California Riding Magazine • June, 2011

Book Reviews
101 Trail Riding Tips; The Horse Lover's Bible; Storey's Guide to Training Horses

101 Trail Riding Tips: Helpful Hints for Backcountry and Pleasure Riding
Written by Dan Aadland
Reviewed by Laney Humphrey

This is an intriguing little book. It is little in size but not insignificant. It isn't quite small enough to fit in a pocket or even most saddle bags, but then, it's not the type of book to carry along anyway. It could be described as a mini-coffee table book: every tip has an accompanying photograph and it does not need to be read from front to back.

The author, Dan Aadland, is a frequent contributor to various horse life-style magazines such as Trail Rider and Equus. He and his wife have raised cattle and mountain bred Tennessee Walking Horses on their Montana ranch for 30 years. He has written several other books and gives clinics on trail riding and backcountry skills.

In the introduction, the author says "this book is intended as a quick reference to help with horsemanship outside the arena." That describes it perfectly.  It is not an instruction book, more a checklist covering all aspects of successful trail riding from basic safety procedures to selecting an appropriate horse to how to carry gear for trips into the backcountry.

It would be the perfect stocking stuffer or thank you gift for an advanced beginner or intermediate rider thinking of switching from arena riding to trail or backcountry riding. Many of the tips seem overly simple or obvious but even those are excellent reminders that good horsemanship and appropriate behavior around horses are just as important around trail horses as around arena performance horses. It is not an instruction book but for someone with basic horse knowledge looking for guidance in how to become a successful trail rider this is a little gem of a book.

Laney Humphrey is a long-time trail and endurance rider living on California's Monterey Peninsula.

The Horse Lover's Bible: The Complete Practical Guide to Horse Care and Management
Written by Tamsin Pickeral
Reviewed by Kathleen Elliott

The Horse Lovers' Bible offers comprehensive guidance on buying, stabling, exercising, grooming, training and showing your horse. The Horse Lovers' Bible presents an understanding of horse behaviors and natural instincts, and how this can help you to achieve the best results. It also offers practical and up to date reference advice on dealing with equine welfare and first aid as well as emergency procedures. There is extensive advice on assessing conformation, temperament, hoof care, tack, transporting and grooming. The author, Tamsin Pickeral, also goes into great detail regarding feeding and housing your horse.

This is a superb comprehensive book covering the whole spectrum of horse care written by someone who clearly has had a long experience handling and working with horses. Tamsin Pickeral is an accomplished horsewoman working with horses in many disciplines such as western and english riding. Pickeral formerly worked for the Buffalo Veterinary Hospital; useful hints and details sit alongside general advice on equine welfare, with a wealth of information on every page. Whether you are a professional or amateur horse owner you will learn with reliable and informative information and enjoy reading this book.

Kathleen Elliott lives in Menifee and has been training and teaching for 17 years. She shows dressage and hunter/jumper and is ARIA Riding Instructor certified.

Storey's Guide to Training Horses
Written by Heather Smith Thomas
Reviewed by Dianne Chapman McCleery

Storey's Guide to Training Horses is a big book, almost 500 pages, and those pages are packed with information. It is written by Heather Smith Thomas, and published by Storey Books.

Thomas states in her epilogue to the book, "The fundamentals of training a horse are simple: Train him right the first time. Build step-by-step on previous lessons." This book takes you from the beginning basics of training to a finished horse.

The book starts with "Basic Safety Practices," a must for all who work around horses given the potential for injury. The next chapter is "Horse Sense and Training Psychology," full of practical information for working with horses. A few of the subheads of this chapter are: "Cue Clearly," "Deciding When to Correct and When to be Patient," "Don't Rush the Horse," and "Control Your Temper."

Several chapters go into foal and young horse handling, including imprinting. Ground work is covered, as well as basics for driving. First mounted lessons for the young horse are given, as are instructions for riding all the gaits.

A chapter is devoted to "Trailer Training," with several different approaches given the age and background of the horse to be loaded. There are also methods for loading the reluctant or spoiled horse. The final chapter is "Retraining the Spoiled Horse."

Storey's Guide to Training Horses covers many diverse areas, such as riding out on the trail, foal imprinting, neck reining and dressage. This book would be a good reference manual for any rider, whether working with a foal, training a young horse, or working with an older horse. The safety information throughout is invaluable. There are also many useful tips, such as how to tie a horse that can untie any knot so he can't reach the knot and how to ride across swiftly moving water.

Heather Smith Thomas has been riding and writing about horses for over four decades, and that experience shows in this book. She keeps the reader informed about the differences between horses and gives several ways to accomplish each training goal. There's a lot of common sense in this book. Under a sidebar titled, "Treat Each Horse as an Individual," Thomas states, "Horses become ready for new challenges at different rates and react to new experiences in different ways. A rigid training schedule or method can eventually run
into problems."

The only drawback to this book is that resource section does not give websites. However, anyone with basic internet skills could easily find those.

Dianne Chapman McCleery is a writer and editor who has ridden for the past ten years with a natural horsemanship trainer in the Sierra Nevada foothills.