Willowview Hill Farm

Yay or Neigh

Yay or Neigh??

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The Horses Who Made Me. MSRP: $35.00
A Journey to a Horsemanship Philosophy   
By Alizée Froment

The Horses Who Made Me. 
A Journey to a Horsemanship Philosophy    
By Alizée FromentRiding a horse with no bridle, no bit, and just a neck rope is not something an equestrian does lightly. Well in this case, literally speaking, international Grand Prix dressage rider Froment did just that, showcasing how beautifully horses can be trained without the need for the usual hardware and tack.

The author shares her life’s experiences as both a horse lover and a Mom with an open heart and tender quality to her writing. No doubt a reflection of how she works with her horses. The challenges that she faced transitioning from jumping to dressage and ultimately liberty riding are frankly illuminated and the reader is taken on an inspiring adventure into the many corners of horsemanship.

Detailing her major influencers throughout the development process as a trainer, Froment earnestly comments on the pluses and minuses of the horses that came into her life. Those she sought and those that simply arrived, those she was faced with losing and those that made her more determined than ever to solve the riddle of becoming a better horse person.

A beautifully produced book both in its layout, editing and writing, “The Horses Who Made Me,” is a thoroughly engaging read that travels the length and breadth of a life well-lived with horses.

Equicize. MSRP: $29.95
Progressive, Mounted Exercises That Improve Cardiovascular and Muscular Fitness for Everyday Riders of All Levels
By Sally Batton and Christina Keim    

Progressive, Mounted Exercises That Improve Cardiovascular and Muscular Fitness for Everyday Riders of All LevelsSimple exercises can be powerful body building help for any athlete. In this book the authors cleverly navigate the time and space constraints that equestrians face by providing a host of exercises that are both easy to accomplish and perfect to do anywhere, anytime.

From toning the core to improving leg strength to important balance development techniques, the spiral bound easy access book offers programs for daily routines that are accessible for riders of all ages.

Throughout the book QR codes provide a quick video option to help define the exercises and key in on important pointers to help ensure the exercise is completed correctly thus maximizing its benefits.

This title provides an uncomplicated, real-life approach to basic fitness that any rider will appreciate for its quick and easy solution to improving fitness in the saddle. It succinctly addresses all the main aspects of muscular and cardiovascular fitness and is extremely user-friendly. Smart phone scan charts for fitness regimes are included for memory help if you are on the road or out at the barn.

Good job by the authors, their coaching and horsemanship knowledge shines through.

Dear Readers and Riders. MSRP: $27.95
The Beloved Books, Faithful Fans, and Hidden Private Life of Marguerite Henry
By Lettie Teague

Dear Readers and Riders 
The Beloved Books, Faithful Fans, and Hidden Private Life of Marguerite Henry
 By Lettie TeagueThe extensive list of successful horse themed books that Henry produced during her lifetime are known and revered by many folks, not just horse folks. The “Misty” and “Justin Morgan” series are among the best known. The writing career that spanned nearly 80 years of Henry’s life and included 59 titles, was a journey that has not been shared much before this title. And the content in this book, well-written by the established three-time James Beard winner Lettie Teague, brings to life ins and outs of the Henry’s experiences behind the typewriter and beyond, that fans will enjoy discovering throughout the pages.

The background and research for the stories, the inspirational aspect to each piece of work and determined attitude of Henry, forms an interesting storyboard that aspiring writers will appreciate. The biography offers an insight into the private life of Henry but it also informs the reader of the lengths to which Henry immersed herself in her craft and the way in which she built her style and point of view. The book makes a good study for any aspiring author.

There are many photographs, letters and personal notes littered throughout the text, and the reader and rider will discover the wealth of intense workmanship with which Henry honed her wordsmith skills.

This book provides enjoyable read, with a voice that threads artfully through Henry’s life, Teague has accomplished the production of a valuable asset in sharing the life story of such a talented lady. “Dear Reader and Riders,” is a work that offers a neatly told legacy to the beloved writer of horsey titles many of us grew up enjoying.

Dancing with Butterflies by Angelina Natale MSRP $21.95

Review by international level British Grand Prix dressage competitor/coach/clinician Nikki Alvin-Smith.

This children’s title addresses the concept of Katie Behner and Kristen Whittaker’s, “Breathe to Ride,” philosophy and training advice. Written by Angelina Natale, a noted award-winning author of children’s books with her series Sky View Farm Adventures, the young reader will learn simple techniques to manage their nervous anxiety when riding and address how to ‘quell’ the butterfly feeling in the belly that such anxiousness produces.

For advanced riders the methods of NLP {neuro-linguistic programming} are well-known and widely adopted due to their ability to empower us through a psychological approach that helps us achieve our goals and aids us in managing our nervous energy and channeling it in a productive way. As experienced trainers we all realize that similarly, breathing techniques we employ are directly mirrored by our horses, and we can use them to master our mental health and to help our equines and ourselves focus and relax. And we also know that neither horse or rider can truly learn and understand, without a certain level of relaxation.

Sadly, there truly isn’t much written for children in an approachable format that addresses common rider issues such as nervous anxiety and a lack of confidence. Confidence building is more than a riding lesson, it is a life lesson too. It is essential we learn to work with our anxieties and uncertainties and build our self-esteem. As an experienced clinician working worldwide, in addition to the many adult riders I work with I sometimes train young riders and have worked with some individuals throughout their childhood all the way through a successful equestrian career as adults. I know firsthand. that the cornerstone of confidence building for both horse and human begins and ends with their mental welfare. It is a shame it is not more readily realized in the industry.

In this beautifully illustrated book (I applaud artist Jess Bircham who has a great eye for fun equine expressions and romantic landscapes), “Dancing with Butterflies”, the child rider is artfully guided through the process of calming their heart rate and hence demeanor. This technique will help to ensure a happy outcome when challenges present themselves and boost their confidence in their own ability to take charge of negative emotional responses. A good lesson to learn both for success in horse riding and for life in general.

This title is a great idea for a book production series that is well-executed. Every parent of a horse crazy kid should adopt this book as a go-to resource to help their child develop a great basic skill that can carry them forward through the challenges in life that await. I very much look forward to reading the next book in this series and will certainly advocate it on our reading list for young students, and perhaps for some veteran equestrians as well!

Riding Out by Ingrid Klimke MSRP $24.95

Two-time Olympic gold-medal winner Ingrid Klimke, shares with fellow equestrians some neat strategies for training their horses outside of the arena in this handy guide, “Riding Out”. While in Europe and most particularly in the United Kingdom, riding on trails and roads is a part of everyday horse-riding life and training, in the U.S.A. competitive riders often overlook the benefits that both horse and rider can enjoy from breaking out of the arena training routines.

Like her late father before her, Dr. Reiner Klimke, whose formidable achievements in the realm of equestrian pursuits always encompassed training on trails and tracks, Ingrid promotes hacking out the horse as a valuable training tool for a horse’s health and performance as well as a pleasurable experience for the rider.

How to get started and how to utilize hacking out for specific training protocols is discussed in the author’s usual forthright manner, and readers will learn how to progress from working on undulating tracks to crossing water, jumping on the trail and how to ride in a group.

The ubiquitous, “bin day,” where riding through a village with all the varietal sights of people’s garbage bins can make even the most stoic horse pause to take a second look, is often joked about among European road and trail riders as a day to avoid. But as with anything horse training wise, success is all in the preparation. So reading this book before you head out on your recently backed three-year-old or less experienced equine show partner will make all the difference. The performance horse and his focused competitive rider/trainer can both be kept mentally fresh with hacking out. Hitting the trail is a great method to avoid stale attitude issues and lack overall physical well-being that an absence of challenges in environment can produce in the trained horse and rider.

Ingrid Klimke covers multiple aspects of hacking out, including safety and horse and rider welfare; respect for the farmers or property owners’ lands; who should lead and who should follow; engaging in strength and conditioning work including surefootedness and balance; suggested equipment for horse and rider; which rider’s seat to employ when out and about and a host of other good insights.

Like other Ingrid Klimke book titles this one is to the point and not a lengthy read. Approachable and very ‘to the point’ writing makes for easy assimilation of key notes and the author offers good instructions and directions that all riders can take on board and adopt.

A recommended read, especially for the beginner or young rider keen to set up a productive riding experience.

No Bored Horses By Amanda Coble MSRP $29.95
No Bored Horses By Amanda Coble If you are looking for ways to enrich your horses’ lives and alleviate the inevitable boredom that domesticated horses face that often result in unwanted behavior then this is the book for you. It is well-written, well-illustrated and is jam-packed with options and advice, good reasoning and great ideas for keeping your beloved horses happy and healthy.
The movement to allow horses more opportunity to choose how and where they engage with their environment and with other members of their herd is not a new one. But in the book Amanda Coble, a Certified Professional Animal Trainer and zookeeper, offers practical methods for essential enrichment protocols that horse owners can easily employ.
If you want to learn what matters to your horses, why and how to provide what they need then this is the book for you. A thoughtful and responsible title, implementing methods recommended in this book in how horses are cared will certainly enrich many equines’ lives.
Highly recommend.

Life As A Dressage Trainer In Three Countries By Gunnar Ostergaard MSRP $26.95
Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith
Life As A Dressage Trainer In Three Countries By Gunnar Ostergaard MSRP $26.95Ignited in his youth by a passion for horses, Gunnar Ostergaard is a well-known figure in the dressage world. This title chronicles his life journey with horses and the life that surrounded them is beautifully written in approachable style with the help of Pam Stone, a writer of some renown in her own right.
Equestrians will be delighted with this inside glimpse into what making a living with horses is all about, and how relationships with both horse owners and the horses themselves helped shape the life of Gunnar from young lad to experienced Grand Prix level dressage rider.
An easy read that provides interesting insights and down-to earth advice for the rider, along with accounts of past ups and downs in the author’s life. Gunnar presents both an historic overview of how dressage sport and training developed in three nations, as well as notes on how he navigated the horse world together with his beautiful wife Birgit (also a dressage rider), while never losing sight of his homeland of Denmark or the people that helped him along the way.
Many riders and trainers of today have experienced lessoning and training with Gunnar.  He has been responsible for training horses that we may better know as equine heroes under the stardom of riders that saddled up those horses later (sadly, as with all trainers the positive end result is not always credited to the ones that put in the good basics at the beginning of a horse’s career). Gunnar has not just been successful in the ring himself but has passed along his wealth of knowledge to many others empowering them to chart their own success stories.
This book is a lovely read for a rainy day that casts a spotlight on a competitive rider that has well-earned his spurs with a tribute to those that have helped him do it.  

A Horse By Nature – Managing Emotional and Mental Stress in Horses for Improved Welfare By Mary Ann Simonds  MSRP $45.00
A Horse By Nature – Managing Emotional and Mental Stress in Horses for Improved Welfare By Mary Ann SimondsThe beauty of working with horses is there is always more you can learn. Mary Ann Simonds knows more than most on the topic of equine behavior and together with her broadband knowledge of ecology and diligent study, and keen observational skill set this author brings us huge insights into understanding horses.
In this title, “A Horse By Nature”, readers will learn many fresh methods for identifying personality types in horses they own and perhaps plan to buy, discover tools to help them address issues with trust and relationship building with their equines, and a host of other valuable insights into horses and how they function socially and mentally.
Every horse is surely very individual in how it learns and communicates. Thus each horse suffers with very different experiences when trying to figure out us, the human factor. Confidence issues, learning styles, trust concerns and relationship building run the gamut when it comes to working as a performance partner for the horse. Yes, your horse cannot read, so it truly is up to you to do the figuring out part of the equation. And a shortcut that offers such value as this book does is an invaluable resource for the avid equestrian who seeks a better understanding and deeper bond with their equine partners.
Mary Ann Simonds generosity and care in continuing her research, sharing of her knowledge and frank and honest approach in her work is a powerful resource. Pick up a copy of this latest offering, you won’t be disappointed. Even the most ‘learned’ horse folks among us still have lots to learn, whether we know it or not! And when you read this book, you’ll realize that for certain.
Loved it!

Rainy Day Horsemanship 50 Exercises to Do with Your Horse When You Can’t Ride
By Vanessa Bee  SRP $27.95

Rainy Day Horsemanship 50 Exercises to Do with Your Horse When You Can’t RideThis is a compendium of fabulous ground exercises you can use to bond with your horse, train him to respond positively to your cues and help increase his flexibility and suppleness. The author, Vanessa Bee, is a well-respected educator and horse trainer that founded The International Horse Agility Club. In this title she shares 50 skill-building techniques that are handily illustrated so the human contingent can easily ensure they are working correctly and attaining the desired result.
Highly recommend this author and her works. There is so much we can do together with our horses without being mounted and all time we spend with our beloved equines should be a positive and rewarding for both parties as possible. Working these exercises is a great way to spend any day, not just rainy days – though much appreciate the title!
Loved it. Such approachable and easy to accomplish exercises that everyone can master.

