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horse fiction or poetry, or coffee table books, but I am including those anyway, mainly to demonstrate the slightly outdated and somewhat eclectic nature of my equestrian book collection.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.

Fitting In Some Jumps

Weather in Texas rarely cooperates so sometimes you have to take a chance at getting things done in between storms. Fortunately last week I was able to ride Eli a few days, and I was off work on Monday of this week. I asked my trainer on short notice if she had time to help me with Eli over fences which resulted in a very brief jump school over those fences in the arena that had suitable footing around them. Around a few of the jumps, the footing was still too dicey, but Eli and I managed to pull out some SUPER SASSY efforts over the fences that had decent footing around them.

white line sass from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Horse still jumps? Check. Rider stays on throughout? Check.

blue line sass from patentlybay on Vimeo.

Tuesday he had his teeth attended to, which is just as well because it rained some more.

Maybe this Saturday I can get an actual lesson in the actual arena with actually good footing. Not going to hold my breath, though.

Weenie Wednesday: So Much Walking!

I may have worn out Conrad.  He got to take a long walk up to the park and back 5 days in a row. He has short legs, but he moves them quickly. By Tuesday morning, I think he was glad he didn’t have to walk all the way up to the park and back before breakfast.

strutting from patentlybay on Vimeo.

freedom! from patentlybay on Vimeo.

I also bought some different treats for Conrad — the Tomlinson’s near my house changed up some of the treats they carry, so I am trying these for Conrad.

I am familiar with Bocce’s, and Conrad has liked other treats from them. I haven’t tried Sojos until now, and Conrad seems to love these. The Sojos freeze-dried venison treats and lamb treats both had a very high fat content, so I opted for turkey.

Dream Horse

A while back, Olivia posed the question, “what is your perfect horse?” I thought about this a lot and kept coming to the same conclusion.

My desires are simple — I like thoroughbreds that can jump well. I prefer a gelding, and something in the brown category, probably 16hh, and something with genuine streak of wanting to try. I thought about what if money were no object and I could import or breed something with tons of scope and an amateur-friendly attitude. What if I could get one that doesn’t colic and never goes lame. Or if I could have a young one with proven success in competition and we could go over to Europe and blah blah blah.

That’s a lot of ifs, and I hate flying … don’t think I am not drooling over Diarado progeny at this point, but I also recognize dreaming within my limits is ultimately much more satisfying because I can live those dreams.

Derbies are not off the table.

My severely-biased reality is this: I have my dream horse. For a little while, after I sold a very successful adult/children’s jumper, I lost some interest in riding and all interest in competition. I was simply happy to hack around on whatever sale horses needed some exercise and my interest in jumping waned. I didn’t feel like I would have a budget to accommodate horse ownership any time soon. I didn’t want to quit riding, but I didn’t want to go anywhere with it, either. And then I rode Eli, just one idiosyncratic TB in a string of sales horses. He carried a lot of baggage, reacted melodramatically to just about everything, and sometimes became difficult to handle even for the simplest tasks (like picking out his hind feet …). Even so, we clicked. He reignited my interest in really riding, jumping, I even started to think about horse shows again. I still remained in riding limbo for a long time, but Eli stuck around long enough for me to informally half-lease him. Then, in my opinion, circumstances became such that he needed an owner. I am that owner.

Safety orange is the new black. But wait! The barn owner called them “tan.” I’m going with it.

He fits my simple dreams of a bay thoroughbred gelding with a nice jump and decent gaits. I am grateful for the opportunity to own him, and I look forward to whatever adventures we end up chasing down the road. What more could I ask for?

Weekend Rides

Eli feels pretty good under saddle now, and I’ve started reintroducing small fences. On Saturday, he felt quite pokey, and didn’t do anything out of the ordinary even cantering a small gate twice.

right lead canter from patentlybay on Vimeo.

On Sunday, he stayed relaxed over a cross rail, and I bumped us up to trotting in and cantering out a line of very small fences. But the oxer … SO EXCITING. Whether he was throwing a tantrum or celebrating, who knows, but I made sure to get through that line without theatrics after the oxer, which took a number of tries. But the last two times were where we need to be — he got a lead change the second to last time with minimal head tossing, and landed very politely the last time.

line1 from patentlybay on Vimeo.

line2 from patentlybay on Vimeo.

line3 from patentlybay on Vimeo.

He gets today off, and I am hoping to do an hour of alternating marching and relaxing walk under saddle Tuesday, but chances of rain are up so that might have to change.