Horse Books

Amanda started a hop about horse books and what we have in our personal libraries. I realize that this isn’t about horse fiction or poetry, or coffee table books, but I am including those anyway, mainly to demonstrate the slightly outdated and somewhat eclectic nature of my equestrian book collection. Although I am a librarian, my personal book collection is completely disorganized.

First, my recent favorite … who else shelves the Klimkes in between Faulkner and Jean Valentine? I love raised poles/tiny jumps and work over them frequently with Eli. I find at the walk to be the most challenging because Eli doesn’t so much walk as he does mosey, so he has to pay attention and march with the cavalletti.

Next is this little group. I use the Linda Allen one A LOT for ideas. Also, The Ultimate Horse Book … where do I start? This was exactly the type of book I spent hours poring over as a tween and teen. And it has some quirky gems that when I see them now, I’m like, did y’all just make this up?

Anyone familiar with this breed? Don’t worry, the book also has practical information, too. Such as recognizable breeds (apologies to any Furioso devotees out there) and illustrations of gaits.

I studied gaits pretty thoroughly in book form, less thoroughly in real life until I had my first horse. It’s immensely helpful to me to see the footfalls drawn out explicitly so I have a mental image to go along with what I can (or can’t) feel under saddle.

Another coffee table book? I am not sorry. This one is gorgeous.

I have required horse person fiction shelved with … other stuff.

Not to worry, though. More reference volumes, coffee table books, and classics are in my collection. You can see the riding books slant toward the hunter/jumper end of things, with bits and pieces of dressage stuff. I also have early editions of a lot of the reference/care books. Newer ones are available, so my collection might not have the most recent knowledge or best information, but what an interesting time capsule, complete with advice on ear-twitching foals … ew. But the George Morris and the Anne Kursinski are crucial for h/j types.

Speaking of crucial, more Morris and some Steinkraus grace my pile of what I’m reading right now. Or trying to read. And not fall asleep dreaming of puffins and sled dogs (I haven’t gotten very deep into the Shackleton yet so it’s quite pleasant so far).

Does Ariel count because it was the name of Sylvia Plath’s horse?

Back to reference. This is a well-worn tome that I arduously studied as a youth. I am sort of a sucker for information presented in encyclopedic format complete with color illustrations — I have similar books on birds and rocks and dogs. There lives within my brain a tiny little Victorian-era naturalist that I must sate on the reg.

I mentioned bits and pieces of dressage … really, just this book and the Klimkes stand out to me. This post also reminded me to order the Xenophon, speaking of classical horsemanship. So that will be added to my pile of nightstand books.

Got say it: you may as well skip the Billy Collins. I have no memory of even reading it, it stood out so little to me. The Monk is a really goofy, fun Gothic romp, though.

I have the 2001 edition of this title and I think a 2007 edition is available, and I am sure even more recent information is available, but this book emphasizes the importance of forage in the equine diet, and I highlighted lots of stuff in it.

More hay, everybody. More hay. But do you see the line just above where I highlighted? Yeah, no, we can and should actually give water after exercise. Unless it’s really hard exercise, then I think it’s more of a tailored plan among rider, owner, and veterinarian to provide water safely in smaller amounts after crazy difficult workouts like upper level xc. That could be what the author was getting at, but the lack of clarification could be cause for continued confusion over whether to offer water to horses after exercise — for a very, very long time we were all told not to, in many cases by otherwise knowledgeable horse people we looked to as mentors and teachers. Like I said, time capsule. Eli gets to drink water out of one of those little 8-qt. buckets before and after exercise.

The book also presents data in easy-to-understand charts and other illustrations. This might actually be the most-used book of my collection, so I should probably seek out a more recent edition or any other new books on equine nutrition.

So my collection of equestrian books is pretty all-over-the-place, both in topic, tone, and physical location on my book shelves.

Rain Break

It does not rain in Texas in August, except maybe for a few days if there is a hurricane making landfall.


Eli has done a whole lot of nothing this week. I couldn’t even get to the barn on Tuesday after work because of how bad the weather was. This is truly the most bizarre rain event I have experienced in Texas, because really, it does not rain like this in August ever. May? Yeah. October? Sure. But in August, Texas is typically a parched swath of burnt grass, the oppressive sun frying everything at 102F on a daily basis.

Luckily, last evening, we got a break from the rain for a bout 20 minutes–long enough to stick Eli in the round pen, which was really only muddy on one side … I didn’t work him, I just let him wander around while I did some yoga in the middle. I hope I can ride him tonight in the fields!

In the meanwhile, my mom has been going through some old stuff and found this gem:


My interests were clear from a young age: horses and The X-Files. And possibly trucks. Also unearthed are some kids’ books, one of which is an exquisitely illustrated book of nonsense verse.


Again, featuring horses. Or donkeys …


The look of utter scandalization on the pig’s face at the donkey not requesting a finger of Scotch is pretty much a look that ends up on my face daily for any number of reasons.

I have also been passing the time by pinning some equestrian fall style ideas. I am super into camel & grey with accents of wine & coral. So much grey. All the grey.

