Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two Horsemanship Books

Both these books are great resources for the first-time horse owner as well as equine trainers and instructors. The authors explain their theories in easy-to-understand language and include many illustrations. Both books were published by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. in 2009.

Lyons on Horses by renowned trainer, John Lyons, shares his philosophy on horses as well as his successful training methods. As he says in the first line of Chapter One, "I want my horse to be my partner."

Lyons Conditioned-Response Training Program has been utilized (and sometimes modified) by horse trainers for the past decade. He stresses the importance of safety and creating goals, and doesn't believe in restraining devices.

Lyons explains his training methods, from the use of the round pen as a teaching tool, through halter breaking and sacking out, and correcting problems such as unwilling trailer loading. He describes the process to introduce a horse to its first saddling and first ride, and gives exercises for in the arena and on the trail for all levels.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Introduction by Rick Lamb.


Learning to Ride, Hunt, and Show by Gordon Wright was reprinted at the suggestion of George H. Morris, who was one of Wright's riding students. Love Morris' Intro, too!

I remember reading the first printing of this book back when I was beginning my Unicorn Stables in Salisbury, MD and later I reread it while the Riding Director at Bryn Mawr Summer Camp in northeast, PA. Wright's explanations of equine terminology and proper horsemanship for beginners through advanced were invaluable in my riding programs.

I taught my students the use of the four natural aids, the many types of rein contact, the differences and uses of the two point and three point positions, and the phases of jumping an obstacle - all learned from this book.

The final chapter explains Advanced Horsemanship - such as F.E.I. rules, Fox Hunting and Pony Club tips.


dazey said...

Lyons is a well-known horse trainer who has made a lot of money with his dvd's and books and clinics. This is also true of other "natural horsemen" like Parelli or Anderson and many others who have shows on tv in order to promote their products. I would ask that you review a small paperback Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse with subtitle of Eliminating the Fear Factors. The reason I ask this is that this book comes not from a famous professional horse person intent on making money. Instead it comes from one with a much simpler agenda..a desire to share logical, concise information about teaching horses in order to benefit not only riders/handlers but horses themselves. It describes how to relate to a horse as its alpha-mare herd member in order to communicate in ways a horse can clearly understand. It describes methods of teaching without using the fear factors of traditional training, including those of the "natural horsemen". It shows how teaching a horse is actually very simple and easy with a minimum of equipment, and it shows how the most important requirement is patience to keep to an ongoing process that can result in something truly unique; such as, eliminating fear factors for the rider! Look for this book on or from the author at

Sharon Miner said...

Thanks for your comment. I did not choose these books; they were sent to me by the publisher.

I agree that simple is often best; Lyons states in the book that he uses the KISS method. Just because he's "intent on making money," doesn't mean that all his theories are wrong.

When I read articles and books on horse training, care etc, I take from it what works for me, and disregard what I don't believe in.