Guest post by Kate Stone.
They say, the more you know the more you realize how little you truly know. This relates to the equine world 100 percent! I believe that every horse person is always learning. For riders, there is only so much we can learn from being in the saddle and for horse owners, there is only so much we can learn from experience. I have stacks of horse-related books all over my house. I’m not in any way a book lover, but I have found that by reading I can learn so much. I recommend reading anything you can get your hands on, whether it is online, in a magazine, or in a book! Reading will help you become the best rider and/or horse owner possible. Here are some of my favorite reads that I recommend to start or add to your collection!
The USPC Guide to Longeing and Ground Training, Susan E. Harris: This book highlights the basic training principles and handling skills as well as equipment and techniques that are involved with longeing both trained and untrained horses. It is very descriptive and easy to understand! Longeing and ground manners are so important and learning the proper way to use equipment and techniques ensures that we are safe and effective.
Good Horse, Bad Habits: Practical Solutions to Problem Behavior in the Barn, Under Saddle, and Out in the World, Heather Smith Thomas: This is one of my all time favorites, even though it is fairly new to my collection. It covers over 130 bad habits that horses do. I bought this as my horse’s “first college textbook” so he can be the most well behaved horse at university. Most horse owners do not realize all of the bad habits our horses have, but after reading through this book, you will realize every horse (yes, even yours) has things to work on! This book features habits on the ground, in the stable, under saddle, and on the road, and it recommends more than one solution. Definitely a must buy!
Practical Horseman: Though not a book, Practical Horseman is a magazine subscription that is well worth the money! The magazine is mailed out monthly and covers articles on things happening in the equestrian world. It is mostly directed toward English riders (jumpers, hunters, cross country, and dressage) and has wonderful exercises to do such as grid work/gymnastics! It also features an occasional horse health article. I think I have over 50 practical horseman magazines stacked in my room because I never know when I might need that one exercise from May 2013 on bending lines! (LOL) If you would like a digital subscription, click here. It is available on most tablets like the iPad, Kindle, and Google Play.
101 Jumping Exercises for Horse & Rider, Linda L. Allen: I do not own this book but do borrow my trainer’s copy. It is one I will be purchasing when I go to college and have to move barns and switch trainers! This book features different exercises for any level from ground poles to oxers. The book shows the exercise and explains how the exercise helps improve your riding and your horse’s jumping ability. This book has come in handy with getting my horse back in the hunter ring and strengthening his muscles to jump.
Hunter Seat Equitation, George Morris (Editor’s Note: Also known as The Bible [for horse people]): This is probably one of the most well-known books on English riding and most equestrians have read parts of it or the whole thing cover to cover… multiple times. I love to have this near by when I am working on perfecting my position. It is a great reference when it comes to classic riding techniques. I think this was one of the very first books I bought. It really helped me when I was a beginner, as well as it does have pictures.
Dr. Kellon’s Guide to First Aid for Horses, Eleanor Kellon, VMD: I have mentioned this book in a previous post. I keep this book in my locker at the barn for if there is an emergency, and I did not know exactly how to handle it or what steps to take to improve the situation. It is a wonderful book to reference for any first aid issue your horse may encounter – even potentially serious ones. The book covers the definition of the problem, possible causes, symptoms, and treatment. It is a must have for every horse owner! It’s also smaller, so it makes it easier to store somewhere at the barn, and you don’t have to worry about lugging it around and flipping through it while trying to diagnose and treat your horse (while waiting for the vet or another experienced professional to arrive, of course!)