Hopefully next week I can get back to riding! While I invite the cooler temperatures to stay, I would like it if the rain could just hold off until after a September 10 schooling show I want to go to.

Holiday Weekend Recap

The weekend started on Friday afternoon when I left work early to meet up with Eli’s massage therapist so he could get mushed on again. This time, the therapist started with the right side and got much further in his right hind area than she had last time, so that’s progress!

right stifle! from patentlybay on Vimeo.

I had a meal and drinks with friends Friday evening, and tried more doughnuts, this time at Voodoo Doughnuts and ohmygodallthesugarallofitALLOFIT.


Saturday, Eli just got a light hack and felt pretty much fantastic–very loose under saddle. I just want to add here a note about my Ariat tall boots, as an addendum to my review of them. They are wearing really, really well. The leather, which at first I thought of as too thin and a bit papery, is now soft and supple. Additionally, the leather has developed a gorgeous patina. Definitely getting much more out of this purchase than I expected and the boots are less than $300. I still strongly dislike the zippers, but they are holding up.


Sunday, I jumped Eli around just a little bit–maybe a total of 20 jumping efforts. Six of those were through an in-and-out. One of those six efforts Eli gave to me as charity and I have no idea how he managed to save my ass and clear the oxer but he did. I mean, it was U G L Y. The remaining efforts through the in-and-out were basically flawless from my perspective because he really had every right to throw me to the dirt, but nope, he jumped anyway. Thank you, horsey.

Eli had a well-deserved spa day on Monday, and he’s getting some fun things in the mail this month so be on the lookout.


The long weekend also allowed me a little extra time to get some reading in, so I read Tug of War by Gerd Heuschmann and again looked through Cavalletti: For Dressage and Jumping by the Klimkes, father and daughter. I recommend both books very highly. Tug of War resonated strongly with me as insightful, direct, and powerfully thought-provoking and I think all equestrian sports need voices like Dr. Heuschmann’s. The book provides a number of helpful and interesting illustrations and at 135 pages I easily devoured the book in a few hours and I am sure I will re-read passages from it over and over.


Cold Holidays, Warm Sweaters

starlightChristmas, come back! I need more time off to recover from time off.

lensflareweenieOver the break from the M-F grind, I rode when the weather wasn’t rotten, and for one ride it was rotten. I took Conrad out on walks, too, also when the weather wasn’t rotten. Lots of damp and blustery days over the long weekend that otherwise might have kept me inside, left me a bit tired, and also I have a cold that has settled into a lovely chest cough.

diggingBut Christmas was ever so enjoyable, and I got lots of cool stuff, including some books–maybe a few of which I might review.

booksI tried to have a lesson on Saturday, but north wind blowing rain into my face and Eli’s pretty much convinced me to call it quits. Eli was totally game, and wanting to play and maybe even go for a bracing gallop, but I just wanted to curl up with a hot toddy.

suchafaceIt rained even more on Sunday, and I thought for sure I’d be hand walking, but the footing held up, so I got in one last vacation ride, and jumped a few jumps just to make sure Eli didn’t forget his job. He may have thrown in a few dolphin leaps instead of canter strides, but if we get to the jump, he jumps. He seems to enjoy the cold, at least for a while. I’m going to ride tonight, too, because the weather looks to be taking a downhill turn starting on Wednesday.

windywalkI’m over winter at this point, but it’s still just December.

thinkingI think I have finally settled on a breastplate & running martingale set up that I like, after trying, oh, about 7 different ways. So I may have some breastplates with running attachments for sale soon… I can’t decide if I want to keep them as back-ups, at least until I get a new saddle, because I may like a different set up with a different saddle.

doneridingI hope everyone had a fantastic holiday! On to the Internet window shopping of all the sales!

A simple grid is not so simple!

A few weekends ago, I set up a simple grid with the help of my coach. I love grids! Done right, they build confidence and develop skills for horse and rider. I get great ideas andΒ  exercises to build out of Linda Allen’s 101Jumping Exercises for Horse & Rider.

Eli can trail with his hind end a bit (major understatement), and a grid helps us so that he rocks back and jumps the jump, instead of just cantering over it. A grid also helps me not mess with my hands so much. The farm’s owner was kind enough to film us through a grid about 10 times, while my coach made slight modifications after each time through. The three video highlights below go from beginning, second to last, and last time through. Between the beginning to second to last, Eli and I had a few derpy moments, but mostly he jumped through it smoothly and I mostly stayed out of his way. And I’m glad I finally have film of me on him–I noticed right away I have a tendency to lift my right hand and collapse my right shoulder simultaneously, so my upper body kind of twists to the right, which is why Eli drifts left out of turns. Duh. Gotta fix that!

First go … not too shabby:

first go.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

Too much coming in … WAY too much! What was I thinking?? Sorry, buddy! I should have said “WHOA!”

toomuchcomingin.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

The Power of Whoa … need I say more?

powerofwhoa.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

The next weekend, we worked on rollbacks, and he jumped some jumps that felt great, and my coach said they looked pretty amazing. He even jumped me out of the tack a little over a Swedish oxer. Favorite problem to have! Wish I had filmed that, too!