View Full Version : Recommended reading for a H/J before a WS at for an eventer?

Beau Cheval
Dec. 29, 2009, 10:13 PM
Title pretty much says it:

What books/materials/videos do you recommend I read/watch before I go to work as a WS for an eventer (my background is almost entirely H/J)? I think I need a dressage and xc for dummies type education and then from there to learn about the intricacies so that at least I'm in a position to learn productively and learn things I would not be able to learn on my own while I'm actually at my job.

I have a friend who does dressage and I am thinking I will ask her for some "lessons" before I go, or maybe take some real dressage lessons. XC is going to have to wait however...no space for xc courses on long island!


Dec. 30, 2009, 12:00 AM
Jimmy Wofford's book called Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider. It's good stuff for any discipline, IMO

Dec. 30, 2009, 12:57 AM
One of my favourite dressage books is "Common Sense Dressage" by Sally O'Conner

And the German Equestrian Federation's "Principles of Riding" covers basics for dressage, showjumping, cross country

Just noticed that Sally O'Conner also wrote a book called "Practical Eventing". I haven't read it, but if its anything like her dressage book, its probably great!

Dec. 30, 2009, 01:05 AM
Know your horsemanship. Eventers are entirely about their horse's welfare and want their working students to do the same. Know all the horses bodies inside and out and pay attention to the details of each one. You will have the time there to the learn the intricacies of dressage and cross country. I'm sure you will be able to relate some of the concepts of dressage to hunter/jumper as it is the basis of almost every discipline.

I do love any book by Jim Wofford as well.

Dec. 30, 2009, 07:25 AM
Title pretty much says it:

I have a friend who does dressage and I am thinking I will ask her for some "lessons" before I go, or maybe take some real dressage lessons. XC is going to have to wait however...no space for xc courses on long island!


Learn the rules. That will be really helpful to you. The rules are quite a bit different that other disciplines. You can go right on the USEA website and download them (I think for free).

Another resource is "Winning in Dressage at the Lower Levels" (don't remember the author). It is really basic but it's all I'll ever need for competing at BN level.
Dressage at the lower levels of eventing is very basic and you are using the concepts right now in your H/J riding. So that's no worry, and you'll pick up the nuances as you go along.

Same with XC...except you need a horse that won't flip out if he's asked to jump some weird looking stuff without benefit of a ring.

I am on Long Island also, and when I wanted to begin Eventing my H/J trainer had no knowledge of it so I went to Good Shepherd Farm in Yaphank (which is also the venue for the only {unrated} Eventing Horse Trials Series on LI). After a few lessons I was prepared to go ride my first Horse Trials (ok, maybe not that well, but did not disgrace myself either) that same summer and became a "believer".

The eventing world on LI is a small but close-knit community, I have found. Very helpful and supportive of one another.

Dec. 30, 2009, 10:25 AM
the suggestions of sally o'connor's books (practical dressage and practical eventing) and jimmy wofford's training the 3-day horse and rider are excellent - Jimmy W's book is to eventing what George Morris's classics like "Hunter Seat Equitation" are to the h/j world :D

I'd also recommend Jimmy Wofford's book on gymnastics - not so much for reading before hand, but for reading as you go along - Eventers love gymnastics, and his book has great explanations of what kind of patterns help with what kind of issues, etc.

In terms of DVDs that might be helpful - there's a DVD put out by the USEA that goes through all the dressage tests, showing someone riding all the tests with commentary by Sally O'Connor. The dressage tests actually change for next year, so the tests on the DVD won't be current, but it's a good place to see what's required in the various levels of eventing dressage.

Jimmy Wofford's Cross-Country Clinic dvd is a good intro as well - shows how to ride some basic XC questions in a schooling setting, then shows upper-level riders riding related questions at the Fair Hill ***.

It also might be good to watch some DVDs from the big events - Rolex, Badminton, etc. - just to get a feel for how the position and pace differ from the h/j world - plus they're fun to watch :D

good luck with this working student gig - I grew up in the H/J world and came over to the dark side to eventing in grad school - and I love it! It was a big transition...but it's tons of fun. I still dabble in the H/J world in our "off season" - all my eventers do jumpers in the off season or to tune up for SJ if we're moving up a level, and one of my eventers is showing in the hunters now too - but I don't forsee going back to the H/J world as my primary discipline anytime soon :yes:

Dec. 30, 2009, 10:38 AM
I second the suggestion about knowing the rules. There are so many ways to get a technical elimination at a horse trial. Know your legal equipment for each phase, etc.

The dressage books are all excellent recommendations. As for cross country, I believe there is only so much you can learn from a book. Learn your speeds. Know what 450 meters feels like to gallop....

I'd get the USPC C-A level manuals of horsemanship and know the material inside and out.

Dec. 30, 2009, 01:16 PM
You've gotten some great suggested reading thus far -- I haven't seen it, but I know that Jimmy Wofford and Doug Payne recently came out with a DVD -- I think it's called _The Rider's Eye_ and is supposed to have helmet cam video cross country --

Dec. 30, 2009, 01:31 PM
In addition to those mentioned above -

There was a good video available from the USEA website about what judges look for in a dressage test - by Sally O'Connor -would be good if you can get your hands on that; also I would rent/purchase any video/dvd of any of the big events such as Rolex, Badminton, Burghley - even though these are at the top level of eventing you can still learn by watching them - I remember watching Burghley w/ H/J trainer one time who could understand WHY THey where "behind the motion" when jumping a bank/water jump- i.e. why weren't they in 2 point...

Lucinda Green had a good one about walking a cross country course.

I would also visit the USEA website and just cruise around and see what kind of information you can find and download - the Rules is an excellent idea!
you might also want to visit the Area website where you will be a working student. Rather than zones eventing has areas. the links should be on the eventing website.

You might also want to learn about checking a horses vital signs; pulse/heart rate etc. if you haven't already

Good luck w/ your WS position- keep us posted on how it goes. You will have a blast I think

Dec. 30, 2009, 02:04 PM
Seriously, the best two books I could recommend to you would be:

The Event Groom's Handbook, and
Grooming for Ginny

Both are probably MUCH more applicable to what you'll be doing on a day to day basis.

Both are very horsemanship-heavy (with an emphasis on eventing's particular brand of horsemanship).

Jimmy Wofford's "Training the 3-day event horse" is also a good one... but really I don't think you're going to be able to learn much riding technique from the books... Hopefully your boss will be teaching you that stuff in the saddle. Not that the theory isn't helpful, it just wouldn't be where I'd start. Start with the grooming books... because they cover all aspects of the type of stuff you'll likely be doing (mucking, cleaning, hacking out, tacking up, etc.).

Dec. 30, 2009, 06:30 PM
grooming to win!