INSPIRING HORSEY BOOKS

Who’s got time for books these days, especially busy horse people?!…I have.

There are many classic books to guide and inspire the enquiring rider. I like to drift my eyes over the shelves of horsey books in my office to see if something catch’s my attention. Equally I like to revisit books that I’ve read so many times the words are all very familiar. The great thing is that over the years as your knowledge and experience expand the books you read previously take on new meaning when re-visited. Picking up The complete training of the horse and rider by Alois Podhajsky is a completely different experience now to what it was when I read it 20 years or so ago; much of what went over my head or under the radar now has meaning…

Being skilful with horses is largely about that nebulous thing called ‘feel,’ so knowing facts and technicalities such as you get from equestrian books isn’t by any means the whole picture, but the more familiar we are with the knowledge of what makes things work and how to do this or that movement the easier it is to ride without thinking too much and therefore with more feel. I sometimes meet - and admire - horse people with tons of feel but not so much depth of technical knowledge… whilst they get great connections ad results with their horses they are holding themselves back from full potential because some of the pieces of the jigsaw are missing, and those pieces are the technical bits you can get from a great book… its also great to REALLY look at the pictures in equestrian books because you have chance to see riders and riding and horses that you don’t see every day down at the yard or even at a competition. Checking out the precise position of the rider’s legs or hands or the exact shape of the horse in a perfect carriage or, quite often, not in a perfect shape all helps to build a clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t…

T&he other great thing about finding knowledge from the masters in book form is that you don't have to go through the slog of finding out every darned thing for yourself, you can read about it from someone else who found out and pick it up and use it in your riding… So here I am on the sofa in my office with a decent coffee and four or five equestrian books I just pulled off the shelf to browse through their familiar pages once again - inspiration and ‘AHA’ moments here I come… nice.


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