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Recommended Books for Equine related information and issues


Recommended Books—this list is incomplete at this point!  So look back for more additions.



I have long been amazed at the relationship that the bit plays in the interaction of horse and rider, and how subtle changes in such can make such differences.  Needless to say, I have an extensive collection (fortunate for me that rust is good for use!).

Keep in mind tho--the riders hands make the horses mouth, not the bit!


If you share this—here are some I find useful.


Connell, Ed; REINSMAN OF THE WEST—BRIDLES AND BITS; copyright 1964; Wilshire Book Company, California.  This is a rather classic book on the California method of training the western-reining horse.  Covers Hackmores-snaffles into the spade bit in terms of training and bitting.  Includes some history.  (under western training too).  Good diagrams and pictures.


Taylor, Louis; BITS; copyright 1966; Wilshire Publishing, Cal.  Subtitle is “Their History, Use & Misuse plus Practical Advice on the Most Effective Bits for Every Need”.  This literally is a scholarly historical approach to when bits first were used, why they were developed and some current and unusual bits.  Glossary on bits at end.






BENNETT, Deb; PRINCIPLES OF CONFORMATION ANALYSIS; a standard by a Phd in ----who does excellent lectures and seminars on the relation of “form to function”.  Their website states the book covers judging horses, the anatomy basics of the horses, pedigrees, genetics and detailed  analysis of every part of the horse.



EDWARDS, Gladys Brown;  ANATOMY AND CONFORMATION OF THE HORSE--a very straightforward, basic book on what are desireable conformation features and the reasoning behind this from a breeding and performance perspective.

    Can be hard to find; Albris books on line occasionally has a copy.


Froissard, Jean; EQUITATION; 1965; Wilshire Book Co., California.  Excellent section on conformation (hippology) with diagrams and explanations.


Smythe, R.H, MRCVS; THE HORSE STRUCTURE AND MOVEMENT; copyright 1967; JA Allen and Company, Ltd., London; Second Edition-revised by PC Goody, B.Sc., Ph.D.

The author states that the this book was written "in response to a great many requests from breeders and judges, owners and exhibitors...".

Mr. Goody states that he tried to retain the original tone of the text in that it was written for the lay reader.

However, he has added information from veterinary sources, and so hopes that the audience will include vet student and surgeons.

Book is divided in three sections---Bones, Surface of the Horse, The Horse at Rest and at Motion, and Some Thoughts about Conformation.

Includes basic diagrams. 








Dressage equitation

   See dressage training books

Froissard, Jean

Podhajsky, A

Seunig, W.



Hunt Seat equitation

    Morris, George; Hunter Seat Equitation; 1990.  Most recent version of the winningest coach of Maclay and AHSA Medal finalists, many of whom went on to Open Jumping and the USET.  Mr. Morris still gives clinics, and coaches International Grand Prix jumping riders.  He himself was the youngest rider to win the Maclay and AHSA medal finals, and was on the Rome Silver medal Olympic team.  Excellent progressive classical program; diagrams; pictures.


    Richter, Judy; Horse and Rider; 1979.  Ms. Richter has been a prominent and successful coach of medal winners, head of the AHSA Equitation committee, and trainer-competitor.  This book covers some general topics too.


Saddle Seat equitation

    Crabtree, Helen; Saddle Seat Equitation;  The “definitive” book on Saddle Seat Equitation by the coach-trainer of numerous Medal winners and Equitation World Champions.


Stock Seat equitation

See Western Training







Note that often “training” is not completely categorizeable.  Many dressage instructors will be top notch hunter-jumper trainers, and vice versa.  Many Western trainers, esp. since the development of “natural horsemanship” use classical dressage principles.  So there is a lot of overlap.  These are categorized according to what I consider to be their primary emphasis.





XENOPHON is difficult to classify.  He is probably historically the most famous horseperson, dating from the Greek BC time.

At the same time, he elucidates principles of equestrian skills that have endured the test of centuries--so in reading it, you can still learn something.  Some things never change!

XENOPHON; The Art of Horsemanship; copyright 1962—JA Allen and Co.; original English publication JM Dent and Co. in 1894.  Translated by Morris H. Morgan, Phd, Asst. Prof. “in” Harvard University.

If you have not heard of Xenophon, he is considered the most classic of the classics on horsemanship, and wrote this book during a time that horsemanship was a practical and necessary skill, in addition to an aesthetic practice.

That was twenty-four centuries ago.

As Prof. Morgan states “Even after more than twenty three centuries it is still, in the main, a sound and excellent guide for so much of the field it covers.”  Whether Mr. Morgan is a horse person or not, many knowledgeable horse people do share that view of Xenophon.

Included are some notes on Greek riding horses, reproductions of Illustrations of the Horse in Classic art.

This translation includes further references to books and treatises on Greek riding, mostly published during the 1800’s for the more scholarly inclined and those further interested in such.

