It is that gifty time of year, and in the scramble to make “just right” purchases, we can feel overwhelmed by the costs, the choices, and what’s good for the world and our favorite people. We know this feeling all too well, so in the spirit of the kinds of gifts that will keep on giving, here are a few recommendations for that crazy horse person in your life (we know there is one).
Book for “Horse Show Dad”
He might not know a lot about horses, but his kids do, and he finds himself lugging water buckets and hay bales, wiping off dusty boots, and driving hours upon hours to lessons, clinics and competitions. If you know a dad who might not quite know what to do with his pony-mad child, A MAN WALKS INTO A BARN by Chad Oldfather is the perfect read.
A “witty, often wistful take on parenting, pedagogy, and life lessons learned.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Even if you’re not a father of a horse-loving daughter–or a father at all–you’ll still find poignant takeaways from the book’s pages thanks to the beauty of Oldfather’s prose.” –UnTacked Magazine
Book for Middle-Aged Friend Who Always Wanted a Horse
A lot of us have one of these–a woman in our life with a semi-secret (or not-so-secret) passion for horses who just has never had time or the money to make her horse dream happen. Maybe circumstances have now changed: kids have grown up, careers have evolved or ended, there is more time and more money. Before she starts riding or buys that OTTB that caught her eye, she needs to read RIDERS OF A CERTAIN AGE by Fran Severn.
“Witty and insightful.” –Cowgirl Magazine
Book for Fitness-Loving Riding Friend Who Never Has Time for the Gym
It is a well-known fact that when you ride, you want to spend all your free time with your horse. This can cramp workout style in a major way, as Murphy’s Law states the gym is an hour through traffic in the opposite direction of the barn. Certified personal trainer Laura Crump Anderson is an equestrian herself, and she also knows the importance of fitness to riders, whatever their discipline. In ULTIMATE EXERCISE ROUTINES FOR RIDERS, she’s provided eight workouts that we can do wherever and whenever we can fit them in–in the tack room, while hand-grazing, or in the ring before our next riding lesson.
“A program any busy rider can fit into their life schedule.” –Heels Down Magazine
Book for Child Who Just Started Riding Lessons
Riding is where most of us start–ask most grown-up equestrians, and they’ll share memories of begging for riding lessons as a child. But horses aren’t just about riding. A whole lot goes into their care and maintenance, and while horsemanship is a study that can last a lifetime, there are basic good practices that every kid should learn in order to stay safe in and out of the saddle and do what is right for the horse. In THE KID’S GUIDE TO HORSEMANSHIP AND GROOMING, professional grooms Cat Hill and Emma Ford employ over 700 instructional photos to help educate our next generation of equestrians.
“A must-have resource! Easy-to-understand tips and valuable information for anyone who has, or wants, a horse or pony.” –Blaze Magazine
Book for the Thoughtful Horse Lover in Search of Personal Growth
Being around horses can lead to good changes in human beings. Our attempts to become better horse people can usually result in improvement in other areas of our lives, and there’s few who would argue that’s not a good thing. In THE HORSE IS MY TEACHER, Van Hargis reflects on his experiences growing up on a Texas ranch and working with some of the most influential horsemen in North America, illustrating what we can learn in and out of the saddle with charm and wit.
“A delightful read of horse training wisdom…a refreshingly honest approach to sharing an understanding of horses based on personal experiences.” –Catskill Horse Magazine
Book for the Rider Who Likes to Leap
There’s no getting bored with ringwork when you have this book in hand! In GRID PRO QUO, ammie eventer Margaret Rizzo McKelvy has created a modern-day quick reference to more than 50 grids and jumping exercises that bring the best of top international training and instruction into your home ring. Build your skillset and your horse’s confidence and conditioning with a fantastic selection of lessons from a remarkable group of top equestrians never before found together in one instructional book.
“A tremendous resource to have in any tack room. These exercises stand the test of time, and will be as relevant as they are today for years to come.” –Heels Down Magazine
Book for the Independent-Minded Young Reader
There is nothing better than discovering a main character in a story who you like and admire. LIBERTY BISCUIT is a middle-grade novel by Melanie Sue Bowles, starring 13-going-on-14-year-old Kip, a one-eyed lop-eared donkey, and two abused horses. Kip finds herself in a tangle of family mystery and town drama when she and her grandfather foster the three neglected equines. Readers find themselves cheering for the plucky heroine as she learns to negotiate grown-up problems and do the right thing for both people and animals.
“Heartwarming.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Kept me guessing what would happen next, and I truly enjoyed reading it.” –Blaze Magazine
Book for the Equestrian Looking for the Next Evolution in Horsemanship
In 2016, Sharon Wilsie rocked the horse world with her first book HORSE SPEAK: THE EQUINE-HUMAN TRANSLATION GUIDE. Now she has written a follow-up that expands upon her ideas of how we can use body language to communicate with our horses in clearer more conscientious ways. ESSENTIAL HORSE SPEAK: CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION is the most complete guide available to understanding the horse’s language, knowing how to “talk” back, and to using Horse Speak® principles in any training system.
“A brilliant narrative to guide all horse lovers and help them succeed in developing their horse/human relationship to its fullest potential.” –Catskill Horse Magazine
Book for the Horseman Who “Has All His Other Books”
Mark Rashid is just about as prolific as it gets in equestrian writing circles, and with his trademark voice and remarkable storytelling ability, he has a fervent following of fans around the world. In his newest book FOR THE LOVE OF THE HORSE, he recognizes that his first book was published over 30 years ago and how much he has learned in the time that has passed. In his familiar way, Rashid takes readers on a journey that rewards with both adventure and education, finding new inroads in our attempts to become better company and fairer caregivers to horses.
“Hands down my favorite of his works…everyone who is on a quest to be better with horses will find this book valuable.” –Backyard Horse Blog
Book for the Rider Who Doesn’t Have Time to Read
It took horseman Tik Maynard 10 years to write his bestselling book IN THE MIDDLE ARE THE HORSEMEN, but he managed to record the audiobook version in just a matter of days. Now available wherever audiobooks are sold, Tik’s memoir shares the story of a struggling working student and the challenges he faced as he pursued a professional life with horses. Read by the author himself, this is the perfect way to fill commuter hours while learning, laughing, and loving, all at the same time.
“Will resonate with anyone who’s done some soul-searching to find their life’s purpose, especially if that purpose turned out to involve horses.” –USDF Connection
These books, and hundreds more, are proudly published by Trafalgar Square Books, a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.