Five Favourite Books

Now and then I’ll use this blog to highlight books, DVDs or products I’ve become particularly attached to. Here’s the first of them.

These are five books I refer to regularly for either new exercises and ideas for my own teaching or to solve a problem I’m having with my riding or handling. They’re all well written and easy to follow. Some I’ve referred to since I was a teenager and they’re still as valid then as they are now.

The good news for those of you in Australia is that Horse Books have both free postage in Australia AND fantastic discounts for those who join their membership program, which is free! My most recent purchase arrived in two days. They’ve a great range and all these books are available from them.

101 Schooling Exercises for Horse & Rider – Compiled by Jaki Bell with Andrew Day

I love this book! It means that when I want to introduce new excises to my teaching I open to any page and gain inspiration! Each exercises contains a diagram, notes on how to ride it, why we ride it, what should happen, what can go wrong and what to do if it’s not working. Exercises are included from Pippa Funnell, Sylvia Loch, Jennie Loriston-Clarke, Mary King, Richard Davison and more! Exercises included are for all levels and can often be increased or decreased in difficulty. A really clear and well thought out book. There are also other books in the series for dressage and jumping.

Centered Riding – Sally Swift

I really believe Sally Swift was the person who helped many of us realize just how important where and how we sat on a horse was. Her unique visualization techniques have assisted so many to actually use ourselves to go with the horse instead of simply position ourselves in the ‘right’ way which may in fact work against the horses energy. This book is remarkably easy to read and Sally’s words will ring in your ears the next time you ride – I promise! Centered Riding was first published in 1985, it’s just as relevant today as it was then.

Centered Riding 2 and DVDs for both volumes are also available.

Horse Control……… -Tom Roberts

The horse world is often touting a ‘new’ way of achieve the same ends we’ve all been striving for since we started riding. Of course we all want to learn and hear new techniques or thoughts but so much of what I see being presented as ‘new’ is simply common sense horsemanship tied up in pretty marketing ribbon. The philosophies of the incredible gentleman, Mr Tom Roberts are some of the best horsemanship presented for people of all levels I’ve seen. Known by many simply as ‘the yellow books’ Mr Roberts’ series of books, Horse Control – The Young Horse, Horse Control – The Bit and Horse Control – The Rider are straightforward and intelligent guides. I remember pouring over the title I had, Horse Control – The Bit as a teenager. I knew all the bits in there although admit some of the writers nuances were lost on me then! These books are my invaluable to anyone wanting to train and be on the horses side. There’s an additional title Horse Control – Reminiscences which is more autobiographical in style but still gives wonderful insights into how Mr Roberts was able to get the best out of all horses who crossed his path.

Jane Savoie’s Dressage 101 – Jane Savoie

OK, small confession……I’ve not read this book yet. BUT I’m a very big fan of Jane’s and have other books of hers and regularly read her websites and view her youtube videos. Jane Savoie is the pin up coach for the adult amateur rider who may have returned to riding as an adult or taken up a childhood dream. Her work with nervous riders has seen her amass a huge following. Jane’s work is always clear, incredibly well thought out and explained and something you can walk away and apply on your next ride. I can’t wait to get hold of this book. I’ve used so much of her previous publications and am sure she won’t disappoint!

Klaus Balkenhol – The Man and His Training Methods – Britta Schoffmann

I remember watching Klaus Balkenhol and Goldstern competing when I was a in the late eighties, early nineties. It’s as a coach that Mr Balkenhol has arguably had more success, although two team Golds and an individual Bronze at Olympic level is fairly successful by anyones measure! This book shows Klaus’ training program from foal to Grand Prix horse as well his personal philosophies on riding and training. Fabulously photographed it’s a great insight into his techniques. It includes useful sections on selecting a dressage horse, working in hand and a great section on coaching and how to coach well. It’s probably not a book to use alone for taking your horse on the foal to Grand Prix journey but it’s certainly a very valuable supplement to use in conjunction with other texts as well as being a great biographical read.

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