Relaxation Exercises for Horses A Guide to Soft, Supple, and Light By Guillaume Henry MSRP $24.95
Review by Nicola Alvin-Smith, International level British dressage competitor/clinician/coach.
Henry is a prolific author of equestrian titles with over 20 books to his name. As a student at the French National School in Saumur, the ‘lightness’ methods he describes and teaches in this title are all very much in alignment with the methods of Nuno Oliveira and similar masters of yesteryear.
The book may be slim, but within its pages is a succinct and definitive resource for the dressage aficionado who wants an uncomplicated approach to the art of the sport of dressage. I have studied both the French and German methods of training in my career, and as we all find out when we delve deeper into the matter, they have more in common than they do differences.
I loved the simplicity and calls to action in this book, and much enjoyed the tone of the writing and matter of fact approach to the subject at hand (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). For trainers and rider alike, this is a handy resource that offers a friendly and approachable method with exercises, resolutions and advice for the equestrian as both teacher/instructor, trainer and student. Its content is laid out in such a manner that returning to refresh your memory on a movement to ‘fix’ an issue, or a method of response for improvement with an aid, can be easily located. Something everyone appreciates in an educational book.
Excellent title. Loved it! “Très bon Monsieur Henry”.

Finding Your Superhorse 8 keys to Developing the Horse That’s Just Right for You
By Lynn Palm with Rebecca M. Didier and Marie-Frances Davis MSRP $32.95

Finding Your Superhorse 8 keys to Developing the Horse That’s Just Right for YouThere’s no question that every horse rider could do more to improve their riding and training of their mount, and Lynn Palm, the ‘mistress’ of all things horse training has been helping equestrians achieve higher levels of competence and confidence for decades. Regardless of your favorite discipline or riding style, horse breed or experience, Palm is always on point when it comes to identifying and resolving key stumbling blocks to rider and horse progress.
This book is beautifully curated by the well-respected Rebecca Didier and Marie-Frances Davis, and artfully organized to ensure a great reader experience from start to finish. Within its wealth of helpful advice you will find cheerful anecdotes from Palm’s past, as well as easy to follow and action keys to unlock sincere improvement in your relationship with your horse. 
A Superhorse by definition under the AQHA is a good all-rounder, a horse that demonstrates diversity in its training. Training your horse to become a Superhorse can be fun and rewarding. The right tools in your toolbox should definitely include this book. Palm has proven over and over again her abilities to connect the dots when it comes to many riding disciplines, and her open-hearted approach will open doors to your equine relationships you never knew were there waiting for you to find.
Recommended read.

Winning With Horses By Shelley Onderdonk, DVM and Adam Snow MSRP $29.95
Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith, international Grand Prix dressage competitor/coach/clinician and sporthorse breeder.
Winning With Horses By Shelley Onderdonk, DVM and Adam Snow A refreshingly honest account from professional equestrian athlete and American polo player 10-goal handicapper Adam Snow and Shelley Onderdonk, his veterinary partner, on what life working with advanced level equines at the top of the sporting world is all about.
Laced with personal anecdotes and a bevy of heartfelt advice, the book is at times reflective and is always brimming with the focus and enthusiasm that an elite and highly successful team always displays.
Topics range from prepping tips for competition, tried and tested remedies and actions to make things go better for both horse and human during travel, competition, and training. The copy offers a world of sincere advice and insight into how making thoughtful and deliberated decisions putting the horse’s welfare first, offers not just a virtuous approach based in integrity, but also delivers a better long-term result for the competitor’s ambitions.
Clearly both authors are stewards of horses and of good horsemanship. Something not so easy to find in modern day competitive sports, but hopefully one that our upcoming hopefuls of equestrian endeavors will realize and take to heart. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it will ultimately serve them and their horses a better life.
Money spent on sophisticated medical protocols to ‘speed up’ or accelerate healing, modalities, medicines, feed, and supplements for improving performance, diagnosis, and treatments available to the well-funded and well-insured horse owners that utilize expensive machines that need to be paid for after all, are not always the esteemed success stories that they are hyped up to be. Kudos to Shelly Onderdonk, DVM and Adam Snow for being frank and open about the realities of the ‘team’ care trap that many advanced riders fall into and then find it impossible to clamber out from intimidated by the untested/unproven methods advocated by their peers.
While certainly the ethical treatment of the horse should always be the driving force in working with horses, the reality of often different. The ethic is misplaced inadvertently for some, and deliberately manipulated for personal gain by others. For some readers these home truths will be difficult to embrace, but for the rest of us, we appreciate the validation, support and knowledge that Snow and Onderdonk have shared and the publisher Trafalgar Square’s fortitude in publishing the material.

The Flying Horse
A girl and her horse learn to soar. By Sarah Maslin Nir MSRP $16.99

The Flying Horse A girl and her horse learn to soar.A charming tale that will evoke childhood memories of grandparents, horse dreams and the challenges 7th grader’s face on a regular basis. The escape that time spent with horses provides in emotional support and also that familiar grounding that any equine aficionado will immediately recognize, is cleverly and successfully delivered in the story of, “The Flying Horse.”
While the storyline jumps from horse to human perspectives, from one continent to another, it follows along with lots of life lessons to embrace within its copy.
Loosely based on the Pulitzer prize nominated NY Times reporter/author’s life, the journey shares experiences dealing with real life issues such as the almost inevitable decline in health our  grandparents may suffer; the dreams, ambitions and challenges of horse ownership; and most importantly how despite our failures or successes at overcoming obstacles to our happiness at the end of the day learning to trust yourself and be you is the way forward.

A Horsey Home By Angelina Natale  MSRP $17.95
A Horsey Home By Angelina Natale  This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book (Jess Bircham) with a story that is inspired by the author’s own experiences with her two daughters caring for horses. The story follows the adventures of a real-life experience at Sky View Farm, NH, when Natale and her family purchase a new barn for their property.
The process of the finding the right horse barn, selecting the best site for its placement, the noisy earthwork, and the delivery of the modular horse barn in two sections via truck and its set up are all artfully shared by the author from the little girl ‘Maggie’s’ perspective.
The child exudes the enthusiasm and excitement that all horse owners share when a new horse barn project is underway, and Maggie takes the reader through the process from start to happy finish when the horses are moved into their new home.
A fun and informative read that children and parents will love, with awesome storyline touches and especially talented artwork.
Look for other Sky View Farm Adventures – Pony Parade and Mudman and Meatball.
Collect them all at

The Horse In Positive Tension
Harnessing Equine Kinetic Energy for Top Performance by
Stefan Stammer                                                                          MRSP $36.95

Review By Nikki Alvin-Smith – International Dressage Grand Prix Competitor/Coach/Clinician
The Horse In Positive Tension
Harnessing Equine Kinetic Energy for Top Performance Thank-you Trafalgar Square Books for publishing this title. A relatable book on the topic of how positive tension can be optimized in the training of both horse and rider is well overdue. Especially a title aimed at riders/horses at every level of accomplishment or ambition in the equestrian world including those horse owners that are perfectly happy to work at home and enjoy backyard horse keeping and ride solely for pleasure. Every horse and rider can benefit from the knowledge contained within these pages.
The kinetic energy in the horse when it moves manifests itself in such varietal ways. For all riders and their support teams it is essential to understand what it is, recognize its vagaries and then magnifying its benefits and minimizing its negative impacts.
The subject is something that many of my mentors have taught me about throughout my career, and in the progressive training to advanced levels both horse and rider need to harness it. As a breeder of Hanoverians, Dutch and Iberian horses for over 20 years the knowledge imparted to me educated gave me the tools to better define what equine bloodlines, conformation types and temperaments to combine in the breeding shed and what horses to buy, as well as how the conformation and mental acuity of a horse could be best harnessed for the best gymnastic development of both horse and ride in harmony during a horse’s upbringing and training.
Stefan Stammer does a brilliant job in this title of bringing a well-illustrated, well written and approachable means of understanding the topic of positive tension. Regardless of whether you ride for competition/pleasure and hopefully both, the basics of muscle training, self-carriage (both horse and rider) and use of practices such as diaphragmic therapies alongside the development of a healthy skeletal structure and great mental attitude is well worth learning about and mastering an understanding to positively influence.
Stammer addresses multiple equine body types, riding disciplines, horse ages, as well as rider types and positions and instructs the reader in possible shortcomings based on inner and outer observations. He offers a scientific approach to the study of the movement of the horse and rider’s juxtaposition and offers tools to help resolve or mitigate issues that may cause stumbling blocks in the training progress and correctness of equine athletic development.
Stammer’s background in human physical therapy including sports related injuries/outpatient physical therapy for orthopedic diseases and rehabilitation, along with his considerable knowledge of equine osteopathy will bring a fresh vision to many professional horse trainers/horse breeders and equestrians at all levels.
A must read for anyone that wants to do the best by their horse. I simply LOVE it. Good job!

Neuroathletics For Riders
Innovative Exercises That Train Your Brain and Change Your Nervous System for Optimal Health and Peak Performance
By Marc Nölke    MSRP $27.95

Neuroathletics For Riders An outstanding book that every rider should read and put into practice the wealth of knowledge shared by the author. These 40 simple exercises address multiple issues, and most are those that every rider faces.
The experience and success of the author Nölke may not be a household name (yet!) in the U.S.A., but Trafalgar Square Books has provided a super translation of his original German text and brought us a valuable resource as English-speaking equestrians.
Readers can expect to enjoy many benefits and sincere improvements in their riding prowess and communication with their horses, by following this author’s highly attainable methods. Improvement in lightness in the saddle, balance and feel, ability to move with the horse and also importantly, level of relaxation will all result from taking the minimal time needed to execute the exercises in this program on a regular basis.
A truly important book and wonderful resource. Don’t be shy to follow these simple exercises to improve your riding regardless of your age, weight, vision issues, or current ability.

The Training Spiral
Traditional Methods Reimagined for the 21st-Century Horse and Rider 
By Sue Grice MSRP $24.95

Review By Nikki Alvin-Smith
The Training Spiral Traditional Methods Reimagined for the 21st-Century Horse and Rider The traditional training pyramid has long foxed me in my career in dressage to Grand Prix. I agree with this author that a better and more comprehensive approach should be applied that seeks to address real life training issues in individual horses.
In this title Sue Grice does an admirable job of coming up with a more practical coaching and training perspective for the equestrian than the oversimplified ‘training pyramid.’ Cognizant that the pyramid was never meant to be encompass the complexities of training a horse in the classical school methods, the diligent trainer has much work to do researching and resourcing tips for training and ways to read the progress of their horses and the problems.
Grice explains in layman’s terms, how to look at a particular horse’s training in detail and simply and effectively analyze what can be done to aid the horse in improving its correctness and thus lay a better foundation for the next training ‘ask’. This automatically translates to less frustration with next steps for both horse and trainer.
This book is well worth the read, and I loved the matter-of-fact tone throughout the book. In true British style, Grice offers a succinct understatement of how hard training a horse in the classical moves can be and not making a song and dance about it.
Lovely work and a good cornerstone to lay a great foundation for riders in any discipline.

The Sport Horse Problem Solver by Eric Smiley, FBHS MSRP $29.95

The Sport Horse Problem Solver by Eric SmileySmiley, a medal winning Olympic event rider held in high regard in the industry, dishes up some very ‘to the point’ horse training advice in a down to earth manner in this title, The Sport Horse Problem Solver. The author provides a direct approach to importantly recognizing as well as resolving, common training obstacles most riders will face at some point during their equestrian journey.

Help with everything from basics like controlling runaway horses and solving jumping problems to mastering the best scores and benefits of correct dressage work such as renvers and travers are included in Smiley’s cheerful copy. The Britishness of his ‘just get on with it’ manner shines through on a variety of topics and the well-organized layout of the book belies a deeply thoughtful approach to the subject matter.

If you want to take the reins and kick on there is no doubt this title will bring you approachable methods to make improvements in your equestrian endeavors and relationship with your horse, regardless of which riding discipline you favor.

From neophyte to advanced trainer, everyone will learn something insightful from Smiley by reading this book. Highly approachable and an easy read. Highly recommend.

Pole Work For Dressage Riders Building Concentration, Coordination, and Strength in the Horse by Ann Katrin Querbach MSRP $26.95

Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith

Pole Work For Dressage RidersAs an advanced dressage rider/trainer with a strong background in jumping as a teen the subject of jumping poles is close to my heart. My mentor of many years was a professional show jumper called Pat Thorne, who was a ‘trainer’s trainer,’ working with the New Zealand Showjumping Team from her home in England when they came to the Horse Of The Year Show. The team was helicoptered in each afternoon before the big evening events, and style wise some of the riders were rough around the edges. Pat Thorne worked them hard during their visits, as she did us all when we were in her lessons.

