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Good books to read to improve riding?

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  • Good books to read to improve riding?

    So, now that it's getting really cold, I only ride 2x a week (if that ) and it's mostly hacking and back to the basics. I find myself doing a lot of spiralling in/out, turn on shoulder/haunches, leg yielding, halts, free walk to working walk transitions, etc. You get the picture, a lot of walking, haha. I also take both mares out for walk/trot hacks and pony the extra mare, but that's just for exercise and change of scenery.

    I like to read and was wondering what are some good books to read? I just ordered a really cheap/used copy of Anthony Crossley's book Training the young horse: The first two years. It had good ratings and it interested me. I like when things progress from easy to advanced (like 101 Jumping Exercises for horse & rider) and find them very helpful. I keep books like those around to keep goals in mind and give me things to work on. Is 101 dressage exercises worth buying?

    I got a gift card for Borders and I really wanted Jimmy Woffords gymnastics book, but they don't carry it. Has anyone read Dressage formula by Erik Herbermann, it had pretty good ratings.

    Not looking for anything too advanced, anything to help the basics and lower level eventing! Would kind of prefer a dressage book, but doesn't matter as long as I learn something! So if you've had any really good books that you refer to often, let me know! Thanks!
    - paintmare

    Horse Eden Eventing - A Virtual Eventing Escape

  • #2
    I have two dressage books that aren't too advanced, but they are both older. I don't know if you'll be able to still find them. They're both quite good though.

    Dressage With Kyra by Kyra Kirkland, 1998

    Common Sense Dressage by Sally O'Connor, 1990
    "We don't ride the clock. We ride the horse." Reiner Klimke.


    • #3
      At the risk of boring the regulars: I just posted this this week on another thread. Just my list!
      USCTA Book of Eventing. Find a copy somewhere, it's out of print but the best there is.
      Sally O'Connor's book of dressage and book of eventing both.
      Col. Podjasky's "My Horses, My Teachers"
      Andrew Nicholson's XC book
      Lucinda Green's Cross country book (Written in her maiden name, Lucinda Prior-Palmer)
      Pippa Funnell's Young Event Horse book
      Bruce Davidson, World Champion
      Blyth Tait's eventing book
      Ginny Leng's eventing book
      Capt. Mark Phillips book of eventing
      Jim Woffords book Training the Event horse and rider
      Riding for America, great book about the team
      And an aside, ready anything Jim Wofford writes. He writes a monthly column for Practical Horseman, and if you go to Equisearch, click on Practical Horseman magazine, go to eventing section -- there is a ton of back articles there. Read everything Woff has written. REQUIRED!

      If you go to Walmart.com, check on the books section, and google any name or other name or book -- I have found most of mine there and ordered them from Walmart at great prices and had them shipped to my local store at no cost for shipping. I found Andrew Nicholson's book for $4 on sale at a local discount store!

      PS I don't read dressage books. They are boring, confusing, and usually poorly written. I have about 10 of them and they are all dusty...none are as good as the dressage sections of my eventing books, with the exception of Sally O'Connors. I personally have learned a lot more from eventing books and jumping books than dressage books!
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


      • #4
        I'm glad someone else said it. I find dressage books hopelessly tedious and pedantic. Can't for the life of me convert what's written in them into actual riding.

        I love to read, but prefer veterinary and horse care topics when it comes to horse books. I don't seem to be capable of translating my IQ and reading skills into performance "in the saddle" at all!
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Sally Swift, Mary Wanless, Jane Savoie

          Mary Wanless and Sally Swift are both great authors. They both tend to concentrate on the rider's position and how it contributes to rider effectiveness and the horse's ability to perform.

          I recently re-read my Sally Swift book right before a dressage schooling show. As an experiment, I tried to keep her four basic principles in my mind and actually use them during my test. Imagine that!
          We had one of our best tests ever! It was a challenge to keep soft eyes, the building blocks (keeping shoulders, hips and ankles lined up), breathing correctly, and centering (kind of a martial arts chi thing) and remember my test, but it actually worked.
          The books are not boring dressage texts, they are full of great analogies and visuals that you can implement directly no matter what level you ride.
          Jane Savoie is great too, she takes a lot of the "mystery" out of dressage by breaking things down into tangible steps. I just finished writing a blog article about the Happy Horse Training Guide. It should be linked down below.
          With these horses, you gotta enjoy the journey!


