There for the Horse (Pre-Order)

Timeless Practices that Foster Joy and Longevity in Your Equine Partner

Lester Buckley with Michelle Grald



Coming January 2025

The long-hoped-for book from a one-of-a-kind horseman. 

What does it mean to be there for the horse? It is a rich phrase that means many things. You can be there in the moment with your horse, and that is a worthy goal for every ride. But being there for him also means being his protector, leader, servant, and friend—not just in the moment but all the time. It is a way of living and an expression of true love. 

In his long-awaited first book, Lester Buckley hopes to inspire you to all of it. 

Buckley’s teaching is an artful blend of the lightness that comes from pastoral and natural horsemanship traditions; and the time-tested discipline of classical European riding. His fluency in both worlds allows him to find fun and universal ways to bring out the horse’s athleticism and capture his mind.

There are chapters specifically targeted to cattle work, trail, and jumping; and a whole lot of tips and tricks that help any horse and rider. Learn how to master the art of backing up with softness and accuracy. Make the most of groundwork with a simple routine that will improve every ride. Learn a progression for low stress flying lead changes. Warm your horse up with riding patterns that have built in rewards to motivate his cooperation. Buckley brings out proven and loved exercises from his clinics that are fresh and practical for whatever your horse and you would like to do together. 

This approachable book has something for every sort of rider, from the experienced to the novice, and from the casual to the competitive. It is interlaced with stories, illustrations and photographs that reveal a bit about Buckley himself and even more about the nature of the horse.

Featuring photography by Mary Buckley.

Additional Information

Author: Lester Buckley with Michelle Grald

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 256

Illustrations: 125 color photographs

ISBN: 9781646010301

By Lester Buckley with Michelle Grald

Lester Buckley is a multi-disciplinary teacher of horsemanship. He is respected among his peers as one of the most accomplished equestrians and gifted clinicians in the business today. Buckley earned his BS in Equine Science from Sul Ross State University in Texas. As part of his college education, he was able to ride with renowned horseman Ray Hunt, and share some of those principles with his fellow students. After graduation, Buckley started colts for the King Ranch in Texas and the Parker Ranch in Hawaii and apprenticed with National Cutting Horse Hall of Fame inductee Willie Richardson for seven years. While showing cutters, Buckley met Hannes Muller, head instructor at the German Olympic training center in Warendorf, Germany, who invited him to come to Germany and train. Buckley spent the next 10 years traveling back and forth to Germany as he was immersed in classical dressage and earned his International Trainers License in Dressage and Sport Jumping from the German FN (National Equestrian Federation). Buckley now lives with his wife Mary in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and is a sought-after clinician in the United States and Germany. He enjoys working with riders and trainers from every discipline, and his students include Grand Prix dressage riders, eventers, hunter/jumper trainers, and western riders and trainers from all disciplines ( 


Michelle Grald is a horsewoman and a writer who enjoys blending these two passions to illuminate and inspire fellow equestrians. If she were a horse, she'd be a mustang - at home in perpetual movement, in the open sky and over challenging terrain – and not a fan of going round in circles! Professionally, she has enjoyed working as a copywriter, trail steward, marketing manager, graphic designer, equestrian trail event director, and journalist. As a lifelong equestrian, she has explored many disciplines and particularly enjoys endurance and distance trail riding. She is an American Endurance Ride Conference Trail Master and avid advocate for equestrian trails and open space.