Part of Thorne’s training methods encompassed working her young homebred horses across poles. Both in the menage and on the showjumping grass field. This included free work, longe work and under saddle. Obviously, for a horse realizing his hoof placement, building strength and elevation in his gaits and developing his cadence and rhythm is essential for success over fences. But a dressage horse is often denied the experience of working over poles.

In this book Querback addresses the needs of the dressage horse to gymnastize and build strength, but also to keep the horse’s mind fresh and engaged with challenges that develop confidence.

A thorough review of the exercises, caveats and protocol in this book yield a very positive response from this author. While Tellington-Jones brought the use of pole training front and center to members of the German dressage team (while I was fortunate enough to be there doing some intense dressage training at Rehbein’s Grünwoldhof), the use of pole exercises for dressage training is not very common in America from what I’ve seen.

Pole training is not just good for the horse, it is also very important for the rider.

In the advanced dressage training world you often hear mention of developing ‘positive tension’ in the horse, dorsal and ventral muscle development exercises and the importance is the use of the ‘core’ for both horse and rider. Pole exercises are a super way to develop your prowess as a rider in how to ride and manipulate the horse into the correct level of engagement and forwardness alongside the all important strength of the horse and fitness to answer such demands.

Highly recommend. This is a valuable resource that every dressage trainer should utilize.

Never Trust A Sneaky Pony by Madison Seaman’s MS DVM MSRP $22.95

Never Trust A Sneaky Pony Riding along with a vet on their calls is always a learning experience. While many of us struggle to get a vet to come out to see our horses at all these days, this book gives an insider’s look at the daily trials and tribulations of providing ambulatory vet care.

Never the same thing twice, the huge variation in the equine cases presented to one person could be overwhelming. Even the arduous and difficult task of navigating vet school cannot properly prepare an individual for what is to come once they get out in the field.

Seaman shares his experiences ‘warts and all’ in this funny educational book that mirrors the English ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ James Herriot work from this side of the pond.

Lots to learn but also enjoy here. A lovely read and great perspective and earnest insight into a profession that sadly, is rapidly changing in the modern world to the detriment of the horse’s welfare. We’ll all wish we had a Seaman on call, after reading this book!

Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect Horse by Janet Foy with Nancy J. Jones
MSRP $32.95

Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect Horse This updated title is full of answers to a wealth of dressage training questions. Foy offers her considerable experience ( FEI 5* judge, Young Horse Judge and USEF “S” Judge) in addressing correct training of horses of all types and personalities. As most horse trainers are already aware, every horse comes with its own set of special needs and treating the horse as an individual and not quelling the exuberance and efforts of the young horse is essential.

In this book Foy gives honest, straightforward advice on every movement you’ll need to master to compete from basic through Grand Prix level with some interesting notes some trainers may not have considered - where they break from the classical texts we have all read. For example, train the counter-canter after the flying change not necessarily beforehand in some instances.

Nothing beats experience and from her judge’s chair Foy continues to live, learn and share lots of helpful advice with heartfelt empathy. The layout and design of the book is such that each chapter stands alone, so using the book as a quick reference point is also possible. Though the cover to cover read is stellar.

I’ve always loved Foy’s honesty and openness, unravelling mysteries of dressage and always providing such encouragement to riders. Many of us have taken her lessons to heart and improved our work and riding as a result. Something I am sure our horses would thank us for if they could. Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect horse is simply put, a MUST HAVE MUST READ for the dressage aficionado.

Dasuquin with MSM Soft Chews for DogsDasuquin with MSM Soft Chews for Dogs

Avoid this product at all costs. As it is manufactured by a familiar equine supplement company Nutramax the product source seemed reliable. Used it to help manage arthritis for two 10 year old dogs. BOTH animals suffered severe vomiting, and had long terms gastrointestinal issues still not resolved. The company did not respond to any attempts to contact them on this ‘patent pending’ new product, either through their websites, or social media platforms. On research on their reviews on Google we note similar complaints have gone unanswered on some of their other canine product lines. As the company clearly does not stand behind its products or have any interest in receiving important feedback on the negative issues associated with their product line we cannot recommend any Nutramax manufactured products at this time.

Comments from the manufacturer welcomed and may be directed to the Editor of this publication.

Shoeing The Modern Horse by Steven Kraus, CJF, with Katie Navarra Shoeing The Modern Horse by Steven Kraus, CJF, with Katie Navarra MSRP $39.95

Kraus brings to light the complex world of hoof farriery with this horse owner’s guide that spotlights varietal aspects of both hoof care and farriery techniques. The ability to ‘fix’ or resolve issues that occur in horses from birth to the upper echelons of the performance world is closer at hand that many horse owners are aware, and as Head of Farrier Services at the prestigious Cornell University Kraus has a world of experience to share.

The ring bound binder lays neatly flat for reference in the field and the photographs and illustrations are very helpful in demonstrating the advice dished out by Kraus. The techniques may be alien to many older equestrians who have not kept up to date on all that the farriery industry has to offer in the modern day for equine soundness and correction.

Some fun and humor is sprinkled among the pages, and writer Navarra has done a good job of bringing the complexities of hoof care and correction down to earth. A good read with some eye-opening information you won’t want to miss.

Arena Tracks - A Rider, Trainer and Instructor’s Reference for Dressage, Jumping, and Cavalletti ExercisesArena Tracks - A Rider, Trainer and Instructor’s Reference for Dressage, Jumping, and Cavalletti Exercises by Christian Baier MSRP $26.95

This handy little book is jam-packed with information on schooling exercises that everyone will benefit from understanding. Aside from the 50 specific exercises which are super useful, Baier successfully educates us all on a better sequence of events to follow for performance training our equines for both flat and jumping work. Based on biomechanics and gymnastic development, both the horse and rider will find sincere benefits in following the program in this book.

Baier is a true ‘all-rounder’ in the equestrian disciplines and has a wealth of experience that is humbly shared in a logical manner in this title. Easy to assimilate information with excellent graphics and illustrations. A ‘must know’ and importantly ‘must do’ program for those seeking to truly develop a balanced horse and rider partnership that reaches its potential on the flat or over fences.

The Horse Is My Teacher By Van Hargis The Horse Is My Teacher By Van Hargis MSRP $22.95

A frank and open tone sets the stage for a delightful read of horse training wisdom from Van Hargis. Less a slick cowboy and more an earnest horse whisperer, the life lessons horses have taught Hargis are far and wide and reach beyond riding disciplines and horsemanship.

The humility that threads throughout the text is wonderful, you feel as if the author is addressing you in person and without fuss in his own pattern and phrasing, so it carries you along. The sign of good editing,

This title is a refreshingly honest approach to sharing an understanding of horses based on personal experiences that cross Eastern and Western horsemanship and there is something for all equestrians to learn within these pages.

A good read and one not to be overlooked.

For The Love Of The Horse
Looking Back, Looking Forward By Mark Rashid
MSRP $21.95

For The Love Of The Horse, Looking Back, Looking Forward By Mark Rashid MThe horse’s point of view has always been front and center in Rashid’s mind’s eye. His earlier work, ‘Considering the Horse’, was a forerunner of the culture shift in equestrian life where the focus of training centered on the horse’s perspective rather than those attributes we humans assign to the equine.

In this title, Rashid’s storytelling ability and compassion for horses are front and center. In his inimitable style, Rashid takes us on a journey that shares what he has learned over the past 30 years and how he sees the future. His fame as a bestselling author beyond the scope of the equestrian world encompasses non-fiction books, a novel and a major motion picture is well-earned and reflects his enviable talents to draw the reader into a world that surpasses their usual frame of reference.

Rashid’s exploration of the martial art, Aikido, has aided his pilgrimage to learn how to work with a horse in true harmony. Throughout this book you will encounter knowledge that resonates as truths, and lessons you can take into your daily work with horses that increase your mindful appreciation of seemingly minor yet pivotal communications from your horse.

A lovely read that sets the tone for a thoughtful future for the attuned equestrian trainer to develop.

Liberty Biscuit By Melanie Sue Bowles Liberty Biscuit By Melanie Sue Bowles MSRP $12.95

Heaps of messaging in this book that includes life lessons we would all do well to take to heart. An artfully written text that engages the mind and spirit of the reader through an effective voice and page-turning narrative kids will quickly relate to and enjoy.

A purposeful tale that offers solace to kids faced with the sometimes difficult adolescent journey that many experience. In my humble opinion, this title is likely to become an award winning one in the future. Or at least it should.

Wonderful ethics, wonderful story. This book is all wrapped up as the perfect holiday gift from the thoughtful gift-giver with the usual expert layout, editing and design we’ve all come to love and appreciate from the Trafalgar Square house. Love the cover artwork too!

Ages: 9-13

Wiser Concepts InsulinWise Supplement. Manufacturer: Kentucky Performance Products. MSRP – Various from $65 depending on quantity
By Tina Hammond

Wiser Concepts InsulinWise Supplement. This supplement is a blend of polyphenols and amino acids that is designed to support healthy insulin levels in horses. It was recommended by the veterinarian for administration to a 5-year-old Iberian horse, currently suffering a repeat bout of laminitis following an earlier infection with suspected anaplasmosis.

The horse was placed on 30 days of stall rest and the product was administered at 1 scoop per day as recommended on the product on day 3 of confinement. The horse was also on NSAID bute, 2gm per day, no grain, no grass, no hand walking or other activity and diet was 4 flakes/hay a day.

Within several hours of receiving the InsulinWise the horse was literally climbing the walls, rearing, persistently kicking out. and behaving dramatically out of character. As this product was the only change in either his routine or food intake after 2 days of administration its use was discontinued due to the dangers the horse presented to both himself and his caregivers. The horse gradually returned to normal and by 12 -15 hours post administration of 2nd daily dose was back to his usual demeanor.

Note: The attending vet had not blood tested the horse for insulin issues (as the horse had not had the opportunity to be fasted), before recommending administration of the InsulinWise, but was extremely disappointed that the horse owners elected to discontinue its use as in the vet’s medical opinion the horse’s level of obesity demanded a crash diet action and that the product could aid in achieving rapid weight loss and that it should be continued.

We welcome the manufacturer’s input on this review. Please email to supply comments.

The Kid’s Guide to Horsemanship and Grooming By Cat Hill and Emma Ford MSRP $26.95

The Kid’s Guide to Horsemanship and Grooming By Cat Hill and Emma FordThis title is a much-needed resource for the horse loving kid. Every kid should have a copy. Some important but often overlooked protocols are included which were a delight to see included here. Some examples include the right way to measure and fit a bridle and how to correctly place the saddle and girth the horse. The approachable content offers a wealth of information with over 700 photos and easy to follow numbered steps for each task.

Cat Hill and Emma Ford are teachers, trainers and have both enjoyed stellar careers working at the top echelons of equestrian sport as grooms. Their shared experiences offer many handy tips and tricks that a neophyte horse rider would not know together with essential safety methods for completing daily routines. This book is especially helpful as it doesn’t just cover life at home, but also shows and competitions and how to prep for those extra special days.

No horse crazy kid should be without this guide! Their ponies and their family and friends will appreciate the knowledge they gain that will set them up for a lifetime of best practices around horses.

Suitable for ages 8-12 years.

The Quarter Horse Coloring Book By Ellen F. Feld MSRP $9.95

The Quarter Horse Coloring Book By Ellen F. Feld The magic of a coloring book is always a much-appreciated treat for children and this one is chock full of lovely horses (and dogs and an occasional cow) that all tie into the multiple riding disciplines the multi-talented Quarter Horse breed is appreciated for by equestrians world-wide.

A coloring book offers more than just a fun time coloring, it also educates the artist into the lines and shapes of nature and the animals, their movements and how different species interact. This title offers a few maze puzzles at the end to add to the enjoyment and provide a mental challenge. Encourage your youngster to put down the devices and engage in some old school activities that will enhance their appreciation of color, imagery, and horses.

This publisher, Willow Bend Publishing, has a stable of notable children’s books that are also well worth exploring. The price points are always budget friendly, so following along with a series for the reader is not expensive to accomplish. Their titles make the perfect holiday or birthday gift. Ages 7 and up.

Meet The Morgans – The Stars of the Morgan Horse Series. By Ellen Feld Meet The Morgans – The Stars of the Morgan Horse Series. By Ellen Feld MSRP $9.95

The ‘Morgan Horse’ series of books from Feld are based on the real horses featured in this companion book. Over 50 photos reveal all the famous characters from the series, and an additional bonus of over a dozen other famous Morgan horses are showcased that detail success of this breed across multiple equestrian disciplines.

The donkey, dogs and minis are all included too. Kids will love this inside look at the real horses that provide the inspiration for Feld’s engaging books.

Rocket The Miniature Morgan Horse By Ellen F. Feld

Rocket The Miniature Morgan Horse By Ellen F. Feld MSRP $9.95

The award-winning author Feld has done it again with this latest title – she has created a fun story line that will both educate and entertain the young reader. A perfect introduction to the world of horses with a new foal, a lost foal, and a frightened foal. The adventure of course has a happy ending. The book includes some beautiful drawings by Heidi Osgood Metcalf that set the scene and complement the story line. It would be lovely to see more of them! Third grade readling level.



