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Recently I received an email from a student in one of my courses asking what my favorite riding or training books were and if I could recommend a reading list.

I do love to read and thought it would be a great idea to share some of my favorite books with you!

I’m often reading books on a variety of subjects, riding of course being one of them! Just the idea of a book inspires me… the many years of the author’s life of wisdom and learning are condensed into pages of text, for us – the readers, to learn what may have taken another a lifetime to assimilate.

The books I chose for this video are just a few of my personal favorites and are a mix of personal narratives and stories, scientific reviews, as well as specific how to.

After you watch the video, I’d love to hear what books have impacted your riding or training the most. Leave a comment below!

You can follow the links below to purchase any of the books I talked about in this video:

Centered Riding (A Trafalgar Square Farm Book)

Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training

Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals

The Mind of the Horse: An Introduction to Equine Cognition

Horsemanship Through Life

Bring fun and purpose to every ride

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29 Responses

  1. Thanks! I like all Mark Rashid’s books, True Horsemanship Through Feel-Bill Dorrance, and Dr Deb Bennett The Birdie Book (for learning to read the horses feelings and intentions)-as well as her articles in Eclectic Horseman and online forum/website.

  2. Hi Callie,

    The links you mentioned are missing, just FYI. One of my favorite training books is Training the Young Horse by Anthony Crossley. This, instead of focusing on the “cerebral” portion of training, as your recommendations do, is almost a recipe for training a horse for the first two years. He also addresses common resistances and how to deal with them. I think a rider, armed with your psychologically based training books + this one would be well equipped for almost any training situation. Thanks for the enlightening video.

  3. Love the idea of books to read about training! I ordered a Rashid book just a few days ago. I may have heard of him thru one of your posts. After your endorsement, I’m really excited reading it – still waiting for it to arrive! I will order the other books, also!
    I recently read a book about dog training that I loved called Smile! Can’t recall author’s name. The author’s training/life philosophy is harmonious with your approach.
    Thanks for the book list!

  4. Thanks, have 3 of the four already and they are in my top 10 also. A couple of books that need to be read also are “The Inner game of Tennis ” by Timothy Gallowey and no I don’t play Tennis. The Other book your horse would love for you to read is “Beyond Horse Massage” by Jim Masterson.

      1. I would loan you my copy if you like. I really think you will enjoy reading this book and possibly use in your teaching.

  5. Highly recommend all the Rashid books…once I started reading I could not put them down! For a how-to step by step “True Horsemanship through Feel” by Bill Dorrance and Leslie Desmond is great. Zen Mind, Zen Horse is also wonderful…can’t remember the author off hand.

  6. I love to read too! Thanks for your suggestions! I have only read the Mark Rashid book from your list of four, which I loved. I became aware of him after reading “In The Company of Horses” by Kathleen Lindley, it is about A year in the life of Mark Rashid.
    Four books that I have enjoyed enough to reread, or dip into off and on are
    “That Winning Feeling!” by Jane Savoie
    “Naked Liberty” by Carolyn Resnick
    “Connecting with Horses” by Magrit Coates
    “The Gift” by Barbra Schulte

  7. Thanks for sharing your favorite training books. I have the first book it’s really good but will have to get the others you mentioned. One of my favorite training books is Clicker Training: Colt Starting the Natural Horse by Leslie Pavlich.

  8. Books from Sally Swift, Sara Wyche:The anatomy of Riding.
    I just entered an online course from Ryan Cartlidge from Animal Training Academy.
    He is training a lot of different species and he did me think of Karen Pryor.

  9. Hi Callie,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with such passion. I did not see the links for the books. Where should I look?

