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I love to read. One of my favorite ways to pass time (when not riding) is sprawled out on the floor with a good book. There is something special about getting lost in the pages of a book, discovering new ideas, solutions, and stories.

Many times the words of an author from a book I read years ago will come back, offering new understanding when I least expect it.

Riding books are like this. Some passages make no sense, until some time later, as I am in a lesson, listening to another instructor, or observing another rider, and all of a sudden the idea the author was conveying comes in with clarity.

In today’s video, I would like to share three of my favorite riding books with you. These are books I have read multiple times, and each time took more meaning. The visualizations and exercises and expressions from these books you will likely recognize I use in my own teaching.

Hit play to watch the video and then leave a comment with your favorite book!

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24 Responses

  1. The three books mentioned have been favorites of mine since I first found them. I was already an old lady at the time, and truly appreciate your bringing the blessings these books will be to a younger group. Horses and Riders!

  2. Totally agree that Centered Riding is a must for anyone’s equestrian education. Many years ago I recommended it for purchase at my library.

  3. For the rider-I love Sally Swift too. I am a metaphorical thinker-Sally just makes so much sense immediately..so much easier than “fix this, fix that” approach. Whenever I feel out of balance-I think of her marionette-or her dripping feet, or the horse through the water pipe and tada! Things start to feel better again! I also am recently-really liking Anna Blake-another great story teller. The Science of Motion website is another spectacular resource.
    For horses-whew…there are SO many..I started with all sorts, but “Think Harmony with Horses” was rather epiphanal-as was the world of Tom Dorrance/ Ray Hunt and , and went on to devour anything from Mark Rashid-who also has a story telling, metaphorical approach, Linda T-J, “Resistance Free training”, John Lyons and now that U-tube and dvd’s are available-WOW! Warwick Schiller-Buck Branahan, Monte Roberts, Ivy S. (Sorry can’t spell it-but she does gaited horses) soooo many…
    Even if there are some things that either are”beyond my level”, sound perfectly nuts, or isn’t in my “discipline”when I’m able-in particular-to watch someone with really good timing work with a horse-it is just AMAZING how much subtle information is passed between horse and human. Stories can illustrate this too-or at least make me think. I try not to get stuck too much on anybody’s particular specialty. We all have to work with the bodies we are born with and the age we are as well as experience. Horses are an endless source of fascination and learning.
    Through CRK-I’m getting introduced more back into the dressage/jumping worlds and there are a whole host of truly fine fine instructors.
    A lot of people who are great with horses, may not necessarily know how to teach the human-so march on metaphor madness and the gift of process and evolvement! Thanks for making me think of these gifts in our midst.

  4. Callie,

    I’ve really enjoyed books by Mark Rashid, he has a real understanding of horse behavior.

    1. Robert, thanks for your comment! Callie also really loves Mark Rashid’s books – they are among her favorites 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  5. thank you Callie, I’ve always meant to get a copy of Sallys book, will also check out Wendys.
    I’ve found soooo many great instructors on YT. Before that, I enjoyed many books,
    Kelly Marks, Richard Maxwell has a couple of beauty’s, on foal handling and horsemanship, and of course numerous videos from some of the more known traines.
    Love Warwick Schiller, Karen Rolhf, Buck, and many others…..

  6. Recently read “Know Better To Do Better” by Denny Emerson. The book was a journey through his partnerships with some of the horses in his stellar career. His best point for me was to RIDE. OFTEN. And I struggle to know when to stop in training, as I tend to push for perfect instead of quitting with good and trying again tomorrow.

    1. I’ve had that book recommended to me before Marijan – I’ll have to make that on my ‘next to read’ list! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  7. I am reading a book that was just published called “Sacred Spaces Communication with the horse through science and spirit” by Susan D. Fay, PHD. This book explains the complex chemistry and communication between horse and rider. Very interesting!

    1. Wow Vickie that sounds like a must read book – I’m putting that on my reading list right now! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  8. I too love Sally Swift’s book — in the past, I have often wished I might have ridden with her! I also frequently refer to Lockie Richard’s book, Dressage: Begin the Right Way . Lockie made an enduring impression on me many years ago in the 60’s and 70’s, when he on several occasions taught our Pickering Pony Club clinics at Fox Hollow Farms and Valhalla Stables. He worked with a number of USA and UK, as well as NZ Olympians, yet his teaching style was very down to earth and accessible even to us kids! his book is clearly and empathetically written. As a now aging and returning rider with a talented, but green rescued dressage prospect, I hear with new appreciation his admonition to never rush, but rather take as much time as necessary to thoroughly learn the basics first.