A fun read and a good starter book.


First Aid for Horse and Rider By Nancy S. Loving D.V.M. and Gilbert Preston First Aid for Horse and Rider By Nancy S. Loving D.V.M. and Gilbert Preston M.D. MSRP $12.95

A handy pocket-sized guide you can fit in your saddle bag/grooming kit or pocket that covers emergency care and considerations for both you and your horse.

Quick access to information for medical care and concerns can be critical in times of need and with a super succinct text and some illustration help vet and medical doctor combine their knowledge to offer just that. The title includes everything from heat stress to hoof problems, joint injuries to insect bites and bleeding.

You won’t know you need it until you do so get ahead of the potential problem and put it in your toolbox. It’s not expensive and is light to carry. A very good buy.

Toklat Ground ReinsToklat Ground Reins MSRP $49.95

Recognized as a good brand of tack, Toklat brings an affordable and good quality set of ground reins to the equestrian arena with these 1” wide nylon, flat pair that are perfect for getting started in the art of long reining.

A standard length at 27’ per rein, with silver buckle and stud closures to make on/off and adjustments easy, the nylon flows easily through surcingle rings when in use.

A neat addition to the trainer’s toolbox that won’t break the bank and don’t require frequent tack cleaning. Durable and offer a great value for money.

Jack Russell Terriers and Their Friends By Marilyn Mackay-SmithJack Russell Terriers and Their Friends By Marilyn Mackay-Smith MSRP $14.95

Cutest book ever with super photos throughout. Jack Russell lovers will enjoy this title and it makes the perfect gift for someone you know with a passion for the breed.

Mackay-Smith was a Jack Russell breeder, and her pups were well photographed as a result of her talents behind the lens. Each photo has a wonderful adage to accompany it – pick your favorite from 50!

While it is not a new publication, (2004), it stands the test of time with its lovely content.

Hoof Problems By Rob Van NassauHoof Problems By Rob Van Nassau MSRP 45.00

This is an iconic title in the realm of hoof problems and their care that every farrier or hoof trimmer should read. Horse owners can also benefit from understanding these well-illustrated case studies and general reference information. Guidance is always useful in understanding the seriousness of an issue and the solutions available.

A good quality hard cover issued published by Kenilworth Press USA, and while not a new title
(2010 reprint), the 1000 illustrations and succinct text provide superior insight into this most important of areas in the horse, the hoof.

Highly recommend. Keep it on your reference shelf. You are sure to use it more than once!

Essential Horse Speak: Continuing The Conversation. Fundamental Communications for Training, Riding, and Caring for Your Horse. By Sharon Wilsie. MSRP: $35.00
Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith
Wilsie had done it again! Her book published in 2016, Horse Speak: “The Equine-Human Translation Guide,” broke down barriers between horses and humans and was a real eye-opener for many equestrians. Even experienced horse folks learned something new from her. Her book, “Horses in Translation” was a huge success too. Thus, it is not a big surprise to find publisher Trafalgar Square Books producing another title from Wilsie, and this one includes a stellar quick check resource in the form of a Dictionary of Horse Speak.
When a resource appears on the market that can help advance the communication between horse and human, there is always a rush to get the latest information and reading the pages of Wilsie’s new title for review was a competitive endeavor between our Merry Band at the Catskill Horse. Everyone wants to know how to better develop their understanding of horses.
There are many refinements amongst the pages in this title that follow on from her previous work. The discussion of energy channels, the buzzword break-down, the four ‘G’s, all shine a bright light on how to develop a true bond of understanding and involvement from you horse.
My husband, British Grand Prix dressage competitor, who has made many horses from foal to finished Grand Prix talents, always says, “A trainer should be just 51% of the equation. Cherish the exuberance in your horse, you will need it later.” Working with the horse as an individual, with its own understanding and level in a pecking order, adjusting training to be consistent in allowing development of the horse’s potential is a process that requires patience and understanding.
This book highlights in a very succinct manner just how to go about achieving that, and the rewards are significant. You can start right away and build as you go. People talk about ‘clicking’ with a certain horse or having chemistry with a particular equine, but often are not sure exactly what makes that happen. Wilsie offers a brilliant narrative to guide all horse lovers and help them succeed in developing their horse/human relationship to its fullest potential.
Highly recommend! We’re putting it on our suggested reading list for all our students. Even the advanced ones. We all have stuff to learn!

Penelope Rides Again. By Norman Thelwell. MSRP $12.95

Penelope Rides Again. By Norman ThelwellThe 100th Anniversary Edition of our childhood favorite is here. Repletewith all the fabulous illustration that we have all come to love from the master of equestrian humor, Norman Thelwell, it is wonderful to read the book again from cover to cover. It is as relevant now as it was when it was first published it in 1989. Though of course his cartoons appeared in Punch from 1952.
This equestrian household favorite title will enjoy new life with the upcoming generations and kudos to publishing house, Trafalgar Square Books for getting on it again. They have already published his Pony Cavalcade and Pony Panorama titles, but for horse crazy kids Penelope’s personality displayed so artfully in this book must be a favorite.
Lots of life lesson hidden among the pages. Readers new and old will all chuckle as they turn the pages on this one.

Ultimate Exercise Routines For Riders. Fitness That Fits a Horse-Crazy Lifestyle. By
Laura Crump Anderson MRSP $29.95

Ultimate Exercise Routines For Riders.When it comes to riding working hard to make progress is not just about schooling and training the horse. It’s very much about training ourselves to be the best rider we can be too. Part of that equation necessarily comes down to fitness. Whether we like it or not, our actions in the saddle can easily be hampered in their effectiveness by being unfit. And not being fit can even increase our risk of being hurt or becoming injured.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to want to become a better partner for your horse and improve your level of fitness. But where to find the time? In Anderson’s book she has compiled a super set of easy to accomplish exercise routines that we can fit into our daily schedules without fuss.
The author’s experience and qualifications in physical therapy are impeccable and reading the book and utilizing it as a reference a great way to enjoy having a personal trainer at your side.
Stretching, weight training and cardio are all included but not with the need for expensive equipment or even too much paraphernalia at all. Wise to the amount of time most riders have available to put into working on their fitness off the horse, and how much they have to carry around both figuratively and literally to and from the barn, Anderson has cleverly constructed a book that both explains why we should do what and then offers eight fitness routines and two stretching routines.
Give it a go. It’s easier to accomplish than you might think, and the rewards are excellent.

Grid Pro Quo. 52 Powerful Jumping Exercises from the World’s Top Riders
By Margaret Rizzo McKelvy .
MSRP: $29.95
If you love showjumping and exercising horses over fences in general, then pick up your feet and gallop don’t walk to the store and pick up this book.
Quid Pro Quo offers an amazing selection and pertinent advice on everything gridwork that will help elevate your horse literally to the next level.
A fabulous resource that is well overdue, with input from big names you’ll recognize such as Boyd Martin, Ingrid Klimke and Anne Kursinski.
Well worth the spend. Get busy!

Sequin Hoodie T Shirt White Horses Pink MSRP $45.00

These Texas brand T-Shirts are a fabulous way to add a touch of glamour and show off your love of horses.
This one is a pink hoodie design, and it is made of polyester and very lightweight to wear. The waist is nicely tailored and a modern cut, with a good length.
Only downside is they are not machine washable but given the sequins you would expect that. They wash well, just hand rinse and dry them flat.




The Working Equitation Training Manual. 101 Exercises for Schooling and Competing
By Ali Kermeen. MSRP 29.95

The Working Equitation Training Manual. 101 Exercises for Schooling and CompetingThis title offers a beautifully balanced approach to the increasingly popular discipline of Working Equitation. Clear and concise instruction, graded in difficulty and delivered with care and attention to details, all working equitation aficionados will love this reference book from experienced and accomplished event rider Ali Kermeen.
Neophytes to the sport will find the instructions easy to follow and assimilate not just information on the exercises and how to complete them, but also the benefits and reasons behind each one being included in the program.
If you are a rider hunting for an inclusive sport that is fun to school and train and that you can also compete in if you have the ambition, then Working Equitation will offer you a diverse riding sport that will offer challenges for both horse and rider. It offers a blend of basic dressage moves, Western and English, jumping, dragging logs and bending around poles (garrocha/vara) and a huge variety of tasks to be learned and completed.
Nicely produced book with excellent layout, this is a great title that the sport sorely needed.

Stretch Exercises For Horses Build and Preserve Mobility, Strength, and Suppleness
By Jean-Michel Boudard MSRP $26.95
Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith
Stretch Exercises For Horses This is an amazing resource that should be a part of every performance horse owner’s library. The use of stretching has long been part of my routine in the care of the equine athletes that come into our private yard. Not only does stretching positively impact the physical health of the animal, as Boudard explains succinctly in this book, but it also influences the horse psychologically.
The exercises that Boudard details, with excellent illustrations and considered provisos for when, where and how much stretch to incorporate (knowing when to stop is important), offer not only a means to improve suppleness and mobility but also provide valuable diagnostics that can direct further attention to specific issues before more damage is done.
Prevention is always better than cure. When training dressage horses back in the day under the keen eye of dressage masters in Europe, I was taught the importance of assessment of a horse’s conformation and temperament in how, when and how much, specific gymnastic dressage moves were implemented. A topic close to my heart that I have written about in several publications, including this one, Catskill Horse magazine.
Constant assessment of your performance partner’s health together with active methods to increase your understanding of where it stands on a daily basis can all be aided using stretches.
Taking the time to stretch and prepare a horse before a training session can aid with relaxation of both horse and rider, prevent injury, and provides an important one-on-one time where each can tune in and feel ‘issues with tissues’or muscles/joints etc. that may have arisen.
Boudard’s methods can be utilized effectively from his instructions in this book. While his wealth of knowledge and technique cannot be on hand daily for many of us, this book takes a giant step towards helping riders become more aware of how horses’ biomechanical and mental drawbacks can factor in to whether a horse reaches its full performance potential and facilitates a valuable resolution and prevention strategy.
Kudos to Boudard! Wish he lived closer to my barn. But this is the next best thing.

Riders Of A Certain Age Riders Of A Certain Age Your Guide for Loving Horses Midlife and Beyond
By Fran Severn MSRP $24.95

A passion for horses can be discovered or re-discovered at any age. Taking up the reins or involving yourself in the horse world can be intimidating for the older equestrian.
Fran Severn blasts through all aspects of horse care, acquisition and involvement with Equus, both from the ground and/or in the saddle. Her knowledge of the passage of time and ageism truths hit home. She offers an empathetic note to a topic so many newbies to the present-day horse world face especially for women who must deal with specific issues related to menopause.
This is a no fluff, down to earth book that addresses all the unmentionables – weight, fear, lack of athleticism, finances and family issues.
Your Guide For Loving Horses Midlife and Beyond provides a much-needed resource that will empower riders of a certain age to engage with horses and follow their passion in a productive and meaningful well. 

A Man Walks into a Barn ~ Navigating Fatherhood in the Flawed and Fascinating World of Horses A Man Walks into a Barn ~ Navigating Fatherhood in the Flawed and Fascinating World of Horses By Chad Oldfather MSRP $24.95
“There seems to be a lot less crying at dressage shows,” {versus the hunter/jumper shows} says Oldfather in this wonderful book about his life experience at horse shows while parenting ‘horse crazy’ girls through from toddler to adulthood. This lawyer turned raconteur shares his special perspective on the world of horses with unabashed honesty in a no-nonsense prose that educates and illuminates what it is to be a parent that does more than drops their equine obsessed child off at the local riding barn.
The lessons both Oldfather and his children learned not just about horses, but life lessons and even how he himself could better teach law, reveal much about the ins and outs of surviving and embracing what being around horses and horse people can do for family life.
This title is a great read. Honest and forthright, a guide that every parent embarking on the path of equestrian sport for their children should uncover. There are lots of good reasons to do more than just taxi your child to the barn, and many adults may find themselves immersed learning the many facets that equestrian sport teaches and gain knowledge they didn’t know they needed beyond the techniques that must be mastered to learn how to ride a horse.

Begin and Begin Again by Denny Emerson Begin and Begin Again by Denny Emerson MSRP: $29.95
The Bright Optimism of Reinventing Life with Horses

I love this man. Emerson’s insights into the equine mind and training have always been so ‘spot on’ and he is so open and honest about his experiences over his amazing 70 year career with horses.
Like many of us Denny Emerson has worked with horses across many different equestrian disciplines. In this title he provides inspiration to us all, however fresh or experienced in the horse world we might be. There are many gold nuggets within these pages. Don’t miss this read. It is life affirming and life changing at the same time. Loved it! Highly recommend.