  10. Hi Callie,
    Sallie Swift’s centered riding has been instrumental in my progress. I don’t think I ever told you but right before the time I started riding with you I was thinking if buying a product called”tight grip” ( it’s something golfers use on their gloves to get a better grip on their club) I was going to put it on my breeches in hopes of keeping myself better connected to the saddle( no kidding!) Good thing it never came to that! But it was through your help and the techniques in this book that I was able to improve the basics of my riding. Also, I love “The Complete Training of Horse and Rider” by Alois Podhasky. He writes with exquisite detail on everything I want to learn about! Still reading it and will keep it around me always.

  11. Hi Callie,

    In a past video you referenced, James Shaw’s “The Rider Within”. I ordered it months ago and very much like his approach to using Tai Chi principles to become a better rider. Thank you for your additional suggestions in the video. I plan to continue to grow my library with “Callie” approved material.

  12. If I could only keep one of my many books, it would be Franz Mairinger’s Philosophy of Horsemanship “Horses Are Made to be Horses.”

  13. Centered Riding by Sally Swift is a favorite. Ms. Swift puts riding the horse into a different context. She wants the rider to be deep, relaxed and resilient in the saddle. She works towards light, flexible riders with different exercises on the horse. She made me aware of neck tension and how I hold my head in a way that affects more than riding. The guided imagery is helpful. I often glance at a page or two just before my riding lesson. I take that imagery into the ride and feel the horse rather than ride the horse.

  14. At this moment I am focused on improving my seat and my aids. The books I read and terras now are: When 2 spines align by Beth Baumert. Books by Mary Wanless : Ride with your mind essentials and clinic.

  15. Callie, thank you for your online courses! I just purchased “The Mind of the Horse” and “Horsemanship Through Life.” I’m so glad to see Alois Podhajsky mentioned in the comments. “The Complete Training of Horse and Rider” is always in rotation on my list, and so is “My Horses, My Teachers.” He was amazing.

  16. Love all the book favorites! My first new book will be The Mind of the Horse. Thanks, Callie, and please highlight other book ideas.

  17. Jane Myers books have helped me with a biomechanical approach to riding. Not a substitute for books about horsemanship, but an excellent technical supplement to them.

  18. Hello, I have 15 grandchildren, ages 13 years-10 months. I have a trainer come to my home weekly to give about 7 children a lesson. I will be reading the books you have recommended with great interest. I have six horses: one quarter horse who was a champion cutter in his day, one large and loving gelding paint, a gelding POA, a gelding pony, a miniature stallion, and a miniature mare. The first four are very well-trained. The 29 year old cutter is “proud cut” and makes the other horses nervous because he is so dominant. We don’t ride him in the round pen with the other three for that reason and because most of the children are 7 and younger. (I would love to have ideas about how to temper my dear, old guy.) But primarily, are there books that you would recommend for the children that they can read themselves or that can be read to and discussed with the children along the same lines as you have recommended for adults? (Everyone ages 6 and up, reads and comprehends well above their reading level.)
    Thank you.

  19. Hi Callie,

    Thank you so much for your recommendations! I have read all of Mark Rashid’s books and was thrilled to find out that you too have enjoyed them and found them helpful. I am currently reading Karen Pryor’s “Reaching the Animal Mind”. I am so curious to know what your experience has been with horses and clicker training (positive reinforcement). I mention clicker training to various local trainers and nearly all respond with comments on how horses cannot be reliably motivated by food as a primary reinforcement and that the most effective means of training (and they will argue the only means) is a pressure/release approach. I prefer to keep an open mind and use whatever method works for any given situation and particular horse. Maybe you have already done a video segment on clicker training for horses, but if not, I would love to watch a discussion on this topic.

  20. I’m thrilled to have come across your blog post on the best books for learning to train horses. It’s evident that you’ve put considerable thought and expertise into curating this list, and I’m excited to dive into these resources. While books are a fantastic way to gain knowledge, I also wonder if you’ve explored using the best horse calming supplement in your training endeavors? It can be a game-changer when it comes to ensuring a calm and focused training environment. Thank you for sharing your insights and helping fellow horse enthusiasts like me expand our horsemanship skills.

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