This has a lot of good stuff in it. It doesn't include particular exercises to work with your horse, but it has an overview of something much more funThis has a lot of good stuff in it. It doesn't include particular exercises to work with your horse, but it has an overview of something much more fundamental and important. I think many people who ride horses do so without having any idea how a horse's mind works. Trainers like Monty Roberts and Clinton Anderson have a deep understanding of that, and they are both very effective in their own ways at communicating and teaching it to people.
Anderson has created a really systematized approach to training that sometimes I appreciate and sometimes I find a little constrictive. But one thing I do love about him is the snappy little phrases he comes up with. The best one in this entire book is (regarding how to handle it when your horse spooks using the reactive side of his brain):
"Squeezing the horse with your legs is equivalent to saying, 'Hey, would you mind killing me quicker because I don't want to cook dinner tonight.'"...more
This was a good jumping-off point for ideas, but I don't feel that I learned a great deal from it that I didn't already know. I had hoped that the "inThis was a good jumping-off point for ideas, but I don't feel that I learned a great deal from it that I didn't already know. I had hoped that the "in the saddle" asanas would be the focus of the book and I think that there is so much more that could be done in that realm. ...more
This turned out to be far too dry to keep me interested, and wasn't really focused on what I'm trying to learn about. However, it did give me some ideThis turned out to be far too dry to keep me interested, and wasn't really focused on what I'm trying to learn about. However, it did give me some ideas about fixing a saddle fit issue with my horse....more
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 pThis 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).
I saw this book on a Goodreads newsletter and I decided to read it because the cover is a picture that I've carried around with me for years. I was stI saw this book on a Goodreads newsletter and I decided to read it because the cover is a picture that I've carried around with me for years. I was startled when I saw it, since it's the picture I've had as my computer background for a long, long time. I wrote about it in my blog about horses (https://urbanequestrianblog.com/2016/...).
As for the book itself, it wasn't what I expected. I had thought it would be a bit frilly and overly sentimental, but it was not that. It was a sweet, sad, simple story that resonated with me a great deal. Martha is a reflection of my quiet, interior self, who despite my seemingly outgoing nature, is always more comfortable in the company of animals than humans. The book also centers on our dreams and our ideal selves, what we hope to be and how we actually turn out. ...more
I've had this listed as "reading" for a long time now, but truthfully I've read through the entire thing. I just keep going back to it for ideas on neI've had this listed as "reading" for a long time now, but truthfully I've read through the entire thing. I just keep going back to it for ideas on new training exercises, or for help with fixing problems and sharpening up skills.
This is a great resource that spans levels of training from green to finished. As a rider that's new to reining on a horse that's finished (but who has had a lot of time away from being asked to work and therefore needs sharpening up), I've found this book extremely helpful in understanding the fundamentals of reining and learning how to build on those fundamentals to refine my skills in each area of the discipline.
I've pretty much always been obsessed with Secretariat, so when I found this book at the library sale, I was excited to read about his life in detail.I've pretty much always been obsessed with Secretariat, so when I found this book at the library sale, I was excited to read about his life in detail. Written by a man who followed the colt through his daily routine for the forty days during the lead-up to and subsequent record-breaking winning of the Triple Crown in 1973, this book goes into great detail about Big Red's life.
It chronicles the histories of the families behind the farms that raised his ancestors and the bloodlines that came together to create the greatest racehorse of all time. It reveals insight into his training regimen and the thoughts of his trainer, Lucien Laurin, and jockey, Ron Turcotte as they prepared him for each race. The play-by-play of the races from the perspective of his jockey, particularly the Triple Crown races, was fascinating. It's unreal to me that one can even have coherent thoughts, let alone strategical ones, while on the back of a horse running in a pack of other horses at 35 mph.
Although I did not always enjoy the author's way of speaking about things, I was very interested by the perspective of this book. The idea that horsesAlthough I did not always enjoy the author's way of speaking about things, I was very interested by the perspective of this book. The idea that horses and humans have a common evolutionary history that is a large part of the reason for our bond seems like a commonsense notion that could be taken for granted, but I've never before heard someone make a scientific case for it. This gives me a lot to think about in my interactions with the horse I ride, where I have already been striving to engage in conversation with him about what I'm learning as a rider. ...more
This was a fun and interesting look at the history of horse racing as well as an eye-opening account of how much influence one horse had over the entiThis was a fun and interesting look at the history of horse racing as well as an eye-opening account of how much influence one horse had over the entire breed and sport. ...more