The Athletic Equestrian by Sally Batton and Christina Kelm MSRP: 29.95
The Athletic Equestrian by Sally Batton and Christina Kelm A super resource of hacks and advice for the collegiate rider on everything from sitting the bouncy trot to catch riding techniques to follow for the best ride possible.
Sally Batton brings 30+ years as a successful riding coach in the collegiate arena and beyond, to help every rider, no matter how accomplished or how neophyte, deliver the best performance possible in competition.
Training tips abound within the pages, with my favorite being the wrist ‘sticks’ to help the rider keep their wrists straight. There are great graphics and photos with over 40 exercises that every rider can use to improve their seat, hand and leg aids.
A very useful book that no varsity athlete should be without. Recommended.

Life With Horses Is Never Orderly
Cartoons for Riders Who Are in on the Joke MSRP $24.95
By Morgane Schmidt

Life With Horses Is Never OrderlyHumor never goes out of style and Schmidt’s cartoon book highlights the fiascos that many of us that share a passion for all things Equus will have experienced firsthand.
The book offers lots of amusing notes that horse lovers will enjoy. Some favorites spotted include the cartoon on “Temporary Stalls = Perpetual Disaster”, and “The Most Dangerous Part of a Dressage Show: The Awards Ceremony.”
Something for the horse crazed reader of all ages within the pages. Cartoon artwork is high quality and lifelong horse woman Schmidt brings her developed sense of humor to the text.
A fun and engaging read. Recommended.

The Gates to Brilliance
How a Gay, Jewish, Middle-Class Kid Who Loved Horses Found Success
By Robert Dover MSRP $24.95

Review by: Nikki Alvin-Smith

The Gates to Brilliance
How a Gay, Jewish, Middle-Class Kid Who Loved Horses Found Success
By Robert Dover Dressage aficionados across the globe recognize our multi-time medal winning Olympian and USA team Chef D’Equipe, Robert Dover, as a leader in the sport.

Dover’s book, Gates to Brilliance, charts his life choices and experiences both in and out of the horse world in a brilliantly honest and frank manner. Dotted with humor and many relatable moments, Dover shares the highs and lows he has experienced both at home and abroad on the Big Tour and beyond.

As a dressage rider, ‘coming of age’ (so to speak) at the same time in history, Dover’s trot down memory lane mirrors my own less glamorous career in the sport. Stories of training with the great master Herbert Rehbein, buying horses in Germany from good and bad sources, owning horses of the same pedigree and many other fond memories of how it ‘all went down’ back in the 80’s through to today.

The book is written with a nod to advice for self-improvement that both riders and non-riders alike will enjoy. Perfectionism, self-doubt, self-awareness and other personality factors that many of us relate to are discussed and laid out as various ‘gates’ that can be jumped over, walked through or around. Dover highlights how he utilized the myriad of obstacles and issues he faced to help guide the reader to find their own best potential as a human being.

Reading The Gates to Brilliance elicited much emotion, from tears to laughing out loud and lots of nodding to self in agreement. When a book is able to bring such a response you know it is well written and a good read.

As my fellow dressage riders know all too well there are times in life both in and outside of the arena when things don’t go to plan. It is not what happens in life it is about what you do with what happens. Highly recommend Robert Dover’s book for its inspirational note and its inherent honest, kind, compassionate voice.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Zen: The Anatomy of a Perfect Crime  MSRP: $13.95 (paperback)
By A Wilson Steele

Zen: The Anatomy of a Perfect CrimeAuthor Andrea Steele brings us Book 2 in the Griegg/Eastwood Mysteries in this title Zen. As the name suggests, karma factors heavily in the ultimate outcome of the shenanigans that are laid out in a twisted plot of intrigue and dangerous exploits in this horse-laden tale.
Steele is a gifted writer that knows horses well and the life that people around them lead. With an obvious design to parry the success of the renowned writings of the late Dick Francis, Steele guides us through the show-jumping discipline and Olympic level sport as a backdrop in this novel rather than the Thoroughbred racing world Francis knew well and wrote so finely about in many of his books. That being said the book will appeal to both equine aficionados and the larger mainstream audience, with its global travel and historical appeal.
Steele’s talent lies in her ability to weave a complex plot with well-developed characters that engage the reader to turn the page. A perfect blend of the Da Vinci code mystery mixed with a good dose of British/Canadian writing style and eloquence.
This title is a fine read and the perfect book to pick up on a rainy afternoon.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

From the Horse's Point of View Beyond Natural Horsemanship: Horse Training's New Frontier MSRP $24.95

Andrea Kutsch guides the reader through her ‘Evidence-Based Equine Communication‘ (EBEC) natural horsemanship program, a program she developed after many years of working with problem horses. Realizing that the horses, including many she trained with at the world-renowned Paul Schockemohle farm in Germany, are not ‘problem’s at all. Rather they have developed defense mechanisms to cope with stress and confusion that trainers put upon them.

Inadvertent miscommunication with horses happens - and Kutsch explains better ways to address the anxiety in horses and develop a training relationship based on reading the signs that the horse is giving us.

Gestures, noises and mannerisms horses exhibit all serve as important assets the knowledgeable trainer can interpret to better determine when to hold, when to step back in training and when to move forward.

Kutsch clearly has empathy for the horse, and her EBEC program is well worth investigating if you’d like to bring horses up to reach their best potential.


This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

On The Hoof ~ The True Tale of a Man, a Horse, and an Unforgettable Journey
by Jesse Alexander McNeil MSRP 22.95

On The Hoof ~ The True Tale of a Man, a Horse, and an Unforgettable Journey
by Jesse Alexander McNeil MSRP 22.95This book is written in a no-nonsense manner and is direct and to the point. It chronicles an amazing story of a 3800 mile adventure of a neophyte horseman and his horse Pepper as they traverse the USA from the sandy shores of the Pacific on the West Coast to the white ruffled waves at Hampton Beach in New England.

There are some keen observations and life lessons to be learned from Jesse’s frank writing.
The kindness of strangers is evident at every turn of the trail: the puncture wound the mare suffers as they attempt to cross a barbed wire fence and the sheep farmers that help them out after a long slog to find help; the gift of food and shelter; training Pepper to drive and lots more.

The journey was certainly a test of man and beast. The gritty and honest narrative opens your heart. A good read!

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Ride Big ~ The Ultimate Guide to Building Equestrian Confidence MSRP $24.95
by John Haime

Ride Big ~ The Ultimate Guide to Building Equestrian ConfidenceBuilding mental and emotional muscle to achieve a high level confidence to achieve success in sport, business or the entertainment industry has been a successful career for Haime and many have reached their goals as a result fo working with this expert.

The equestrian athlete now gets to benefit, ‘big time’ from Haime’s experience and knowledge, with accessible delves into emotional intelligence, sport and performance psychology, neuroscience and coaching is a bounty of information that can teach you how to get out of your own way.

The format and writing is well constructed and organized and it looks deceivingly simple to follow the guidance within the book’s pages because it is so well laid out. Diligent application of the advice contained therein will most certainly yield good results and improvement for many if it is taken to heart and most importantly to action. Lots and lots of help here. Don’t be shy to read it, it may be life changing. Most certainly a good perspective from a proven resource on this important topic.

Hope Botanicals CBD Pellets For Horses ~ MSRP $89.99

The use of CBD in horses as a supplement to help assuage issues of inflammation and pain has seen increasing use in recent years as awareness of this 20 year old remedy has increased. Health issues such as arthritis, anxiety, and asthma have all been aided by the use of non THC phytocannabinoid rich oil extracted from hemp.

Making the decision to start my horse on CBD pellets meant doing due diligence on the topic of its use and the variety of options that are currently available on the market. I chose Hope Botanicals because of its purity, its backing by the leading vet authority on the topic of medical marijuana in pets Dr. Robert Silver (DVM/MS/CVA) and its reasonable price point.

The horse, a Grand Prix level dressage horse with no major soundness issues aside from arthritis caused by his 20+ year age, was significantly happier and more active once I began feeding him the Hope Botanicals CBD pellets. Instead of spending much time standing in the corner of the field, he was much more active, which was good for him. Additionally he was definitely less sore in his hocks, and moved more freely. Anxiety that sometimes manifested itself in stall walking if left inside for more than 3/4 hrs, disappeared too. Overall, the use of the CBD pellets during the last few years helped him navigate his retirement with more comfort and less stress. I would definitely recommend the product and trust the consistency and quality of the product from Hope Botanicals.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

World -Class Braiding: Manes & Tails MSRP $16.95
by Cat Hill and Emma Ford with photographs by Jessica Dailey

World -Class Braiding: Manes & TailsThis is a handy reference, spiral bound notebook that is very helpful for use around the barn. The authors are both professional show grooms and have already written a stellar and popular title on the topic of world-class grooming, but this smaller book with specifics to just braiding techniques is just what you need when you are busy figuring out turnout preps for the show.

Plenty of good quality illustrations/photography guide the reader through the intricacies of the braiding process and includes methods for successful braid turnout for both long and shortmanes, and includes work with the varietal types of braids for multiple discipline preferences.

A very good book that will have us all playing with our horses’ manes and tails.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Still Horse Crazy After All These YearsStill Horse Crazy After All These Years MSRP $27.95
by Jim Wofford

This title is a super read and is full of humorous stories, and lots if interesting insights into the life and times of Wofford, an iconic event rider who has a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share.

Becoming a top athlete in any sport requires an incredible amount of drive and passion, and Wofford has both in abundance. Challenges that life presents trying to balance family life with the travel and lifestyle that accompanies competitors at the advanced levels are frankly revealed by Wofford.

A lovely read that encompasses much honesty and delves into eventing history in the U.S.A. with a keen eye for detail. Loved it!

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Cavalor Digest Aid Equine Supplement $59.99 and up

Cavalor Digest AidGastric health is very important for our horses and this product was very helpful for this horse owner’s 28 year old Grand Prix gelding in helping support/maintain his digestive health.

The horse suffers from hind gut acidosis and despite a carefully balanced diet and nutritional support had occasional bouts of mild gas (spasmodic) colic and diarrhea. After 3/4 weeks of use of Digest Aid he has had no such episodes, and his health has improved.

Very happy with the product and will certainly keep using it. While this is by no means a clinical study it is good to know that products out there as supplements actually work and are worth the spend.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Pilates For Horses by Laura Reiman $26.95

Pilates For Horses by Laura ReimanThis is a fabulous resource that addresses a great deal of important work that is needed to keep your horse in top condition and certainly to help in recovery and rehabilitation of an equine coming off an injury. The highly qualified author has done a good job of providing an approachable and accessible work that every horse owner can get behind.

It utilizes a blend of techniques including some Tellington-Jones TTouch, stability pads and a host of other material that truly works.

Well organized into sections from work on the ground, on the longe and in the saddle, both on the flat and over small jumps. The book lays flat so it is handy as a reference tool as you work through the exercises.

Includes some coverage of the basic premises of dressage training in an easy to understand format.

All the exercises include clear and concise explanation of the benefits of each task along with the method of achieving the desired result.

This is a wonderful book that all riders should know inside and out. Your horse will thank-you for it.

Highly recommend.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Body Conditioning for the Horse and Rider  MSRP $32.95 
By Heather Wallace, Dr. Madi Rauch & Dr. Danielle Shugard
Photography by Tara Moore

This title adeptly guides the horse rider through a series of applications of stretches and exercises that can improve the conditioning of the horse and rider. Written by experts in the fields of equine sports massage, human physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments for both horse and human, the troupe of authors educate the reader in valuable lessons to better attend to physical constraints that affect performance.

The advanced rider may well have noted many of these techniques and exercises before, but for the neophyte rider or one with less equine and equestrian experience, this book provides an approachable and valuable resource that addresses common physical issues and how to overcome them.

The photography is well done (Tara Moore), and the content is well worth a read. Mindfulness is extremely important in horse training and being self body aware and also competent in assessment of the horse’s well-being and limitations is a boon to progress in and out of the saddle.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

How Two Minds Meet by Beth Baumert MSRP: $29.95
The Mental Dynamics of Dressage

How Two Minds Meet by Beth Baumert This book will prove to be an invaluable resource to the horse trainer who wants to approach their equine partner with the best attitude possible and lay the foundation for a successful progression in schooling and training.

People are often non-plussed about how to better engage their minds with their mounts, how to cut out distracting information and focus on the feedback from the horse and develop true unity when riding. Beth Baumert brings front and center an approachable and easy to assimilate method to maximize the time spent riding.

A must read for riders of all levels, this book is a keen reminder to keep ourselves on top of our game and education to match the emotional gifts and physical efforts that our horse gives us everyday.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horse/Dog Lover Stationery MSRP: $7.00-$15.00

Westermann Manufacturing Review by: Tina Hammond

What a perfect gift or even gift set! The paper quality and artwork on the selection of Westermann’s horse/pet lover and hobby stationery line is beautiful. The range of products includes cube and half cube note pads, hardcover old-school address books and journal notebooks, magnetic shopping lists, to-do calendars (undated so very handy, you can just fill in whatever date you want to start), and slant note-pads.

