Veteran eventing coach Jim Wofford suggests books to boost your knowledge in the off-season.

In case you haven't looked outside recently, it's still winter. It gets dark early and there's not much going on. So, read a book. As a matter of fact, I want you to read three books over the next three months. Read one on dressage, one about stadium jumping and one of your choice. Obviously I think my own books have something to offer to you, and I expand on my extended reading list below. However, a good place for you to start would be with Wilhelm Museler's Riding Logic for your dressage book. (Herr Museler includes some advice about show-jumping in the back of Riding Logic--ignore it.) If you have not read Bertalan de Nemethy's Classic Show Jumping: The de Nemethy Method, then do so.

For your third book, I prefer you choose one that discusses technique and training rather than one that is autobiographical in nature. There are many autobiographical books out there based on the writers' horse exploits, and they are fascinating and fun to read, but they usually do not increase your knowledge of how to ride and train the way books specifically written for that purpose do.

Here is my expanded reading list to further your riding education while you wait for good riding weather to return. 

For my continuing education in dressage, I would read one of the following:

  • Riding Logic by Wilhelm Museler
  • Academic Equitation by Gen. de Carpentry
  • Complete Training of Horse & Rider by Alois Podhasky
  • Practical Dressage Manual by Bengt Lundquist
  • Advanced Techniques of Dressage by the German National Equestrian Federation

If you have read any three of the dressage books above, then consider reading one of the following:

  • Centered Riding by Sally Swift
  • Riding Toward the Light by Paul Belasik
  • Basic Training of the Young Horse by Reiner Klimke

For my show jumping continuing education, I would read one of the following:

  • The de Nemethy Method by Bertalan de Nemethy
  • Reflections on Riding and Jumping by William Steinkraus
  • Training Show Jumpers by Anthony Paalman
  • Training Hunters, Jumpers and Hacks by Col. Harry D. Chamberlin
  • Jumping is Jumping by Jane Wallace

Again, if you have read several of the above works, then you might consider reading one of the following:

What is on my own reading list for this winter? I usually return to one of the above list of books from each section and re-read it. I am always amazed at what I pick up on further inspection, that I missed the last time I read it. I plan to re-read Blyth Tait's book, Eventing Insights, which is not on the list above solely because of space limitations. Then I will read Training the Modern Jumper by Elmar Pollmann-Schweckhorst. Currently, I am almost finished with Dressage for the 21st Century by Paul Belasik. I always find that after a winter season spent reading and thinking about my riding and training, I am ready to go when the new season starts.

This article was originally published in Practical Horseman in 2008.

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