Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dressage Books for the Heart and Soul

I thought I'd mention a few of my favorite dressage books which have nothing to do with dressage theory. Some of them may be out of print or hard to find. These are books that delve into the artistic and spiritual side of dressage and that elusive connection with a horse that transcends the physical.

Riding Towards the Light by Paul Belasik: Mr. Belasik writes books that go beyond theory. I've always enjoyed his books and the insight they provide. This particular book delivers an account of his apprenticeship with the horse, which lasted 13 years. He struggles to discover the ultimate truths behind dressage riding and offers some disturbing and valuable insights. Mr. Belasik has written an entire series of books, all of which I recommend.

Beyond the Mirrors by Jill Keisser Hassler: I love this book. I've read it and re-read it several times. Ms. Hassler died from cancer a few years ago. His son is well-known dressage rider, Scott Hassler. This book book explores the spiritual and mental benefits of dressage riding. It's an uplifting, enjoyable book.

My Horses, My Teachers by Alois Podhojsky: Mr. Podhojsky writes about his connections with various horses over the years and what they taught him. A former director of the Spanish Riding School during the 1940's, he tells a story of his life with horses, their personalities, and the valuable knowledge he gained from each animal.

Dressage for the New Age by Dominque Barbier: An enjoyable read which discusses how to cooperate with your horse on a mental plane, not just a physical plane.

The Ethics and Passions of Dressage by Charles De Kunffy: A reader can always depend on Mr. De Kunffy to present a thought provoking and sometimes controversial view of dressage riding. This book doesn't disappoint.

Dressage Masters by David Collins: This compendium of techniques and philosophies of some of the world's most legendary dressage trainers includes beautiful, full-color pictures.

Dressage Rider's Survival Guide by Margaret Odgers: It's my understanding that this book developed via conversations on the Ultimate Dressage Bulletin Board. This book won't give you a spiritual lift or re-define how you communicate with your horse. Instead, it'll make you laugh as it pokes fun at dressage and those of us who at times take it way too seriously. I loved this book and definitely identified with the situations and people.

The above books are from my dressage library. I'm guessing there are more, but I haven't read them or seen them (hard to believe). Anyway, I'd like to cover books next time (dresage and otherwise) which are biographies of the authors' journeys with horses.


Shanster said...

Thanks for all the book recommendations! I can't wait to dive in and start reading...

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

Oh, de Kunffy's book is such a classic!

When I worked at Barnes & Noble in college, we had a copy in the horse section. I would read it on my dinner breaks (for dinner, insert "Cafe Mocha and scone"). I need a new copy pronto. Thanks for reminding me!

At my blog I was just discussing a great old book called "Reschooling the Thoroughbred," by Peggy Jett Pittenger. I just bought a 1966 edition and I'm wondering how different the modern edition is. I simply love the copy that I've gotten.

Thanks for the reminder!
Natalie Keller Reinert
Retired Racehorse Blog

Jami Davenport said...

Shanster and Natalie, You should send us a post,tell us about yourself, your blogs, your horses, whatever you want.

I had a retired racehorse once. He'd also been a polo pony. The poor thing's brain was fried.

EcoLicious Equestrian said...

some serious work of art in your library..I especially love My horse. My teachers from Alois Podhajsky...