          • #6
            Cannot re-emphasize enough how amazing both Centered Riding books are - really worth it and help both dressage & jumping.


            • #7
              I'll re-second Retread re: Wofford. He rocks!

              Jane Savoie is great for your mind, and I LOVE William Micklem's blog, too--I'm sure he has books, but I haven't got to them...yet.

              RE: dressage books being boring: Perhaps, but it's also a mindset.

              Here's one that's short but INCREDIBLY effective, imho:

              Zen and Horseback Riding

              I LOVE this book!
              --Becky in TX
              Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
              She who throws dirt is losing ground.


              • #8
                Riding Logic by Museler

                For how to on dressage tests;
                The Competitive Edge I & II by Max Gahwyler
                How to Ride a Winning Dressage Test by Jonathon Burton & someone else.

                I've got others, but many of those have been mentioned already.


                • #9
                  I find the The Complete Book of Riding (I believe that is the name. If not, its something very similar) by William Micklem to be the number one book I refer back to every time. It is progressive as it starts out with beginner riding (which I find rereading this section every once in a while is good for getting back to the basics) to more advanced riding, to a small section about training young horses, then moves on to a dressage training section that progresses from serpentines to flyinig changes and pirouettes, etc. Then there is a cross country section and a show jumping section that have many helpful exercises and very clear diagrams. It is by far my favorite horse book.

                  I too have been thinking about buying 101 Dressage Exercises. I have the Jumping one and love that too for when I run out of ideas for setting fences up.

                  I also second the USCTA Book of Eventing, I got mine for $5 I believe at a local tack shop.

                  I also have a book called "The Beginning Dressage Book" which is helpful and clear and talks about progressing from lunging to riding and more but it can be quite a bit boring at times. (Written by Kathryn Denby-Wrightson and Joan Fry)

                  These are all of the books I refer to constantly, and hopefully they will be helpful to you!


                  • #10
                    Riding Logic by Museler is great

                    Anne Kursinski's Riding and Jumping clinic (there is a lot of good flatwork in there)

                    The Event Horse by Sheila Wilcox (old but still good)

                    Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider by Jimmy Wofford

                    Basic Training of the Young Horse by Reiner Klimke (there is an update with Ingrid Klimke too) - this one is written simply and has helpful diagrams and pictures of the aids and movements

                    Cavaletti by Reiner & Ingrid Klimke - lots of good exercises, but there are pictures of "wrong" as well as "right" which I find useful

                    USCTA Book of Eventing (circa 1982) - still refer to this regularly

                    Celebrity Jumping Exercises (Carol Orme) - especially Pat Burgess' contribution - her flat-to-jumping exercises have made a HUGE difference to many of my horses

                    That Winning Feeling - Jane Savoie - not only some tips on how to ride, but mostly a sports psychology book on how to improve your riding and your approach to riding

                    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                    • #11
                      It IS kind of dry, but d'Endrody's "Give Your Horse a Chance" is very good for working on our riding, though the competition stuff is way out of date. The focus is eventing, but there is plenty of dressage.

                      "Effective Horsmanship" by Noel Jackson is an easier read, with lots of diagrams and pictures. It is more dressage oriented,but also has sections on jumping and eventing.

                      Both are older (late 60s), but they are both listed on Amazon, and GYHaC was reprinted in 99.

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by paintmare View Post
                        I just ordered a really cheap/used copy of Anthony Crossley's book Training the young horse: The first two years.
                        I've had that book for ages and really like it. I don't pay much attention to the length of time he sets, but I think the order that he does things as well as what things are being taught in the same time frame are excellent. He has some very nice charts/tables that set it up.

                        "Riding Logic" is another of my very favorites and I find myself re-reading over and over. All of Jimmy's books go without saying. Bert deNemethy's "Classic Show Jumping: The deNemethy Method" is also outstanding." It is out of print and quite expensive but worth the price. He has some excellent gymnastics--as he was Wofford's inspiration on the subject this makes perfect sense.


