our trip. Also in the February newsletter: Imprint training tips- just in time for foaling season. This month, with winter upon us, I’d like to address two very divisive topics in horse care: blanketing and shoeing.  Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback and support we received from our inaugural October newsletter. We always welcome your comments and suggestions at newsletter@robertmmiller.com.

From reader Harold Wadley, we received this email about how information from Dr. Miller’s Safer Horsemanship DVD saved his life:

“Just a quick story to confirm your “loose boot” safety advice. Recently, while riding across a steep slope through heavy brush, a limb shoved me out of the saddle, and as I went off, the brush snagged my boot and tapadero, which put me upside-down on the downhill slope. My horse was doing his best to keep his footing and stay off me, when my foot slipped out of my slightly too-large boot, setting me free. There was no way my foot would have come out of a regular-size boot.”

A Message from Dr. Miller


In addition to his renowned work as a veterinarian and equine behaviorist, Dr. Miller is also an acclaimed veterinary and Western lifestyle cartoonist and the author of seven cartoon books. Just in time for the holidays, you can order books, personalized caricatures, and cartoon merchandise. Or, select from our growing library of digitized cartoons and create your own Print on Demand items such as coffee mugs, T-shirts (even for dogs!) and neckties.

These make great gifts for the animal enthusiasts in your life, as well as effective promotional material for businesses and events. Go to www.rmmcartoons.com to place your orders now.

If you have an idea for a cartoon or product idea, let us know! Email cartoons@robertmmiller.com.


Holiday Savings when you order from out online store!
Receive a 15% holiday discount  - just use Coupon Code "holiday2009" during check out.

Use Coupon Code "holiday2009" for a 15% discount on entire order!

Natural Horsemanship Explained
From Heart to Hands

Dr. Miller’s follow-up book to the acclaimed Revolution in Horsemanship, which he co-authored with Rick Lamb, Natural Horsemanship Explained is for those familiar with Natural Horsemanship, particularly students and clinicians. It delves into the how and why of its effectiveness, which ultimately leads to a greater ability to reinforce and refine the users’ methodology. A must for any equestrian seeking to advance their communication skills with their horse.

Click Here for "Natural Horsemanship Explained"

Understanding the Ancient Secrets of the Horse’s Mind

In Dr. Miller’s best-selling book, he explains the genetically-coded behavioral characteristics that enable horses to survive in their natural environment, and what causes our mounts to behave as they do. By understanding these qualities, riders, clinicians, and practitioners can shape and modify their own behavior without the use of cruelty or physical force. These are the techniques currently employed by the Natural Horsemen who are revolutionizing horsemanship. Includes solutions to common problems such as barn sourness, shying, and difficult-to-catch. 

Click Here for "Understanding the Ancient Secrets of the Horse’s Mind"

"Poetry in Motion:
Understanding the Horse From the Inside Out,”
with Eitan Beth-Halachmy

 One of Dr. Miller’s favorite DVD’s, he calls clinician Eitan Beth-Halachmy’s newest release “A work of art, but more important, a work of tremendous value to any rider. Beautifully illustrated with videography and animation, this is helpful to any serious rider, regardless of their level of experience, to understand how they can get the most out of their mount.”  

Click Here for "Poetry in Motion: Understanding the Horse From the Inside Out"

Watch for a new DVD developed jointly by Dr. Miller and Eitan

PRE-FOALING SEASON BONUS: Dr. Miller’s acclaimed Early Learning DVD shows you how to imprint train newborn foals for safer foot handling.

Click here to order your copy today and receive a 15% holiday discount  -
just use Coupon Code "
holiday2009" during check out.

Use Coupon Code "holiday2009"


photo provided by The Resort at Paws Up," www.pawsup.com

The horse evolved in North America and survived several ice ages. It disappeared after the last Ice Age about 13,000 years ago, probably due to excessive predation. Long before extinction the horse had migrated over the Bering land bridge into Asian and ultimately Europe, the Middle East, and Africa where, about 6,000 years ago, domestication began.