Horse Lover Stationery MSRP: $7-15

The artwork includes not just horses and their paraphernalia, but also cats and dogs, humorous golf and hunting and fishing and travel.

The Westermann stationery line offers very British style products that are both useful and unique. A big thumbs up from us.

Note: This review may be shared in condition the credit is given to ‘ Catskill Hors Magazine’ with URL where published digitally. 

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Smartpak Face Masks ~ Pack of 3 MSRP $19.95

Lightweight and comfortable, these eco-friendly facemasks are made from UPF 50 fabric and have an anti-microbial benefit built in. They wash well and the variety of colors is a nice way to change it up to match outfits.

The adjustable ear loops add to the comfort factor and help the mask stay in place and the fact that Smartpak is donating $5 of every mask pack purchase to PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) is an added feel good bonus.

Good for Smartpak – paying it forward.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

It’s Been 20 Years, Fergus (And You’re Still Spooking at That Thing?)It’s Been 20 Years, Fergus (And You’re Still Spooking at That Thing?) MSRP $19.95
By Jean Abernethy

This title is a great way to celebrate the anniversary of this treasured cartoon character who is 20 years old in this tough year of 2020. Abernethy doesn’t disappoint the far-flung Fergus followers that number in the hundreds of thousands and don’t just range in their location but also their age.

Full of fun observations of everything horses and with great laughs along the way. Artwork is superb as always.

This book is the perfect tonic for a weary 2020 world. Pick up a copy and enjoy a good laugh.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Yoga For Riders By Cathy Woods MSRP $29.95

Yoga For RidersPrinciples and Postures to Improve Your Horsemanship: On the Mat, On the Ground, On Horseback

Woods is an experienced yoga teacher and avid equestrian. Her approach to working with horses utilizes as you might expect, a mindful approach that can be easily mastered with some focus and self-education. Yoga will teach you to slow down and better communicate with your horse (and others around you).

In this guidebook the equestrian will learn exercises that are easy to accomplish both on the mat and working with horses in the saddle and from the ground. The work is chock full of illustrations so you can be confident you are completing the exercises correctly.

An excellent read on a topic that will help you elevate both your enjoyment of riding and training, and your success at building a relationship of trust and awareness with your horse. Highly recommend for all riders. It’s not as hard as you think to do, no matter your level of fitness. The exercises do relax you, teach you about breathing and energy techniques that are easy to master and the book delivers on Cathy Woods mission writing it, helping riders improve their horsemanship.

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Distant Skies ~ A Girl, a Horse, a Dog, and 2600 Miles. By Melissa A. Priblo Chapman MSRP $22.95

If you’ve ever contemplated going West – from NY - by horseback - for 2600 miles or so then you’re probably a tiny bit mad. For 23 year old Melissa Chapman the reality of the adventure was far different than how she imagined it would be and played out with some serious ups and downs.

This book details her long and arduous journey across the U.S.A., with vibrant descriptions of the landscape and telling notes on the folks she met along the way. The relationship between the girl, the horse and the dog develops into a deep and compassionate bond and the trials and tribulations of the adventure is testament to the strength that true partnerships can endure.

A great read for the horse lover that dreams of the freedom of the open road on horseback but would rather live it vicariously. Melissa Chapman takes you on her road trip with no GPS, support team or help except the kindness of strangers and reminds us all that with the support of others and sincere determination there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

What Horses Really Want By Lynn Acton MSRP $31.95

What Horses Really Want By Lynn ActonAn informative guide for all equestrians on how horses connect with humans and how best to develop their trust in the relationship. Lynn Acton draws on a wealth of published doctrines and advice with lots of additional readings suggested to enlarge on the points she has included in her text along with her own diverse equine experiences and academic knowledge of complex social systems.

The main discussions focus around Protector Leadership, with succinct advice that is highly approachable that details how a horse owner/trainer can establish themselves as the horse’s leader. Once this bond of trust is created and maintained, the horse/human relationship will quickly evolve further and with increased compliance from the horse to requests made during all aspects of handling and training.

Acton provides a thoughtful compilation of practical examples that guide the reader deftly into a role beneficial to both horse and human and facilitate all riders to understand the meaning of true horsemanship.

A delightful read and very educational, the wealth of information included in this work is easy to assimilate and will help every horse and every horse owner. Highly recommend!

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horse Brain Human Brain By Janet L Jones. PhD MSRP $ 26.95

Horse Brain Human Brain This is a well-written book that explains in an approachable manner the vagaries of the equine and human mind. Dr. Jones adds warmth and humor to her teachings and there is something to learn here for even the more advanced riders.

The differences between the evolved thinking and brain development in horse and human, and therefore the accommodations that horse owners and trainers can implement to best understand and thus train the horse, are documented here in a science based reality. The explanations are keen and succinct, and the anecdotal experiences shared by the author of her history working with horses, brings another level of understanding for the reader.

This book is a welcome addition to the world of horses, and will no doubt have horse owners changing up some of their own behaviors and expectations around their horses, and encourage trainers to listen to what the horse is telling them rather than using force or detrimental methods to manipulate their horse’s attitude or habits.

Well worth a read, for riders at any level.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Four Legs Move My Soul By Isabell Werth and Evi Simeoni MSRP $24.95

Four Legs Move My Soul By Isabell Werth This book is a great read for any dressage aficionado or indeed any rider that wants to gain insight into what the world of horses is like at the highest echelons of the equestrian sport. While Werth certainly needs no introduction as to her amazing talent and skills at bringing horses to huge success on the Big Tour, the road she has traveled yields many interesting footnotes and explains much that is both wrong and right in today’s sport of horses.

There are many aspects of her life to date that are perhaps not widely known, and she shares her own perspective with clarity and frankness especially where it concerns the difficulties she has had with her famous horses. It gives much heart to those of us that have had similar challenges and had to figure out how to develop our horses properly, making mistakes along the way just as she admits to having experienced.

Probably her notes on training the piaffe, working without tension to train and working instead from the relaxation of the walk were the most enlightening and validating to this author. Her honesty in the topic, her training from the ‘Dr’ in the German training system, to the openness that is especially impressive to this author, to change and adopt an approach from Jerez’s Alvaro Domecq protege Jose Antonio Garcia Mena was very cool. While obviously not in Werth’s league, this author discovered the same along a very similar path.

Steinbrecht has always been a sincere influence in my training and approach. The mix of the German and the Baroque identifies significantly with what trainers such as Paul Belasik has always re-iterated from other works, that everything from the various schools of Europe does share a commonality, if only we understand better the history.

An icon as Werth, someone that had been a trailblazer in everything the ‘sport of dressage’ and yet also somehow manages to embrace the classical approach especially in recent years, mirrors Klimke in arriving at a balanced method of training that ultimately is more than many, many gold medals.

Hat’s off to Werth for convening a publication of thoughts and honesty. While this author realizes the careful crafting across certain controversial topics, there is also a brightness of integrity that should garner much respect from everyone that has studied, watched and enjoyed vicariously the immense talent of this woman, Werth. A true leader in the field that has fought many battles with fortitude and intelligence, with an amazing support system from “Mad’, who is evidently much more than her bank balance as a true credit to equestrian sport and with a true love of the horse. This book is an insightful read well written by Evi Simeoni. A writer who also needs no introduction, as a highly respected journalist of much heart and talent.

I would also add, that the last chapter covers controversy that is a reality check point in Europe that Americans may truly have difficulty understanding. Be aware, that PETA and organizations like them are a real threat to the ownership of horses for us all across the globe. Take heed. Werth would not have included this last chapter without much careful consideration. I have total respect for this chapter being included. Sometimes we can be very naïve in this country as to the big picture. A recommended read and I’ll also say, leave the last paragraph until last. It’s something I also have personally experienced and valued. At the end of the day, we all get the feelings Werth describes, and value them just as she does.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Training and Retraining Horses The Tellington Way by
Linda Tellington-JonesTraining and Retraining Horses The Tellington Way by
Linda Tellington-Jones with Mandy Pretty
. MSRP $34.95

The advent of the ‘Tellington-Jones’ healing and training methods was a milestone in the equestrian training world and her expertise is appreciated worldwide. The methods she utilizes are logical, kind and offer a superb resource for educating both the young horse and retraining older horses who have gaps in their understanding what is being asked of them.

Riders from Olympic level to backyard owners have used these well-honed methods over the past 25+ years, and it this book provides additional resources for the horse trainer at every level to aid in solving training issues both on the ground and in the saddle.

If you have not tried the Tellington-Jones methods I urge you to do so – they are extremely useful and work well for horses of all ages, breeds and training levels.
Every trainer can benefit from the knowledge in this book. Highly recommend.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Core Conditioning For Horses
By Simon CocozzaCore Conditioning For Horses
By Simon Cocozza    MSRP $29.95

~ CH Staff

A fabulous book that no horse rider should overlook, this conditioning program will help all horses engage their body better to fulfill the demands we ask of them.

The book is well put together and the steps are easy to follow. A logical progression of exercises that will ‘unlock’ issues you never realized your horse was experiencing.

Cocozza shares his wealth of knowledge with a genuine desire to help all horses reach their potential and his credentials in biomechanics are evident from his writing that is very accessible.

A must have and must follow book for any equestrian competitor.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Dressage For No Country   Dressage For No Country   Author: Paul Belasik  MSRP $22.95

Review by Nikki Alvin-Smith

Belasik’s journey in dressage somewhat mirrors my own, with experience in all three systems of dressage, (German, Portuguese and SRS Austrian) over the same time period, so this book was a particularly interesting read for me as a GP rider/trainer.

It is true that the world of sport dressage has changed substantially over the past 20 or so years, and competitive and classical dressage does seem to exist in a parallel universe at times. While Paul Belasik is not active on the Big Tour circuit today, his perspective on where dressage has been and where it is headed is worthy of a read in this simple and concise book on the topic. Travel most certainly broadens the mind, as does education. This book has a reflective tone and similarly to Belasik, I have found the same truths and rewards in conducting mindful teaching for both horse and riders.

A thoughtful book that will inspire the reader to find their own truth and path to the best that dressage can offer both horse and rider. It certainly is not always about the ribbons. Recommended read.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

EquiWashCavalor® EquiWash Horse Shampoo MSRP $ 16.99

Review by Tina Hammond

As a professional groom with much experience on the European FEI jumper circuit I spent much time washing down horses. Shampoos are certainly not all created equal and a properly balanced pH formula is essential if you don’t want dry skin and lack of overall skin health. Cavalor’s Equiwash is one of the best shampoos I’ve come across in a long time. The product does not cause excessive soaping and foaming, just enough to get the job done nicely. The glycerin add makes the coat shine after use and I’ve also noticed it has a slight benefit in protecting the horse from biting insects. An added bonus for sure.  I would definitely recommend this product as a reasonably prices horse shampoo that does a better than average job.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

The Horse Cure by Michelle Holling-BrooksThe Horse Cure by Michelle Holling-Brooks  MSRP $22.95

Review by Kathy Collins

What an insightful book into how horses can heal the human spirit! Just loved it. The experiences Holling-Brooks shares capture the essence of how horses have helped cure people with traumatic experiences in their past and medical disorders and how their lives have been dramatically changed for the better due to their relationship with the noble equine. Interestingly as the author explains, the power to unlock our own ability to heal is what sets the process of recovery in motion and that is the factor that the horse actually provides.

Sufferers from PTSD, bipolar disease, depression, abuse, illness can all benefit from therapy with horses. An educational and inspirational read. Good job.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

The Rider’s Pain-Free Back MSRP $24.95
By James Warson M.D. with Ami HendriksonThe Rider’s Pain-Free Back MSRP $24.95 New Edition
By James Warson M.D. with Ami Hendrikson

How to Overcome Chronic Soreness, Injury, and Aging and Stay in the Saddle for Years to Come

Review by Tina Hammond

This new edition is chocked full of some seriously good advice for every rider. Neurosurgeon and lifelong horseman Warson explains what to expect from a visit to the neurosurgeon for diagnosis and exercises you can do at home in a step-by-step plan toward recovery.

The Rider’s Pain-Back is a valuable resource for all riders, and addresses common back issues and how to resolve them with helpful tips for managing everyday horse owner and rider tasks without further stress or injury. Watson explains the physics of movement in the horse and rider’s back and provides information on both traditional and alternative modalities of therapy. This updated edition has added advice on riding after hip or knee replacement.