                        • #13
                          This book really helped my riding:

                          It's not theory though- but strength exercises you can do at the gym or home.


                          • #14
                            Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris is my bible, even as I'm transitioning to the dark side. The basics are covered with an emphasis on correct, safe riding and the welfare of the horse. I think any discipline can get behind that message.

                            (and if you make it to the end of the book, you'll have the pleasure of reading George's favorite off-horse exercise for the rider - any guesses? )
                            The big guy: Lincoln

                            Southern Maryland Equestrian


                            • #15
                              Cavaletti -by Peter Lichtner-Hoyer
                              hasn't been mentioned yet.


                              • #16
                                Noel Jackson's book is an incredible book!
                                I would love to have the Micklem book in my collection.
                                101 Dressage exercises is not worth it in my opinion. Over half of the book is so simplistic as to be worthless. Reiner Klimke's cavaletti book is my favorite.
                                I don't know about the Wanless - Savoie - Muesler books....they crept into my "need a sleeping pill" pile....anyone who needs an hour to explain a half-halt....well...
                                I like to read about jumping horses, training them to jump, what they need, what they like, that sort of thing. I like to read theory a bit, too, this is why I like Woff's stuff. He always explains the "why" behind the theory and does so in very clean terms that are understandable.
                                Blugal I get what you are saying - it's hard to translate when you are on horseback...because we want to be perfect. Someone needs to write an "imperfect rider" book! And as far as stable management and horse care, I have a tiny little book called I think the groom's handbook -- written in the 40's or 50's by a leading racehorse trainer and it's fabulous. So neat to read about how grooms mucked into a burlap sack, called a skip, and didn't need wheelbarrows which were considered dangerous on the shed row! All kinds of neat stuff like that, including really detailed directions on rubbing legs and bandaging.
                                Oh, and Denny's newest book needs to be in my "wide awake" reading pile, too!
                                Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                                • #17
                                  PaintMare- Borders can order books for you if they don't have it. If you sign up for their free club, they send you loads of coupons. I'm getting coupons for 33% off, sometimes they do 50% off.
                                  Don't have any books to add that haven't been mentioned already!

                                  I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                                  R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thank you for all the suggestions! I ended up ordering:
                                    Riding Logic - Müseler, Wilhelm
                                    Celebrity Jumping Exercises -Orme, Caroline
                                    Fitness for Horse & Rider - Jane Holderness-Roddam
                                    Dressage Formula - Herbermann, Erik

                                    Some of the ones I really wanted (Wofford, Micklem, etc) I couldn't afford! lol. Maybe soon, but I got all those books used for under $25 so I'm happy. Even used, Jimmy's 3 day training book is over $75, lol. I'm sure it's worth it, but I just had the gift card to use. So the ones I ordered should keep me busy and hopefully improve my flat work and more exercises to work on. I couldn't just get dressage books, so I got the celebrity jumping exercises to add to my gymnastics book and maybe the fitness book can give some on ideas for me and mare to get in better shape!

                                    I also ordered my daughter a book, Harry the Dirty Dog, lol. It was mine when I was little and I saw a used copy for a $1.04.

                                    Once again, thank you!
                                    - paintmare

                                    Horse Eden Eventing - A Virtual Eventing Escape


                                    • #19
                                      I'm more of a visual person so I prefer to watch videos-love Pippas training videos, The O'Connors series, Kyra Kyrklunds series, Eventing with the Stars (pretty sure that's what it's called, I had the series, lent it out and never saw it again, Andrew Hoys series, Mark Todd's series, etc. And then the show videos to get motivated!
                                      And than magazines too- Practical Horsemen, Eventing, Dressage Today.


                                      • #20
                                        I have 101 Dressage exercises, and while it is simple, I find it useful. A lot of the exercises they have are quite useful. I tend to do the same thing when I ride, so that book helped me incorporate different exercises to work on different aspects of our riding.
                                        I also have this book: http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Nat.../dp/1872119719 Principles of Riding. It is real basic stuff, but true classical riding. If you've ever ridden with Denny, everything he teaches is out of here. It's a great book.