Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Storey's Guide to Training Horses

Rate this book
Safely and successfully train your own horse. Guiding you through all aspects of the training process, Heather Smith Thomas offers expert tips on everything from ground work to galloping. Stressing the importance of understanding equine behavior, Storey’s Guide to Training Horses provides a series of progressive exercises that can easily be adjusted to suit your horse’s personality. Whether you’re raising an animal for farm work, competition, or show, you’ll learn everything you need to develop a well-trained and happy horse. 

512 pages, Paperback

First published March 28, 2003

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Heather Smith Thomas

28 books7 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
23 (33%)
4 stars
26 (37%)
3 stars
18 (26%)
2 stars
1 (1%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for LynnG.
111 reviews
April 14, 2020
This book focuses on training a horse from birth, with only a small section on retraining problem horses, and nothing on "tune ups" for trained horses who need some reminder lessons... Since it is more unusual to be able to train a horse from infancy, more focus on adult horses would be good.
Profile Image for Jess.
415 reviews30 followers
March 13, 2017
This is a concise, yet comprehensive text on the fundamentals of all aspects of training a horse, from imprinting a newborn foal to fixing potential problem behaviors in an older animal.

Clearly articulated and well illustrated, my only difficulty with this book was that it was slightly repetitive; often the "sidebar" boxes interspersed throughout the text were disruptive to the flow of ideas and didn't usually offer anything different from what was being said in the main body.

However, it also provided explanations of some of the basics that seem to have become glossed over in my horsemanship education. Having spent my whole childhood and teen years taking riding lessons but never owning a horse, and now doing much of my current training with my leased horse on my own (with a weekly lesson to give me some structure), I've missed out on being specifically taught skills like longeing and other areas of groundwork. This book does a great job of explaining those concepts and connecting them with related skills used while riding the horse, and has been able to fill in some of the significant gaps in my knowledge.

But perhaps the most valuable part of this book for me was, oddly, an articulation of the concept of dressage. Growing up as an English rider who did hunt seat equitation, in my mind dressage existed in an entirely different (and, if I'm being honest, boring) world from what I was doing. It was just the part of the Olympics that I wanted them to stop covering and move on to the exciting jump stuff.

As I began my foray in to Western riding and reining about a year ago, I did somewhat grasp the similarities of reining and dressage. But I had no idea the new depths of training and understanding that I would begin to develop through learning from Dunnie and my wonderful trainer. I'd always been taught to ride in a style of figuring out how to get whichever school horse I was on to participate in what I was trying to do with at least a basic level of functioning, and then practice that until I could look pretty doing it. But the description in this book of dressage (of all things!) neatly sums up the approach that I've finally come to know about and take in working with horses:

"The concept of dressage means different things to different people: it can encompass basic training, harmony between horse and rider, perfection of the gaits, development of a horse's physical and mental ability, and horse ballet. The term is often misunderstood to mean a type of riding that can be performed only in a certain way and one that is just for English riders.

The term comes from the French word dresser, 'to train,' and dressage is the kind of training that goes beyond simply breaking a horse and making him willing to carry a person on his back. Dressage is the art of improving a horse beyond this stage, making him more agile, willing, easier to control, more pleasant to ride, more graceful, and better balanced. It involves a type of consistent horsemanship that is necessary for developing perfect obedience and perfect lightness and agility.

Dressage teaches a horse to understand your aides more fully and to become more responsive. Dressage is therefore beneficial for any horse — it will help him become well rounded in his education and less apt to become spoiled or one-sided. A little dressage makes for a better-trained horse. A broader experience of dressage not only trains a horse but also develops him physically and mentally so he is truly 'one' with his rider, able to understand whatever the rider asks of him and physically competent to perform it. "

Funny enough, as I've come to recognize this approach and see the potential it has for creating an incredible working relationship between horse and rider, I've always attributed it to the Western sensibility. To working horses that need to have these skills to get the job done, rather than pampered, gleaming show horses prancing around the ring to no discernible end. Thanks to this book, I now have more of an appreciation for the worth of a discipline that I had previously dismissed (although I'm still not sure I'll be in a rush to go out and watch it).

This review also published on my blog about horses: https://urbanequestrianblog.com.
Profile Image for Elwin Kline.
965 reviews6 followers
December 4, 2020
A very solid and comprehensive book about, you guessed it: Horse Training.

I have been wanting to read this for months and finally committed to it. As a species prior to the invention of trains, planes, and automobiles we have been incredibly dependent upon horses. Today, horses are more of a luxury item for most. A hobby type project for the wealthy to go do competitions showing how good their horses can trot around or run through an obstacle course. Alternatively, horseback hunting sounds amazing and spending some cash on riding a horse once in a blue moon on a date with your significant other sounds fun too... but as you can see again, their role in the age of modernity has succumbed to these type of leisure activities for the most part. Of course I am sure there are farmers out there that have their uses in smaller countries and different economic states, just to be fair.

However, it was nice to reflect and consider actually depending upon a horse for long distance travel. There are tons of TV Shows (Walking Dead is a good example) where someone just hops on a horse and off they go! The horse is 100% obedient, listens, and the rider seems to just automatically know exactly what to do. Of course, being wise enough this is far from the truth. Horses are huge time sinks and require a considerable investment of ones free time to really make significant progress and work towards the mastery of horsemanship.

With all that said, this is a great book for that. I wanted to originally give this a 3/5, based on the fact that I am not a horse person and do not have an animal to train with and go through the lessons and concepts found within this book... however, this is again very solid and from my perspective pretty much covers everything. I feel it deserves at least a 4/5, at least from my non-horsemanship perspective and just taking what is written as legitimate.

Want to learn/read about training horses? Then I think this is an excellent starting point. I would like to highlight though, that of course nothing replaces being out there and doing the real thing. You can read all day about stuff like this, but until you are face to face with the 2,000+ lbs. animal... it is not quite the same.
Profile Image for Kendra.
1,525 reviews
May 4, 2010
Fairly comprehensive book covering starting a foal, ground work, driving and riding, and the adult horse, training and retraining if needed. Gives several ways of doing it, so the individual can use what will work best with the horse, rather then a one size fits all. Definitely a good reference.
2 reviews
April 12, 2012
very good for problem solving and basic starting points. Good things to know like how to hold a horse, walk a horse, things you need BEFORE you get on a horse.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.