There are no books like horse books! Whether you want fiction or training advice, books are my first go-to resource. If you’ve read my About Me page, you’ll know that I’m not riding as much as I would like right now, so I spend a lot of time engrossed in books.
I thought I’d put together a quick list for you so that if you ever find yourself far from your horse or horses for a while (I’ll hope you never see that day!) then you can at least have some good stuff to read.
Also the riding and horse training books below are a great read anytime just to gain new ideas and perspectives.
I like reading these before bed for 20 minutes and then I can think about them while I’m falling asleep and compare them to my existing knowledge.
Best Horse Books Ever: Leisure & Inspirational Reading
1. Ambition (The Eventing Series Book 1)
by Natalie Keller Reinert
Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid – and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?
On her own at last, Jules is positive she’s poised to become eventing’s newest star, but soon finds she’s making more enemies than friends in the close-knit equestrian community. Little mistakes cost big — her students are losing faith in her; her owners are starting to pull their horses. And then there’s the small matter of Peter Morrison, the handsome, on-the-rise event rider who keeps showing up when she least expects him.
Jules is convinced that all she needs is good horses — not friends, not romance, not anyone’s nose in her business. But it’s just the beginning of the long, hot, Ocala summer, and as Jules tumbles through the highs and lows of a life with horses, she might find she’ll need help after all to weather the coming storm.
In the equestrian literary tradition of Jane Smiley (Horse Heaven) and Sara Gruen (Riding Lessons, Water for Elephants), Natalie Keller Reinert takes readers into the riding life as only a horsewoman can.
“Natalie weaves the story of Jules, her horses, and their uncertain road to the upper levels of eventing with realism and detail.”
– The Equine Insider
” ‘Ambition’ is one of the good ones.”
– Susannah St. Clair (Vine Voice Reviewer)
“This all felt very real to me.”
– Karen McGoldrick
2. Pride (The Eventing Series Book 2)
by Natalie Keller Reinert
Horses aren’t cheap, and competing event horses is a tough way to make a living. Jules Thornton is settled at Briar Hill Farm with fellow trainer Pete Morrison, eyes focused on a successful future in eventing, but money is tight and opportunities are dwindling.
When a potential sponsor offers Pete a stellar deal, Jules is ready for her big break — but it’s not what she was hoping for. She’ll have to make hard choices if she wants a future in eventing — and with Pete.
There are fireworks on the horizon as Jules heads south to Florida’s vacation-land to meet her new trainer, Grace Carter. The star of “Show Barn Blues” is back to put Jules through her paces and bring her attitude down a notch or two. Can Jules stick out a summer of dressage lessons and high-dollar clients?
3. And We Danced (Dancing With Horses Book 1)
by Toni Mari
Seventeen-year-old Jane has found the horse of her dreams or so she thinks. Windsong has the breeding, training, and flashy good looks to win medals at national competitions, and Jane figures she’ll point him down the centerline and waltz out of the arena with enough blue ribbons to overflow her tack trunk. He is a tall, black, imported Swedish Warmblood trained to the Grand Prix level, the epitome of elegance and grace whenever he is not carrying on like a fire-breathing dragon. He’s scary. The thought of climbing aboard makes her limbs jittery and her brain stop working. She’s not sure she can handle a horse like Windsong and neither is the inconsiderate, condescending Stetson-wearing lout she is forced to work with at the barn. Cory openly questions Jane’s horsemanship. And worse, Kate, Jane’s beloved trainer, seemingly sides with him! Tempers blaze and horseshoes fly, but something else begins to spark. Can Jane overcome her fear of Windsong to win her goal of competing in the North American Junior Championships and not lose her heart at the same time?
4. The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation
by Elizabeth Letts
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.
by William Nack
In 1973, Secretariat, the greatest champion in horse-racing history, won the Triple Crown. The only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated in the same week, he also still holds the record for the fastest times in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. He was also the only non-human chosen as one of ESPN’s “50 Greatest Athletes of the Century.” The tale of “Big Red” is an enduring and inspiring classic, more than thirty years after its initial publication.
“Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand.”
—Laura Hillenbrand, bestselling author of Seabiscuit
Best Horse Books Ever: Instructional & Do it Yourself
Understanding how your horse thinks can help you reach your training goals faster and enhance the special bond between horse and rider.