There are still wild horses in Siberia, the coldest place on earth, all over Western North America, and elsewhere. Horses easily survive temperatures below minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, as long as they have food. I have seen horses in the Rockies with their ears frozen off, but otherwise healthy. 

Chilling rains are harder on horses than snow and ice, especially if blanketed and the blankets soak through. After the rain stops, evaporation turns the wet blanket into a refrigerator. I never recommend blanketing horses unless the horse is ill, or because it is necessary to preserve a summer coat for horse shows or sale reasons. 


Visit our new FAQ page. It’s a resource for you to find answers to frequently asked questions.   In this new section, Dr. Miller answers your questions on equine health, behavior, and care.   Have something you’d like to see here? Email us at questions@robertmmiller.com.  We apologize that due to volume, we can’t guarantee Dr. Miller can respond to all emails.  We are working toward providing a more comprehensive page to address your needs. Please note questions may be edited for clarity and space.

Q. What vaccinations do you recommend for horses?

A. The incidence of disease varies from area to area and according to the seasons. Ask your local veterinarian. He or she knows best.

Q. Do you prefer feeding grass hay or alfalfa hay?

A. I recommend both, but grass hay such as timothy, oat, barley, orchard grass Bermuda, etc, comprise 75% of the hay fed.


Ever since a European veterinarian wrote a book condemning horseshoeing, a serious controversy has developed in the horse industry. Rick Lamb and I devoted a chapter to the issue in our 2005 book, The Revolution in Horsemanship Many horse owners have been attracted to the concept. Why?  Because it saves money and they are intrigued by the idea that shoeing “isn’t natural.” The arguments against shoeing are appealing:

  • It isn’t “natural.” True, but neither is domestication.

  • A lot of horses don’t need shoes because they aren’t used that much. True. In fact, I’ll admit that a majority of horses in the U.S. don’t need shoes because they aren’t used enough.

  • There is a lot of poor shoeing done that damages the feet. True, so find a good farrier.

  • A lot of owners, to save money, leave shoes on for weeks too long, thereby causing damage. True, but if you want to save money, give up your horses!

  • The fact is that many horses must be shod. Why?

  • They are used frequently enough so that hoof wear is excessive.

  • They have faulty conformation.

  • They have a problem requiring corrective shoeing to control lameness.

  • They have inherently poor-quality hooves.  Many horses do.  If they were mustangs, they’d die. Mankind has bred horses for speed, color, agility, size, and temperament, but never for good feet. Ever see a mule with weak feet? It’s very rare.

The problem with the “never shoe school” is that some horses suffer irreparable damage. I have met the veterinary faculty in charge of equine services at three universities- one in Europe and two in the United States- who told me of several horses so damaged by the owners’ stubborn refusal to shoe that the horses had to be destroyed. All three professors were explosively angry at the European book. And, I was also told that the author fell into disfavor all over Europe and then targeted North America.  How do you find a competent, honest farrier? Talk to a few competent, honest equine veterinarians and ask them for recommendations for the best farriers in your area. They see the good results and the bad results.

Click here to watch a clip from my Safer Horsemanship DVD to demonstrate how to safely and effectively work with a horse’s front and hind feet for basic maintenance such as cleaning, as well as shoeing.

Click Here To order DVD, and received 15% off as our holiday gift to you. 

Interested in catching one of  Dr. Miller’s lectures? Winter and spring schedule:

  • Dec. 7, Las Vegas, NV: AAEP Conference.

  • Jan. 17, Redding, CA: Clinic with Eitan Beth-Halachmy

  • Mark your calendars!
    Dr. Miller’s Light Hands Horsemanship clinic will be held May 20-23 in Santa Ynez, CA. For details, go to www.lighthandshorsemanship.com.

For information on appearances and other dates and locations in 2010, Click Here

Interested booking Dr. Miller for a lecture, demonstration, or book signing?
Contact info@robertmmiller.com.