Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Horse's Book Report

I'm a book addict. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love reading, love books and at times, refuse to put them down. I also learn best through reading. Show me how to do something, I'll forget. Explain how to do something, I won't understand. But let me read it, and then practice what it is, and I'll figure it out.

So I've been hunting for and reading a lot of horse-books lately, hoping to help enhance my learning. While W's training is awesome, sometimes I just don't have the time to understand or envision what it is I'm doing. Even if she tells me I'm doing it right!

I've chosen 6 books to purchase with my Chapter's gift card, which is in the mail. Hopefully just another couple weeks until my choices arrive.

The #1 pick was unfortunately out of stock. : ( That would be Claire Lilley's "Scales of Training Workbook". This book seems like an awesome foundation to developing and building your own goals and exercises, as you can clearly see what skills must stack upon the next. Too bad it's out of stock.

The remainder of the books I've chosen are a variety of books in Dressage and Jumping, as well as touching on general fitness. "Dressage School" by Britta Schoffman seems like an awesome "Dictionary" for dressage, explaining the aids and movements for each dressage move. The downfall of this book is that it seems to lack solutions to common problems encountered when schooling these moves, but hopefully it's accompanying books can assist with that.

"Mind, Body, and Spirit" by Betsy Steiner caught my attention, because it's not purely a physical riding book. It's explaining how to mentally and psychologically ride your horse. Mentally preparing, visualizing, etc. I LOVED reading a book from our library called the "Ride with your mind clinic" by Mary Wanless, and suspect that this book may take the mental portions I loved of that book and apply them to a more practical riding portions. 

"Equine Fitness" by Jec Ballou has a little comes with a set of pull-out cards which include exercises to work on, as quick reference guides. I love the idea and after browsing the table of contents, think that this book will offer us tons of creative and useful exercises to enhance our riding. I'm game for that. 

"Jump with Joy" by Sarah Blanchard is not one of my 'normal' readings, since it's a jumping book. But I LOVE how this book starts at the very basics, even how to train a horse to jump. Whether Moon and I ever actually get any good at it (by good, I mean stay on at 2' : P), I think this book will help me meander towards that goal. And if not, an excellent reference if I ever get my hands on a horse that jumps in the future.

Jane Savoie's "Dressage 101" is actually a book I've read twice already. And LOVE. The library carries it, but it's one of those books that I just want to have on hand, whenever I need it. It combines two books I was looking for previously: "Cross Training" and "More Cross Training". This book explains things in a way I understand, and really helps clarify issues encountered. Love it. 

My last choice is the "101 Dressage Exercises" by Jec Aristotle Ballou. This is the same person who wrote the "Equine Fitness" book that I want, and after reading "101 Jumping Exercises" (from the library) and "101 Arena Exercise" (which I own), I think these books are AWESOME lesson plans. Sure help keep you out of the rut!

 Although I'm not buying them, I have access to a couple of books from my local library. I have "Dressage 101" on-hand again, along with the "101 Jumping Exercises". Which I think is great because it has flatwork AND trot jumps. Which I about all we can master right now.

"Dressage Formula" by Erik Herbermann is a good read, but for me, lacks illustrations. He's very methodical in his approach, but I'm not sure all of his solutions would work for me. I feel like I'd get very stuck in his plan and just flail around not knowing how to continue. But still a well written book.

Richard Maxwell's "Unlock your horse's talent" is a book I wouldn't purchase. He has some good pointers, but overall, it's a little too Parelli-John-Lyons for me, where I'm somehow going to be able to lunge my horse into talent. I can't. He won't. And the exercises didn't even seem fun nor progressive. Next.

"Gymnastics" by James Wilfred is an awesome little book with really quick visuals to setting up gymnastic layouts in your arena. Love the progression, the explanations, the whole thing. Only problem? Cantering by the third exercise. Nice to dream about, but we won't be working through this book anytime soon.

"Enlightened Equitation" by Heather Moffett is another book I've taken out for a second time, but honestly, the book is a bit repetitive on the other's I've read, but doesn't seem to offer me anything new that I'm looking for. Perhaps it just doesn't explain it in a way I understand. Either way, it'll be the last read in my current list.

Anne Kursinski's "Riding and Jumping Clinic" is an old version of the book I took out over Christmas. Nice little read, great for someone seriously into jumping, but not for me. Too advanced, too indepth and not what I'm ready for. But I'd recommend it as a read for my H/J friends out there. 

I'll re-post on my thoughts about my Chapter's order once it arrives. Hopefully it was a good selection of books that will enhance our riding. If not, hey, a good book is never a waste!


  1. This is awesome! I will definitely be checking some of these out myself.

  2. I have the Equine Fitness book and it is FANTASTIC! I use a lot of the exercises every time I ride Lilly. Love, love, love that book! I also have the Dressage Exercises book, which I don't use as much, but I felt some of the exercises were a bit much for us right now. I'm looking forward to your reviews... maybe I can add some of them to my library as well!

  3. I can't wait to hear about these books. I have checked the Mary Wanless one out a few times and own another of her books. She's VERY detailed so I can only read her in small portions but I go back to it over and over. I'm also a TOTAL book whore and have gone through SO many horse books from the library. Now that we have forward AND she's not as spooky I need to start coming up with some exercises for us so I'll be hitting the books again!