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Dressage Insights: Excerpts from Experts – A book made up of paragraphs by a veritable who’s who of dressage. Broken up into sections based on movements, each paragraph from a different trainer approaches issues in different ways and gives a well-rounded perspective on training and working with your dressage horse. Excellent read.
Uta Graf’s Effortless Dressage Program – a modern book with an interesting program. Lots of photos and side articles break up the text to make it an easy read. Lots of excellent adjustments and exercises to use to achieve that effortless riding we all dream of. I’ve had some excellent success follow some of her tools with Spicy so far.
The Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse – classic from Charles de Kunffy. This isn’t an “easy” fluff read, but is a classic book filled with tons of useful exercises and information. You won’t find a lot of photos here to take up space, so be ready with your highlighter and get to work.
The Dressage Horse Manifesto – Written in an interesting way following a number of horses at specific USDF levels of training, it really helps to wrap your head around different solutions for different horses and different problems. I really like that it didn’t just follow “idealized” exercises for some “idealized” horse, but broke things down based on specific issues with specific horses at specific times. Very helpful tool for a learning dressage rider and an easy read.
Debbie McDonald Riding Through – is written in a much more biographical style than any of the books on here, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of useful information. It is an interesting read to see how one rider went from youth to Olympian but isn’t just about her life. There are a ton of tips on rider position, riding movements, training advice, photos and diagrams to learn from. Thick reading this is not…but unless you’re a professional with years under your belt in dressage, there’s some learning here for you.
The Dressage Seat – a big book, but with more photos than text on many pages, it’s not a big read. This book is full of clear information on the classical dressage seat, its effect on the horse’s way of going, and how making adjustments can help with specific movements. On top of the theory, there is an entire section in the back filled with stretches and exercises to help you actually achieve that classical seat. Theory with useful tools to actually achieve the theory…great!
Nature, Nurture and Horses – A very interesting take on what it’s like to train a dressage horse from the ground up. This book follows 4 very different horses from the same sire through their first year of training. Daily schedules, training plans, individual adjustments, individual challenges and successes…all are detailed here. It is a fascinating read, “seeing” these four horses grow up and understanding the challenges faced by each and the adjustments to the classical training method made to reach success for each horse.