    1. What a great lesson it sounds like – Callie always says slower is fast! You must be local Nancy, I’ve attended some of the Pickering Pony Horse Shows and they are always a great time!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  9. I have found Sally Swift’s Centered Riding and Centered Riding 2 both helpful. As others have said, her unique imagery, which is very helpful in conveying feel along with position which is so important when riding, is very memorable (something important when one is in the saddle and many thoughts seem to leave me!), and I have gotten new insights upon re-reading both of them. Mary Wanless’ The New Anatomy of Rider Connection has also been helpful, as has George Morris’ Hunter Seat Equitation. Karon Rohlf’s Dressage Naturally Book contains very helpful insights in both riding and training horses, and I love her marriage of the natural horsemanship’s world with dressage. I have viewed Buck Brannaman’s 7 Clinics DVDs several times and always come away with a new and helpful tidbit. Even though I ride in a close contact saddle with “English” reins, I believe great horsepeople in every discipline have something important to teach us!

  10. Peggy Cummings – Keys to Connection – Connected Riding Exercises for riders. Excellent diagrams, explanation of the exercises and what to look for, as well as what questions to ask yourself, to get to the right “spot”.

  11. I am new to the horse world. I was born and raise in the city. I moved out a small town and love it. I received a horse because I had room for her. It was to be for a short time, but she is mine now. I asked people what to do and had a several come out to show me. I observed various ideas and methods. I may not know much about horses but some of the things they were doing made no sense to me. I’ve worked with dogs in the past and know to never chase a dog. Why in the world would I chase a horse thinking it would demand respect for me. I turned to books to learn. Somehow found “A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color” by Mark Rashid . It made a lot of sense and helped me develop a strong relationship with her. I feel we both have learned a lot. We take walks, do ground work and even learned to load in a trailer. Several people have been on her and said how good she is to ride. However, I do not ride her. Not because of her, she even offers her back to me. I feel like I do not know what I’m doing and don’t have the confidence to do it. She is smart and will know it as soon as I get on. I have things to learn. I try to watch the videos. Maybe the books you mentioned will help as well. Thank you for all you are doing. It inspires me to keep trying and learning.

    1. Its great that you are reading and learning about horses and riding. However, you must start somehwere…so get on her and walk. Just walk and feel the movement. Get the obsession with doing everything 100% out of your mind and take the first step. You cannot learn it all from your couch!

  12. Thanks for sharing your book ideas and the Centred Riding one looks good.
    The one book I love as its very informative with lots of photos and goes through the basics well is the DK Eyewitness Companion book on Horse Riding (by Moira C. Harris & Lis Clegg).
    Has sections on Understanding the horse, equipment, and care of the horse as well as riding techniques for both English and Western styles.

  13. To Deborah Trask.

    How sad! Here you are with love for animals, especially for dogs and horses, with a horse that you have developed a good relationship with, and not feeling competent? able? enough to ride! In my experience horses do not mind at all about competence. They will be as careful with you as with a young child, if only you are aware of your feeling(s), be fully conscious of it and admit it. Try to have faith. You can trust horses. If you have the right intentions they will be careful with you.
    Why not invite an instructor to do just a simple stepping lesson for half an hour? There is no law that says you should do trot and canter right away. You can do stepping lessons for half a year, or for as long as you like, because it is you who knows your own mind and body best.
    I am 73 now, started 1,5 year ago ( after 50 years not riding) and for the first time in my life spent last week riding outside on horses I did not know, but only with beginner-groups, and no cantering! Horses are sincere and if you are too, you will be okay is my experience.

  14. I love Centered Riding, too.

    A book that I’m reading now, and that I like a lot, is: When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics by Beth Baumert.

    Thank you for everything that you do. You are helping me :0)

  15. Here are my suggestions on horse books, not necessarily training books. These three create the special world of horse and human and put the reader in it wonderfully: The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss, Lady Long Rider by Bernice Ende, and Hotspur by Rita Mae Brown.

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