Sunday, November 7, 2010

A List of Classic Books

This is a pared down list of a few of the books I’ve read over time that are either informative or thought provoking.  Some I liked very much on my quest to understand what real horsemanship is all about.  There are many opposing views to mine but it’s always good to educate oneself on different methods whether I agree with them or not. I don’t subscribe to any one hard and fast rule with training horses.  I believe that to actually become a better horse person you must research many different philosophies from myriad factions.

In my opinion, the more you familiarize yourself with different philosophies concerning horses and their training, the easier it is to sort through differing viewpoints and keep what makes sense and throw out what doesn’t make sense or can’t possibly work for the good of the rider and horse.  For example, the Duke of Newcastle is often looked upon as a classical master, and trainers today continue to refer back to his methods, many of which are sound; but if you were to read more thoroughly about his methods you would find that some of them were, shall we say, less enlightened than we might find tolerable today.  For example if a horse went around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth (a sign of resistance), he simply hacked it off.  Problem solved!  I guess that’s one way to “deal” with resistance, but that’s just a little too extreme for me.  So, no one master or school of thought is infallible and I’ve made the choice to view them all with a critical eye - to take the good and discard the bad.

So even though this is not by any means all of the books I’ve read, it’s a small sampling which I think has been useful in educating me on the history and development of horsemanship through the ages, as well as the array of philosophies available, some compatible and some contradictory.  From there I’m able to compare and weigh all the options and choose those methods which make the most sense for me and my horses.

Hope you find something you might like to read over the winter.
  • My Horses, My Teachers - Alois Podhajsky
  • Complete Training of Horse and Rider - Alois Podhajsky
  • The Art of Horsemanship - Xenophon
  • Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage: A Search for a Classical Alternative - Philippe Karl
  • Long Reining: the Samur Method - Philippe Karl
  • Classic Show jumping-The De Nemethy Method – Bertalan De Nemethy
  • Reflections on Riding and Jumping – William Steinkraus
  • School of Horsemanship - Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere
  • The Art of Classical Horsemanship - Egon von Neindorff
  • Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prix - Walter Zettl
  • Falling for Fallacies: Misleading Commonplace Notions of Dressage Riding -Jean –Claude Racinet
  • Racinet Explains Boucher –Jean-Claude Racinet
  • Tug of War: Classical vs. Modern Dressage – Gerd Heuschmann
  • Total Horsemanship – Jean-Claude Racinet
  • If Horses Could Speak by Gerd Heuschmann
  • Understanding Equitation – Jean Saint –Fort Paillard
  • Academic Equitation – General Decarpentry
  • The Way To Perfect Horsemanship – Udo Burger
  • Francois Boucher-The Man And His Methods – Hilda Nelson
  • Alexis-Francois L’Hotte, The Quest For Lightness In Equitation – Hilda Nelson
  • Horses Are Made To Be Horses – Franz Maringer
  • Dressage- A Guide Book For The Road To Success- Alfred Knopfhart
  • The Principle Of Riding- Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation
  • Advanced Techniques of Riding – Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation – Book 2
  • Principles of Dressage- Brigadier General Kurt Albrecht
  • The Gymnasium of the Horse by Gustav Steinbrecht
  • Manual of Equitation of The French Army for 1912 (basically it’s the French cavalry manual.  When we in the US were looking to develop our own system of horsemanship we adapted our system from this particular manual.  Of course, over the years it has been bastardized beyond recognition.)

Until next time
Quote for Today
In training horses, one trains himself
    - Antoine De Pluvinet

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