A true classic about classic training for the serious horseperson.







DRESSAGE Training and Riding


DECARPENTRY, General; Academic Equitation; originally published 1949, translated from the second edition, 1977.  This is an often overlooked book, even from the classicists, and even tho General Decarpentry was an International competitor and instructor, judge, etc. for many years.  His background is from the Samur Cadre Noir school in France (his grandfather and father studied with Baucher).  Like many equestrian competitors of this time, he was part of the Calvary.  Provides excellent basic info, diagrams, etc. of training from start to Grand Prix. Specific topics of interest: sections on the “mise en main”—relaxation of the mouth; “the ramener”—proper bend of the neck with spinal diagrams;ground and in-hand training; lunging.



Froissard, Jean; EQUITATION; 1965; Wilshire Book Co., California.  This book has is oriented to the instructor and student of dressage.  Col. Froissard is quite technical in his terms, and insists from the beginning on semantic accuracy, particularly in accord with the FEI.  So, interestingly it starts with a Glossary of Terms.

From there proceeds to starting the horse, basic training and schooling—lots of good diagrams of school movements and exercises—selecting the horse (Has an excellent section on conformation with diagrams and explanations) and  starting riding to advanced showing (little lightweight on this).  A final chapter entitled “The lighter side” has some pointers on stable management and group activities for riders—adults and children—ranging from exhibition to games.

   Some most interesting pictures of historical value—including many from Col. Alios Podhajsky, and some of interest to equestrian art buffs.





MUSELER, W—see Jumping



PODHAJSKY, ALIOS; best known as the former Director  of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Col. Podhajsky has published several books on horses, equestrian arts and skills, and training and instructing. Included are:

MY HORSES, MY TRAINERS--this is basically a memoir of Col. Podhajsky's experiences in learning himself to ride and train.  He gives the credit to the fine horses that he has had the fortunate experience to work with during this time, as well as the method and experience of the trainers there.  (For those of you unfamiliar with the SRS, the starting riders get the most experienced horses to learn on and then "move on" to  working the younger horse.  A moving and insightful book.

THE RIDING TEACHER--excellent information and insight into teaching, including a progressive method based on classical principles.

THE WHITE STALLIONS OF VIENNA--this is a tremendous book about the Spanish Riding School.  Primarily a picture record, it shows the horses from pasture to starting schooling to finished performance.  It includes noteables that have visited the SRS too.

The pictures of the classical movements, quadrille, etc. are of the highest standard.  These are the photos that are used to show the "ideal" of the movements such as levade, capriole, etc.



SEUNIG, Waldemar; Horsemanship; orig. pub. 1941; English edition 1956. Seunig trained at the Spanish Riding School and Samur.  Pictures of Col. John Russell cutting across a big oxer; Col. Podjasky; Jessica Newberry; Wm. Steinkraus on the Thoroughbred Rivera Wonder; and an Italian officer exemplifying the ideal “Italian” jumping seat (as developed by Caprilli, considered the founder of modern jumping seat).  As stated in the preface, this book is “intended as a guide and counsel to the trainer of the young horse from the pasture… until the training goal has been reached.”  Covers subjects of training and presents a logical, stage progression.  Includes sections on jumping and “Haute Ecole”.  Excellent discussion on crookedness, the position of horse in terms of longitudinal bend at lateral work, conformation of the horse related to performance, and the rider.






LITTAUER,  Vladimer S.

Mr. Littauer has written several significant books on Forward Seat riding, including the semi-historical account of Caprilli’s  contribution to the modern forward seat in HORSEMANS PROGRESS.


Published 1962 (first edition); D. Van Nostrand Company, Princeton, NJ.



His book, RIDING LOGIC, covers dressage and jumping, however sections on jumping and form over fences are excellent. 

1976; first published 1937; Arco Publishing Company, NY,







WESTERN Training


Connell, Ed; REINSMAN OF THE WEST—BRIDLES AND BITS; copyright 1964; Wilshire Book Company, California.  This is a rather classic book on the California method of training the western-reining horse.  Covers Hackmores-snaffles into the spade bit in terms of training and bitting.  Includes some history.  Good diagrams and pictures.



   Miller, Robert W.;  Western Horse Behavior and Training;  orig. published 1974.  Covers all aspects of training and riding “Western style”.  Includes excellent discussions on equine behavior, use of aids, etc.  Specialized sections on saddles, knots, etc.


Taylor, Louis; RIDE WESTERN; copyright 1968; Wilshire Book Company, California. Subtitled “A Complete Guide to Western Horsemanship”. First part covers basics of pleasure-equitation riding; includes some discussion of hackmores.  Then into training which he divides into “Old” and “new”…old being basically “bucking them out” and “new” being gentling and some info on the California method of hackmore training and starting a horse.  Then into western performance events like reining, cutting and some so on.  Final section on equipment












site copyright ler 2004



site copyright ler 2004