Sunday, February 7, 2010

Authors' Journeys with Horses

This is the last of my series on books in my horse library. This installment I'm covering books which are biographies covering the author's experiences with horses. These are some of my favorites:

Taking Up the Reins by Priscilla Endicott--This is one of my favorite books. Back in the beginning days of dressage in America, Ms. Endicott journeyed to Germany for a year to train with a dressage master, Walter Christensen. If you've ever considered training in Germany, read this book. She tells it like it is with no sugar coating in an entertaining style.

Believe by Buck Brannaman--This book and Faraway Horses chronicles Buck's journey and experiences with various horses. I highly recommend both books for the insight they give the reader into the mind of the horse.

The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts--In this book Monty outlines his philosophy about working with horses and how he got there.

Ahlerich--The Making of Dressage World Champion by Reiner Klimke--In the dressage world, Klimke is an icon. His account of selecting Ahlerich and the trial and rewards of training the difficult horse are eye-openers. Those of us who've watched videos of Klimke riding Ahlerich will find it hard to believe this was not an easy horse to ride at first.

Along the Way by Various Authors--This book was available through USDF at one time. It may still be. Its an anthology written by serveral authors detailing their unique relationship with horses. There are chapters by Conrad Schumacher, Betsy Steiner, Sylvia Loch, Anne Gribbons, Debbie McDonald, Paul Belasik, and Kathy Connelly, among others.

Anky by Anky van Grunsven--This is an interesting biography of Anky's life and her horses.

True Horsemanship Through Feel by Bill Dorrance as told by Leslie Desmond--This book is a tough one to read. I struggled with as Ms. Desmond wrote it using the same dialect Bill Dorrance would use, which makes it difficult to understand. It's still a great book and offers incredible insight into this man who was the pioneer of natural horsemanship.

Riding Through by Debbie McDonald--This book is a combination of a biography of Debbie's life with horses and a how-to book. I find Debbie a delightful person in print and in person.

For now, this is the end of my horse book recommendations. I hope you enjoyed them and found a few keepers for your own library.

I'm currently struggling with the possiblity that my mare may not recover fully from her cellulites. The swelling in her leg hasn't reduced since December, despite our best efforts. It is easily twice as large as her other hind leg. My vet is currently consulting with other experts to see if there's anything we haven't tried. In the meantime, I've been riding religiously. In fact, I rode the last 6 out of 7 days. She is perfectly comfortable in walk, trot, and canter as long as I keep her up and forward so she doesn't get that big leg tangled up with her other legs. She trips over herself in any lateral work, so that appears to be out.

I'm struggling with coming to terms as to where I go from here if this leg stays the size it is. I may end up with a VERY nice trail horse, and my dressage dreams may be at their end, but I'll cover all that in my next post.

Until then, I hope all your rides are rewarding.


Linda Benson said...

Jami - I'm so sorry to hear about your mare. I'm glad she is riding sound at least. But it sounds like a difficult thing to come to grips with, especially because of your dreams for her. Hopefully with more time she may still improve.

Good job with the book recommendations. I just wanted to add that I adore the book True Horsemanship Through Feel, and the numerous pictures throughout really helped me understand the concepts.

Great post!

Laura Crum said...

Jami, I'm glad Gailey is sound, but sorry to hear that the leg stayed big. That must be frustrating--I know you were thinking of showing her this year.

I've read Bill Dorrance's book, and also the one by Tom Dorrance--I think it was called True Unity. Its so many years ago I can't remember. I knew Tom Dorrance a little and met Bill. They were both sort of icons in the horse community around here. I found the books interesting, and eye opening, but in the end concluded that "feel" is not something you can acquire through reading, though you might get some ideas that will point you in the right direction.

Monte Roberts book was kind of controversial around here. Many local people knew him and did not feel that he was entirely accurate in the way he portrayed himself and others that were mentioned in the book.

I will have to check out some of your other recommendations. Since dressage was never my avocation, I haven't read any of the dressage oriented books, but I really love interesting biographies. Thanks for the tips.

stilllearning said...

I'm also very sorry to hear that your mare hasn't fully recovered. That stinks.