Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2024

Bookshelf – 02/15/08

RIDE THE RIGHT HORSE.
Yvonne Barteau.
Storey Publishing, 210 MASS MoCa Way, North Adams, MA 01247. 297 pp. 2007. Photos and illustrations. $24.95

Do you like to analyze yourself? Your friends? How about your horse? This book is for anyone who’s ever spent time thinking about horse personality, and how it affects training.
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RIDE THE RIGHT HORSE.
Yvonne Barteau.
Storey Publishing, 210 MASS MoCa Way, North Adams, MA 01247. 297 pp. 2007. Photos and illustrations. $24.95

Do you like to analyze yourself? Your friends? How about your horse? This book is for anyone who’s ever spent time thinking about horse personality, and how it affects training.

Yvonne Barteau, a Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer from Gilberts, Ill., has made a lifetime study of the intricacies of what makes a horse tick. Her varied background includes just about everything equestrian from race horses to western to dressage, which is her passion today.

From her observations, she’s divided the horse world into four basic personality types: Social, Fearful, Aloof and Challenging. She explains that horses fall along a spectrum in each personality type, and they can also combine aspects from two different personality types.

Much of the book focuses on teaching readers how to identify a horse, not only by riding it, but also by observing it in the pasture and in the stable.

She also describes different training techniques for the varied personality types from handling the horse at birth to riding him. While it’s not surprising to learn that a fearful horse won’t benefit from the same training techniques as a challenging one, it’s a good reminder that all equines are individuals and must be treated as such.

Barteau does include a few chapters on human personality. She finishes with some advice about finding the right horse for your personality type and describes the personality types of some notable equestrians.

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This book is rich in anecdotes detailing the myriad horses that Barteau has known and worked with.
I would have enjoyed more information about how to work with the different personality types. A lot of the training information focused on foal handling or the breaking process.

The connections beyond horse personality, human personality and trainer personality were also fascinating and probably merit a separate book. While it’s common sense that not every horse or coach will work for every rider, wouldn’t it be great to understand better why that is and how to look for a personality type that will match your own?

Sara Lieser



WHAT NOT TO WEAR ON A HORSE.
Ginny Oakley and Stephanie Soskin.
Kenilworth Press. Distributed by Half Halt Press, Boonsboro, MD 21713. 128 pp. Photos. $39.95.

Authors Ginny Oakley and Stephanie Soskin bring a cheeky approach when tackling “Do these breeches make my bum look big?” and other humorous attire questions in their explanatory What Not To Wear On A Horse. Topics range from the straightforward shirts and jackets to the much forgotten underwear, make-up and jewelry, all delivered with useful photographic examples.

“Several books have been written on the subject of correct dress for riders. Mostly they offer guidance on outfits for specific disciplines [showing, hunting, dressage, etc.], but they don’t explain how to wear the clothing, nor how to choose what’s right for you, nor, most importantly, advise on what not to wear,” the authors explain in their introduction.

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Their goal is to “spare you the agonies of choosing unsuitable apparel and the embarrassment of being ‘nearly-but-not-quite.’ ” Understanding riding apparel from a body-conscious point of view makes this book informative and appealing to anyone.

The quips in the undergarments chapter are humorous but necessary. The dreaded “visible panty line” is a problem that plagues many; Oakley and Soskin provide descriptive and much-needed photographs to answer questions that sometimes may be too embarrassing to ask your trainer.

Even for the seasoned professional, this guide may bring a refreshing look to today’s trends in an equine discipline. An entire chapter is dedicated to color coordinating with your horse—Appaloosas, piebalds, and skewbalds included.

Although this book was published in England where there are some differences in competition attire, almost all of their advice crosses the pond quite usefully.

This is an enjoyable book, even if you pick it up for the laughs that come from photographs regarding “lap dancer” makeup or the tidbits about men in breeches that are too tight.   

Beth Johnson

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