Friday, May 31, 2013

Essential Reading~

I'm sure that all of you have a passion for something. It might be furniture, or crafting, or photography. Or it might be something more elusive- like golfing or worse- riding.

Riding is nothing like golfing, except for the fact that it looks super easy but  in reality is super hard- especially if you are doing it right!

I didn't learn how to do it right. I just learned to stick onto the back of that moving horse and never let go and never give up. It wasn't until many, many, many years after I first sat astride that I learned how to do things 'correctly'. I didn't take lessons until about seven years ago. Everything I learned until then was purely by watching and listening. It was trial and error (mostly error) and natural stubbornness along with a very small athletic ability.  But the one thing that I did then that I still do now is read. I've read everything I could lay my hands on.

Some of the very best things I've read have been written by reining and cow horse trainers. Somehow that discipline just seems to understand the freedom of movement a horse needs to be athletic. That is not to 'dis' dressage or any other style of riding! An upper level Dressage horse is poetry in motion. But for the non-professional rider- the weekend warrior or the mid level western rider- the principles of reining seem to be the easiest to learn, understand and apply to their every day riding.

Here are some of MY favorite books on the subject.

Al Dunning -Reining.
           Super simple. Easy to understand. Loads of instruction. Al Dunning has written several books on the subject and any one of them will address any problem you are having. I return again and again to his books when  I hit a wall in my understanding.( I don't say training, because frequently it is my non-knowledge that is in my way.Training would imply that I knew what I was doing and was trying to impart that on my horse).

Sandy Collier- Reining Essentials.
 Sandy is bar none one of the easiest clinicians to understand. She is no nonsense and straight to the point. She understands the riders mind as well as the horses mind- knowledge that is invaluable! Many times I have found that a Trainer can ride the horse,train the horse and show the horse, but trying to help the owner/rider understand the mechanics of doing the same- not so much!

Benny Guitron- The Art of Hackamore Training, A Time Honored Step in The Bridle Horse Training.
 Benny is the Guru of Hackamore horses. Even though riding with a hackamore is very different than riding in a bridle, the steps should not be overlooked. Too many riders just throw a hackamore on their horse with out the background to understand the reasons for doing so.It is truly an art form. Do yourself and your horse a favor and read this book from cover to cover!

Ray Hunt- Think Harmony with Horses.
Tom Dorrance- True Unity
  Ray Hunt. Tom Dorrance. True and complete horsemen. Solid Gold.

I'm sure there are many other books out there that people swear are the best. I have found these particular books to be the best ones for me. I hope you can find a nugget of help in them too.

These books are easy to find on ABE Books and some may even be on Amazon.

Happy Trails!