I have been riding since age 9, and gone from ponies to showjumping and dressage. The falls and injuries, the big-moving warmbloods with the thousands of hours I have spent in the sitting trot, the constant requirements of work around the stables all convene to cause soreness and do catch up with you as you age. As I head at lightning speed toward 60, I truly value the help in this book and am so happy that it has been updated. Keeping us riders truly strong in the saddle and giving us the ability to continue doing what we so enjoy to do. Ride! Thanks Dr. Watson and Ami Henrickson for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

A must have on every rider’s bookshelf with solid advice you will reference again and again.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horse Fun Facts and Activities For Horse-Crazy KidsHorse Fun Facts and Activities For Horse-Crazy Kids  MSRP $19.95
By Gudrun Braun, Anne Scheller, and Anika Hage

This is a fabulous book for your horse-crazy kid. Whether already a pony owner or not, this book will engage their minds with lots of tips and advice cleverly framed in games and fun activities. This title offers a wide variety of things to do, from making jewelry and tote bags to learning safety around and on horses, and tests of knowledge with excellent quizzes designed to encourage the young rider to follow their passion for all things equus.

Highly recommend. Any horse-crazy kid will be delighted with this title. Well done to authors Gudrun Braun, Anne Scheller and fantastic graphics throughout from Anika Hage.

Published by Trafalgar Square Books. 112pp. 9 x 11 ½  hc

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Two Brains, One Aim.Two Brains, One Aim. A Riding Coach’s Key Concepts for Bringing Horse and Rider Together
By Eric Smiley. MSRP $27.95


This book provides a good starting point for those beginning their journey with horses that are seeking to better understand guiding principles of working with the horse.

Eric Smiley shares an overview of his experiences working with horses and philosophy of how to garner the best relationship with your equine partner. Included are suggestions on self-evaluation, specific exercises or games you can conduct with your horse, basic ground handling and tack advice for longe work plus education on finding the best equine partner for your needs.

Smiley also brings advice on how to start jump work with poles on the ground and progress to a variety of fences, basic dressage techniques and tips on how to keep your horse honest in its training.

Some excellent problem solving riding exercises combined with a review of how to coach and be coached and competition psychology make this a nicely rounded read that is approachable for riders of all levels.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Book Review Many Brave FoolsMany Brave Fools. A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency ... and Horses
Susan E. Conley. $19.95

This book offers great insight into the life and times of Conley, who found herself trapped in a marriage with an addict. It chronicles how she discovered the value of horses as healers and helpers in teaching how curb her soul-destroying compulsive behavior at age 42.  The journey is told in an honest and frank manner and the eventual happy ending is a testament to the power of the horse in our lives.

A fantastic read that inspires the soul. Highly recommended by “The Merry Band at The Catskill Horse” magazine.

Note: This review may be shared with credit to: Catskill Horse magazine and URL link where posted online.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Essential Horse Conformation 51 Checkpoints Before You Buy MSRP $12.95
By Lisa WysockyEssential Horse Conformation 51 Checkpoints Before You Buy MSRP $12.95
By Lisa Wysocky

A handy book that guides the horse buyer through major conformation points of the horse, including judging a horse’s age by its teeth angles, skin, stretches to test the suppleness and suitability of the horse for particular jobs.

Lisa Wysocky is an award-winning author and as an experienced trainer and clinician she shares her knowledge of all the essential factors that go to make up a good horse prospect. The information is succinctly presented with good photos and diagrams throughout, and readers will find the material easy to assimilate.

A very helpful book that any horse purchaser, especially for those newer to the horse world that are contemplating buying their first horse and at a very reasonable price point.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Know Better to Do Better ~ Mistakes I Made With Horses (So You Don’t Have To) $29.95 By Denny Emerson

Kow Better to Do BetterThis book is true Denny – approachable and engaging with his honest look at lessons he has learned through his career with horses. I especially loved his edicts on elasticity and how trying too hard can kill it and his note on fair weather riders.

The book will appeal to riders of all levels and there are some great insights within the pages. Certainly it will save folks from making silly mistakes. For the more advanced riders the details on things he would have done differently with specific horses provides an interesting look at how we develop as riders. Questions such as how to find a distance and whether the horse can do it alone are covered, as well as los of experiences with mentors and influencers of the past.

If I were a horse I’d love to be trained and ridden by Denny. Empathetic to the core, educated and always open to share his experiences in a frank way.

Overall a well-produced book from the renowned equestrian publishing house Trafalgar Square Books that I’d recommend. On point and full of passion, with this title Denny brings it home.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Fergus and The Night Before Christmas MSRP $15.95
By Jean Abernethy

Fergus and The Night Before Christmas Review by Tina Hammond

Fantastic artwork from Abernethy makes this book a visual delight. The text follows along the lines of the famous original poem, “ Twas The Night Before Christmas,” written in the early 19th century, but unfortunately the alliteration is a bit off at times.

The story line is fun but the reader is left with the impression that at times the author struggled to find the right words to stay on point with the original flowing text. That’s a shame because the opportunity was there to make a super book with the idea of this topic.

Blake Shelton did a ‘take off’ of this poem in his Christmas show a few years ago and it was exceptionally good and very funny, and so it is possible to match the alliteration, style and clarity of the original.

The Fergus artwork sells the title and if you can overlook the factors mentioned above you will still enjoy the book overall. It will make a great stocking stuffer!

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

55 Corrective Exercises For Horses  MSRP $26.95
Resolving Postural Problems, Improving Movement Patterns, and Preventing Injury
By Jec Aristotle Ballou

55 Corrective Exercises For Horses  MSRP $26.95A very useful insight into how the horse moves and how to improve his overall health with a series of mounted and unmounted exercises, designed to condition and rehabilitate horses of all disciplines.

These simple to follow corrective exercises provide an unparalleled support program to improve any horse’s posture and movement and teach the horse owner the use of cavesson/side reins/circle work/stretches/serpentines in hand/walking over poles and a myriad of other programs that can be followed daily for best results.

Under saddle Balou addresses how to canter poles to adjust strides, work with just a lariat for guidance, ride ditches and gearing up to gallop plus may other useful protocols to resolve challenges and dysfunction in the horse.

As a horse owner you will better understand the role that crookedness, lightness in the reins, balance and posture play in the freeing up the horse to move in better harmony with the rider and the conditioning check is very useful advice on how to not just work with your horse to improve his movement, but also how to know when what you are doing is working. There are 55 corrective exercises included that author Jec Aristotle Ballou has cleverley crafted to provide non-invasive solutions to physical and thus mental challenges your horse may face.

Overall a very informative book that will be well received by those that seek to improve their knowledge of the movement and posture of the horse and wish to learn how to improve his wellbeing with simple exercises that can be done easily everyday.

Recommended reading for riders of all levels.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition  MSRP $139.99
By Martin K. Nielsen and Craig R. Reinemeyer

Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition  MSRP $139.99
By Martin K. Nielsen and Craig R. ReinemeyerEquine parasitology experts Nielsen and Reinemeyer provide an in depth and up to date study of the all aspects of equine parasite control which will significantly aid vets, vet students and horse owners alike in their understanding of this important topic.

The savvy horse owner realizes the importance of a sustainable and targeted horse worm control program and the cornerstone test being the F.E.C.T (Fecal Egg Count Test), has addressed the issues of best practices for pasture management and seeks a clear guide as to the best diagnostic methods for parasite presence, and knowledge of how to manage the dewormer resistant issues that are becoming increasing common.

This book may be written by some of the best scientific minds in the equine parasitology field but the material is extremely approachable for the layman, and the 30 case studies included are of great interest.

Highly recommended read for those that seek the optimum health of their horse and do not wish to waste money on defunct 6-8 week deworming rituals and wish to better understand the modern day methods for achieving a responsible and sustainable equine parasite control program.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Equine Lameness For The Layman
Tools for Prompt Recognition, Accurate Assessment, and Proactive Management MSRP: $34.95 By G. Robert Grisel, DVM

Equine LamenessThis book is much needed in the equine community and will be an invaluable resource to horse owners and vets alike. Dr. Bob Grisel is a leading diagnostic consultant on lameness in horses worldwide. This book has a massive amount of shared knowledge presented in a very easy to follow non-vet school manner. There are tons of case histories that provide excellent learning tools for the neophyte horse owner as well as trained equine professionals. You can view by specific interest in a particular topic so it makes a superb resource. The content is not overly technical but does a great job of explaining the issue at hand. Love the interactive video QR codes throughout the book that provide great visual help to go along with the text.

Highly recommended for any horse owner or horse health practitioner. This is a book you will use time and time again. 

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horses in Translation ~
Essential Lessons in Horse Speak: Learn to “Listen” and “Talk” in Their Language
By Sharon Wilsie  MSRP $24.95

Horses in TranslationFollowing the highly successful release of her first book Horse Speak, Sharon Wilsie continues to turn the world of horse whispering on its hooves by showcasing real life examples of how she solved ‘problems’ with horses communicating with them using her method of ‘horse speak.’ The book is well-written and offers a clear and concise look at a myriad of cases and provides an honest insight into how Wilsie progresses through the language barrier to reach the mind of the horse to affect its behavior and correct misunderstandings.

For horse owners Wilsie provides an easy to understand and simple to emulate method of how to talk with our horses in a language they understand. This book is more advanced than the first, which you would expect, and delves deeper into how to work to correct behavioral issues in equines through her horsemanship philosophy.

Try it! I did and it works. You’’ enjoy plenty of your own “AHA Moments.”

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Jack Le Goff: Horses Came First, Second, And Last. MSRP: $29.95
By Nikki Alvin-Smith 

Win the bookJack Le Goff is an iconic name in the world of horses and George Morris labels him ‘genius’ on all fronts, which is a comment I wholeheartedly endorse.

I was very fortunate to meet Jack, once at a tack meet where he came to offer book signings on his first book, and later when I helped book him for a clinic for a small New York riding club in the 1990’s and then even later than that he stood with my then trainer Raul de Leon ringside while I had a lesson and they chatted.

Le Goff’s indomitable spirit is clearly evident in this insider’s look at the world of top level equestrian sport. While it is true that some of the U.S.A.’s most elite riders did not like being told what to do for the team rides and how to do it, there is now an overwhelming empathy for what Jack achieved with an astounding eighteen medals in eight international championships with two team gold medals at the Olympic Games.

Le Goff had a tough start to life, and he recounts very openly and honestly the struggles he endured from his early life on through the pinnacle of his successes with the U.S. team. Always outspoken on behalf of the horse, his concern for the well-being of both riders and the horses at major events was always his foremost concern.

In the book you’ll learn much about the inner machinations of what life back in his day involved. It was much more than just standing in the middle of the ring and coaching. He single-handedly organized everything, from team travel for horses, riders, tack and equipment to hotels and paperwork at the venues. Somehow in there he also found time to train the team. Today this work is split among many people, and it is true tribute to Jack Le Goff that he was so successful and so earnest in his passion for making the team the big success it became under his stewardship.

Rocky times and happy times combine in his story, to enthrall the rider with the a real talk look at life at how he chose horses such as Bally Cor and Irish Cap, how he guided riders to the ribbons and medals time after time. He was a tough taskmaster at times, and participation in his program was not for the faint of heart.

When I had the pleasure to meet Jack I can relay that he was the most gracious of men and had a good sense of humor. While he died in 2009, his legacy lives on in the training of horses and riders, and it was an honor to have met him.

I highly recommend this book. It not only gives you a great look back at equestrian sport, but also makes you appreciate how much just one, very determined man could achieve in his lifetime. It reminds me a little of Winston Churchill’s life, who also endured much criticism and doubtful moments during his tenure as Prime Minister and indeed during his life. Sometimes it is only on reflection, that we realize the reality of what they achieved and how they mastered their own selves to do it.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Charlotte DuJardin: The Girl on the Dancing Horse MSRP: $24.95
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

I’ve taken over this review column just for today because
a) I’m a Grand Prix dressage rider
b) I’m British and so proud of Charlotte
c) Charlotte and I both grew up in the same town and experienced a very similar start to our careers with horses. Though hers obviously surmounted mine!!

Charlotte DuJardin BookIf you don’t know who Charlotte DuJardin is I’m not going to explain it. Go look her up. She has achieved amazing success in the dressage ring and is so world renowned at this point if you haven’t heard of her you must be living under the proverbial ‘rock’,

Published in Britain by Penguin Random House (Preface/Cornerstone) and simultaneously by Trafalgar Square Books in the USA, there is a lot to be desired in the editing and proofreading for the American reader but nonetheless the story is one of enchantment.

We all know Charlotte is a brilliant rider but perhaps a better ghostwriter could be found to dig a little deeper into what is such a super story. The content in this book is more of a quick run through of the events of her life that sound as though they happened at warp speed. I’m sure the more recent events in Charlotte’s life may seem that way to this lovely rider, so perhaps its brusque approach is a way to make notes for future reference.

As a competitor/clinician/coach and trainer myself, I did enjoy the honesty with which Charlotte describes her ups and downs and pressures of competition. It is hard to imagine what it is like at this ethereal level of equestrian sport, and I was confounded by the pressure she had to deal with in not knowing where Valegro was going to end up ownership wise.

Charlotte’s Mom was obviously a driving force behind the start of this illustrious career by such a young British gal. The constant support of both her parents ring loud off every page, and as a young woman making her way through relationships and spousal bliss Charlotte is very honest about how difficult life can be, especially when you are forced to conduct life at a fast speed in the limelight.