In this fascinating best seller, Cherry Hill explores the way horses think and how it affects their behavior. Explaining why certain smells and sounds appeal to your horse’s sensibility and what sets off his sudden movements, Hill stresses how recognizing the thought processes behind your horse’s actions can help you communicate effectively and develop a trusting relationship based on mutual respect.
2. 101 Ground Training Exercises for Every Horse & Handler
by Cherry Hill
Ground training is the key to a safe and pleasurable riding experience. This comprehensive series of exercises covers every aspect of ground training, from haltering to driving, turning to transitions, and backing to body languages.
Designed for easy reference while working with your horse, this guide can be hung on a post.
Riders of all disciplines and skill levels will benefit from these exercises that reinforce good habits and help develop a strong bond between horse and rider.
3. Centered Riding (A Trafalgar Square Farm Book)
by Sally Swift
Widely known for her innovative teaching philosophy stressing body awareness, the value of “soft eyes,” proper breathing, centering, and balance, Sally Swift has been a pioneering riding instructor for half a century.
In book form for the first time, her methods enable horse and rider to achieve harmony, working together naturally, without pain.
Unlike traditional teachers, Sally Swift does not believe in forced training techniques that cause stiff bodies and tense riding. Instead, through the use of vivid, unusual, and highly creative images that transcend mechanics (“Pretend you’re a spruce tree; the roots grow down from your center as the trunk grows up”), plus a thorough knowledge of human and equine anatomy, this wise and inspiring teacher enables the conscientious equestrian to reassess habitual responses, in order to ride in natural positions, break through frustrating plateaus, and achieve ever-rising goals with comfort, vitality, and precision.
Precise illustrations and photographs never before used in riding books explain anatomy and image work to give mind and body new and relaxed approaches to the inner process of riding.
Centered Riding is for those with little experience all the way up to world class.
Horse trainer Jonathan Field has made a name for himself with his unique ability to give people simple, understandable, doable steps that lead to working with a horse “at liberty” in a safe and progressive manner. True engagement with a horse at liberty isn’t just about removing tack and stepping outside the arena—it’s about connection, trust, and communication through movement. Enrich your relationship with your horse, improve your “feel,” and teach your horse to respond to the subtlest of cues; no matter your discipline, whether you compete or ride for pleasure, liberty training can change the way you interact with horses forever.
5. The Rider’s Fitness Program: 74 Exercises & 18 Workouts Specifically Designed for the Equestrian
by Dianna Robin Dennis
Get in top riding shape! Designed to strengthen the muscles commonly used by equestrians while improving overall balance, flexibility, and coordination, this six-week fitness program includes clear instructions and step-by-step photographs for more than 70 exercises.
You’ll learn how to create workout routines that are customized for specific disciplines like jumping, dressage, and rodeo. Whether you’re a beginning rider or have years of experience, increased fitness will help you prevent injury and improve your riding form.
Would you like to enable your horse to perform and feel better, to overcome old limitations and restrictions and reach its full potential?
In this book, Jim Masterson, Equine Massage Therapist for the 2006 and 2008 and 2010 USET Endurance Teams, and for equine clientele competing in FEI World Cup, Pan American and World Games competitions, teaches a unique method of equine bodywork, in which the practitioner recognizes and follows the responses of the horse to touch to release tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance.
This practical book:
- has step-by-step instructions, photographs and illustrations
- is ideally suited to accompany you to the barn, where you will practice the Masterson Method® techniques on horses.
- includes chapters with Tips & Techniques, anatomical explanations and examples from Jim’s practice help deepen your understanding.
- has a “quick reference” section will point you to exercises that are specifically suited to your particular discipline, may it be dressage, endurance, eventing or barrel racing, or others in the vast realm of horse sports.
By using these techniques, and knowing the responses to look for, you are able to:
- achieve a release of accumulated stress in deep-seated key junctions of the horse’s body that affects mobility, comfort, attitude, training and performance
- restore muscular and structural balance, and natural alignment
- enable your horse to perform optimally and respond to your training without stiffness and pain
- achieve new levels of communication and trust with your horse that spill over into other areas of interaction.
Hope you enjoy the reads and that you even learn something that really helps you and your horse out.
Let me know by commenting below if you would like a more thorough review on any of the training books above and I’ll be happy to write one!
Also fell free to comment below and let us know what you liked, didn’t like and if you would recommend anything to others.
I love hearing your thoughts!
Happy reading and riding 🙂
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