As a dressage rider I would love to have seen more ‘nuts and bolts’ about dressage included in this book. So from that angle I found it disappointing. The book is clearly written more for the masses than for the dressage aficionado.

I know from attending clinics with Charlotte and Carl that they have much humor and down to earth advice to share with the equestrian community. Perhaps in time this will come to fruition with the right publisher when Charlotte has time in the busy dressage schedule of events and training to share more details of her training and story and let this knowledge unfurl its wings.

Clearly as Charlotte is so young, I cannot blame her for keeping the details a little under wraps right now while she is still so active in the ring! I would love to hear it written from her Mom’s point of view. But that is perhaps the Mom in me speaking!

Overall a fun read. A visit to one of her clinics will yield the dressage rider more insight of course. And none of us is ever tired of watching her train and ride her horses.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Fergus and the Greener Grass by Jean Abernethy $15.95
by Chelsea Smith

Fergus and the Greener Grass by Jean AbernethyWhat on earth is Fergus up to this time? In this addition to Abernethy’s Fergus series, the comically illustrated equine is busy seeking greener pastures to satiate his greedy desire for richer, tastier grass.

During his quest, Fergus accomplishes several feats we’ve witnessed our own mighty steeds attempting, from reaching under the fence to grasp that last tempting blade of luscious yumminess to executing the classic Houdini act of undoing a lock you swore was beyond their ability to unlock.

Everything in Abernethy’s latest volume is beautifully presented, including the moral of this highly entertaining work, and the details in each illustration are as comical as they are plentiful. I’m just wondering what’s inside the barrel built into that amazing stone wall…

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

The Dressage Seat: Achieving a Beautiful, Effective Position in Every Gait and Movement by Anja Beran $39.95
by Chelsea Smith

The Dressage Seat: Achieving a Beautiful, Effective Position in Every Gait and Movement by Anja BeranLet’s start with the obvious. This book is stunning. The layout is accessible and engaging, the photographs (of which there are over 150) are crisp and brilliant, the illustrations are both humorous and educational, AND the text is concise.

Amazing. Now let’s talk about content. Beran’s information is comprehensible, and as she teaches us about what our posture should look like while we ride, she also teaches us how our posture and position inform the horse and the horse’s movements and direction.

Similar to ballroom dancing (because I know so many of you do that on your Friday and Saturday nights), posture and position is imperative to become a successful dancer. Think about it: where your feet are, which direction your toes are pointing, which way your head is turned and by how much, the straightness in your back, the angle of your shoulders, and how you move your hips (or your seat!) all alter not only how you dance, but also how your partner dances. If we apply those same principles to riding in Dressage, its no wonder that the changes we make in our position directly impacts what our horse does. Beran then delves into the psychological aspect of riding, and emphasizes that, like anything, you will be more successful if you are in a relaxed, positive, and joyful state of mind, rather than if you are in a stressed, angry, scared, or nervous one.

Let’s carry on to the second half of the book, which is dedicated to educating and improving your mind and body while off of the horse. Rife with exercises that will improve your strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, along with information on how human anatomy works with the structure of horses, the latter half of this book is just as enhancing as the first half. So, I think it’s time to stop typing, and time to do some of those exercises. After I’ve done that, I’ll go work on my posture and position with my mighty steed, where I’m sure I’ll have that song from the King and I floating around in my head. What’s it called? Oh yes. “Shall We Dance?”

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horse Color Explored: Over 150 Breeds, Types, and Variations by Vera Kurskaya $34.95
by Chelsea Smith

Horse Color ExploredThis fascinating volume is more than an overview of all of the different types, breeds, and colors of horses. It is an educational book about horse color genetics that addresses the science behind why horses are the color(s) they are through succinct prose and vivid photographs.

Each color found in horses is depicted and described, and if you’ve ever wondered what your expectant mare’s foal will probably look like, Kurskaya advises on what genetic marker(s) to test for. Everything you need or want to know about horse color is included in this volume, making it a must have for anyone who loves horses and science.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Horse Speak: The Equine-Human Translation Guide by Sharon Wilsie & Gretchen Vogel. $27.95
by Chelsea Smith

As an ASL student, I know better than most tHorse Speak: The Equine-Human Translation Guide by Sharon Wilsie & Gretchen Vogel.he importance of reading the nuances in facial expressions and body language, yet the few times I’ve been able to read my horse accurately is when she feels extremely strongly about something.

Like her hooves being trimmed. Or the constant movement in her tummy that is turning into a foal. Other times, I’ve recognized that my horse is trying to say something, but I have no idea what it is. Fortunately for me, I now have the perfect resource with this extremely informative volume filled with photographs, tips, and valuable lessons in learning the language of horses. From their heads to their tails (literally), horses speak and the authors spend a significant portion of the book teaching the reader, not only how to read their horse’s body language, but how to communicate with them as well.

As many of you know, your horse can read your energy, and in this work, Wilsie & Vogel teach you how to direct your energy to help you communicate with your horse, and provide step-by-step lesson programs to aid you in improving your communication. A perfect addition to your collection, Horse Speak will not only enhance your horse-themed library, but also your relationship with your equine partner. Maybe becoming the next Buck Brannaman isn’t as impossible a goal as I thought…

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Tame That Lizard Brain! Brain Training for Riders by Andrea Monsarrat Waldo. $18.95
by Chelsea Smith

Brain Training for RidersThis insightful volume by Andrea Monsarrat Waldo provides the scientific explanation for our uncontrolled reactions to various (and often terrifying) stimuli that frequently impede our ability to stay in control in the saddle (or in the saddle at all).

Waldo provides riders with the knowledge and the tools for overcoming the momentary mental lapse that occurs when our rational brain has decided to check out and leaves our lizard brain running the show at exactly the moment you really needed your rational mind to prevail. Now, if you’re not a student of psychology, you’re probably wondering what on earth a lizard brain is and what lizard brains have to do with riders.

According to the Waldo the lizard brain is the “area that includes the brain stem and amygdala” and this area controls the body’s basic functions including “breathing, heartbeat, digestion, and other ongoing processes that keep the body alive.” As humans did not develop the prefrontal cortex (aka the “rational brain”) until much later in our evolution, our instinctual response to uncomfortable, stressful, or dangerous situations is governed by our survivalist brain (aka the lizard brain). Well, this explains everything for me, does it for you? Waldo helps us out even more by pointing out that horses, as well as riders, have a lizard brain that they rely on when they get scared, and she gives us the techniques we can utilize with our lizard brained horses when they’re in their survivalist mode.

After giving us detailed plans and exercises of how we can overcome our fears and retrain our lizard brain to be a bit less… squirrely, Waldo teaches us how to use her methods of stressing less to become a better trainer and how to handle those ‘difficult’ clients. You know the ones I mean- the ones with their lizard brains running 24/7. Overall, Waldo has provided us with an engaging and empowering volume that demonstrates that it really IS all in your head.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”




Thelwell’s Pony Cavalcade MSRP $15.95

This classic will have you roaring with laughter. Many of us grew up reading Angels on Horseback, A Leg at Each Corner and Thelwell’s Riding Academy and it is wonderful to have this 60th anniversary celebratory publish of all three books in one cover from Trafalgar Square books.

Without question horse lovers of every age will thoroughly enjoy this book. It’ll brighten you up on even the gloomiest day! A big fat YAY on this read.




Philippe Karl & High Noon Part 2 DVD MSRP $49.95High Noon 2
By Chelsea Smith

This DVD follows the French riding master Philippe Karl and his Hanoverian High Noon as they progress to High School dressage. While it is fun to watch and a keen eye will glean a few pointers I was disappointed overall with this DVD.

There is little advice or direct instruction shared with the viewer and while it is wonderful to see horses ridden by a professional such as Mr. Karl, it would be a much more useful DVD if some insight was given into the training methods and specific details as to the aids and directions given.

Sorry, not my favorite though a nice production from Pferdia.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

The Sound Equine Halter MSRP $79.95
By Chelsea Smith

The Sound Equine HalterHalters, I would argue, are fairly important when dealing with horses. I mean, how else are you supposed to catch, lead, shoe, and otherwise deal with a 1,000 pound animal that doesn’t speak your language? Unless you’re one of those horse people who can teach any horse to be extremely calm, still, and respectful in every single circumstance under the sun, I’d say you need a halter.

But not one of those cheap, nylon, never lasts more than a couple years, import from India halters— no, we need something that will last. A halter is something that you only want to buy for your horse once, and if it was made in America, then you could support your own country while doing so. With the black leather halter from The Sound Equine, you get several things: a tough, American made, handsome, comfortable, and adjustable halter that you will only have to buy once.

I love it— the strong black leather and brass buckles provide functionality and style, while the neat stitching gives the halter the sophisticated look I want at a show; my horse also loves it. He’s always happy to put it on. Or maybe that’s because we’re going outside? Either way, the halter is easy to put on and take off, and the rounded buckles make sure my horse is comfortable and safe. So try it. You’ll only have to buy it once, and when everyone admires your good taste in halters and horses, you’ll be the talk of the barn.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Christine Soft Shell Riding Jacket MSRP $98.99

by Chelsea Smith

Christine Soft Shell Riding Jacket

The following are generally considered to be oxymorons: stylish and comfortable; lightweight and warm; water resistant and machine washable. However, the Christine Soft Shell Riding Jacket from Kastel Denmark is all of the above, with an interior liner that compliments the exterior of the jacket, both aesthetically and functionally.

If you’re looking for an article of clothing to wear while riding that looks and feels great, but won’t fall apart with extended use, then this is the jacket for you; however, if you’re more than happy to continue wearing your restrictive, cumbersome, and hard-to-clean (and let’s face it, probably unflattering) excuse of a riding jacket, then go on ahead—I can say that I’ll be sailing past you, looking and feeling fantastic on my mighty steed, while you sit stationary on your strange pony.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

Equifit's D-Teq Splint Boots MSRP $220 Front $205 Hinds

Equifit BootsProbably one of the best impact absorbing boots available on the market right now. The high tech Equifit product line released this boot in a variety of colors, and may also be customized with barn logos and special color combos. The most popular seller is the Black Ostrich.

The amazing feature of the high tech washable liners that go from soft to hard on impact make this a stand out product. The workmanship on the boots is excellent.
Offered in front and hind leg designs. I saw a definitive improvement in my horse's confidence with strides up to the fence after using these boots for a short period. Useful for all disciplines not just jumping. A super product to protect your horse. A big YAY from me.

Anatomically molded outer shell: Equifit Boots
Virtually unbreakable shock absorber
Three 1.25" wide straps to eliminate pressure points 
Secure fit 
Classic styling
ImpacTeq™ Liners:
Transform from soft to rigid upon impact
Mold to leg for custom fit 
Breathable & cool 
Promote circulation
Easy to wash and quick to dry.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

EZ Breech by Devon-Aire MSRP $99.95

The new and improved, two-in-one riding breeches! Chaps and breeches- the best of riding apparel! This product is the ultimate cross between Western and English riding styles- the grip of chaps, sewn into the form fitting, elegant style of English breeches. One may inquire as to the bulky nature of chaps- how does that EZ Breechwork with breeches? The answer is quite simple- relatively flawlessly. The chap aspect of these jods is cleverly designed to move with the material into which the chaps are sewn.

If you are looking for something that will increase your leather on leather contact, but hate having to remove or adorn the (sometimes) awkward chaps and despise having to wear chaps around the barn, this is the perfect compromise. While these jods are, most emphatically, not chaps, they do offer a perfect middle road.

If you are a rider concerned by appearances- you want some of the Western chap functionality, but not the look of Western riding, the EZ Breech works in your favor. These breeches sport a boot-cut, are very comfortable to wear, in addition to being very easy to care for (machine washable, AND retains its elasticity). Material is a comfortable and easy to wear 5% Lycra and 95% Elastin. These breeches maintain their shape, and provide necessary support while in the saddle.

Colors available include tan, chocolate and black and a range of ladies sizes from S through XL.

This review may be published without written permission on condition that any digital publication includes URL link to and any printed link credits “Catskill Horse Magazine.”

The Yay or Neigh Column is written by
Chelsea V. Smith

Chelsea V. Smith, is Assistant Editor to the team. Chelsea graduated from the University of Vermont (UVM) with a Masters in History, and also holds a B.A. in History with English and International Studies minor, from Susquehanna University, P.A. During her time at UVM Chelsea worked in the writing field, dedicating a year to working on a project to train professors how to teach writing skills to students of all levels within the University. Chelsea is a published writer, has presented her writings across the country as far West as Montana, and has presented her published works up and down the East Coast including locally at the Historical Society of Gilboa, NY.

While Chelsea has had to put her equestrian activities on hold due to work, travel and study schedules, she has trained in multiple disciplines including hunter/jumpers and also dressage and has worked with several noted trainers in those disciplines.