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15 Horse Training Books Every Equestrian Should Read

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Did you know that there are a ton of great books out there that can help you with training your horse? Whether you are planning on training horses professionally one day or just planning to train your own horse, there are a number of books that you should definitely read. From the basic fundamentals of owning a horse to more complex relationship-building exercises, these books will prepare you for the journey ahead.

If I had to pick one book from the list below that would be a great resource for any equestrian, it’s hands down 101 Ground Training Exercises for Every Horse & Handler (link opens to Amazon). Groundwork is something too many people skip and this book is sure to have something that every horse could improve on.

Reading these books will help riders learn vital information about horse training that every equestrian, regardless of skill level, should know. These books are all written by experienced equestrians who have been where you are and who can offer unparalleled advice on training a horse. 

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1. The Horse Encyclopedia by Elwyn Hartley Edwards

This book is an all-inclusive breakdown of everything about horses. It covers all the bases including the different horse breeds, the history of horses and also includes advice on all the basic aspects of horse care including conditioning.

Every equestrian needs to know the basics in order to become a skilled trainer and they definitely need this book in their arsenal. This is a book you will refer back to time and time again.

2. Complete Horse Care Manual by Colin Vogel

Every horse owner needs to read and own at least one horse book written by a licensed veterinarian. Colin Vogel is a veterinary surgeon whose work centers exclusively around horses.

This book is perfect for the beginning equestrian but, even the experienced ones should enjoy the wonderfully descriptive photographs that are so common in DK books.

In this book, he details various illnesses and ailments as well as diet and body language. His knowledge is astounding and this book is unreplaceable. All equestrians should read this book and keep it close by. Knowing how to recognize horse illnesses and injuries is very important when you are training your horse.

3. How to Think Like a Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do by Cherry Hill

Understanding why your horse acts the way they do is essentially the key to training them. If you don’t know why they are exhibiting certain behaviors, how would you know how to correct it?

This book delves deep into the behaviors of horses and is the go-to guide to learning how to communicate with your horse. It is written by an experienced equestrian and is essential for learning how to train your horse successfully.

4. Horse Speak: An Equine-Human Translation Guide: Conversations with Horses in Their Language by Sharon Wilsie and Gretchen Vogel

This book is written by a professional horse trainer for horse riders of all experience levels. It teaches riders how to effectively communicate and really listen to their horses.

This book provides 12 simple steps to learning how to speak to your horse and understand their responses. This book is crucial to teaching you the first steps of training your horse.

5. Horsemanship Through Life: A Trainer’s Guide to Better Living and Better Riding by Mark Rashid

Well-known horse trainer Mark Rashid delivers a captivating look at horses and how we can better our relationships with them by using our own life experiences. Written in casual and friendly voice, this book teaches horse riders how to truly build a lasting and meaningful relationship with their horse. Every horse owner who wants to really connect with their horse should read this book and really take the message to heart.

6. The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book: Enlightened and Revolutionary Solutions for the 21st Century by Linda Tellington-Jones

The author of this book is an expert in the field of animal behavior and in the equine world. In this book, she teaches equestrians the Tellington Method, a technique she designed to help riders train their horses to listen and become more focused. This book will help riders teach horses that are fearful to be more trusting and understanding. This is honestly an important book that will really help you hone your horse riding skills as well as your training skills.

7. The Modern Horseman’s Countdown to Broke: Real Do-It-Yourself Horse Training in 33 Comprehensive Steps by Sean Patrick

Sean Patrick is an experienced equestrian and professional horse trainer. This book is written in a straightforward, matter of fact way to appeal to riders of all levels. He provides step-by-step instructions that guide you through the basic education that he feels that every horse needs. He teaches riders the aspects of horseback riding that they may have never considered including how a rider’s actions and body language can govern certain parts of a horse’s body. If you are looking for an easy-to-follow guide to horse training, this book is for you.

8. Horses Never Lie, 2nd Edition: The Heart of Passive Leadership by Mark Rashid

Written by a professional horse trainer, Mark Rashid, this book turns conservative ideas about horse training on their heads. Instead of being the dominant character in the horse-rider relationship, Rashid teaches trainers and equestrians to be more passive and control their horse in a less dominant manner. Every horse rider should read this book and apply his ideas and techniques in their own training program.

9. 101 Ground Training Exercises for Every Horse & Handler by Cherry Hill

Every horse training plan should start with teaching ground manners. This book emphasizes the importance of solid ground training exercises and how they can be applied by riders of all levels of experience. The exercises all center around teaching horses good ground habits that will lead to good riding habits. Each and every equestrian rider who plans on training their horse should read this book and incorporate it in their own program.

10. Horse Training: Ultimate Secrets on How to Think Like a Horse in Easy Do It Yourself Training Steps by Janet Evans

Learning the basics of horse training is essential to learning how to train your own horse. This book is yet another addition to building a solid foundation for any training program and gives excellent tips and tricks to help beginners. Every horse rider should read this book to better understand the fundamental ideas and obstacles they will encounter when training a horse.

11. What I’d Teach Your Horse: Training and Re-Training the Basics (Horse Training How-To)- Volume 8 by Keith Hosman

This book provides the foundation training that is essential for all horses and their riders. Whether riders are starting with a green (not broke to ride yet) horse or an experienced horse that needs a little ‘re-training’, this book will be an important aid.

Keith will help you train your horse with organic and natural techniques that will prepare them for future event training if needed. This book is simple, practical and essential for all equestrians.

Additionally, there are other books in this series that you should definitely check out including foal training, picking up feet, round penning and backing.

12. Clinton Anderson’s Downunder Horsemanship: Establishing Respect and Control for English and Western Riders by Clinton Anderson

World-renowned horse trainer Clinton Anderson is kind enough to share his proven horse training techniques in this book. His book is designed to help ‘everyday’ horse riders communicate more efficiently with their horses and train them effectively. It is written for both English and Western horseback riders. It is an important addition to every horse owner’s training plan.

13. Training on the Trail: Practical Solutions for Trail Riding by Clinton Anderson

Once you have mastered his previous book and feel like you are ready for the trail, read this book first. Anderson expands on his training techniques and applies them directly to the art of trail riding.

He teaches riders how to prepare for and resolve common trail riding challenges including traffic fears and water aversion. If you want to train your horse on trail riding, this is your book.

14. Centered Riding by Sally Swift

Longtime equestrian Sally Swift offers a different take on the idea of horse training. She promotes the idea of unforced training and rejects the practice of using painful negative reinforcements to train.

Instead, Sally teaches riders how to reach a harmonious relationship with their horses and she encourages a relaxed methodology to training. Riders of all levels of experience should read and experience all it has to offer.

15. Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between a Horse and Rider by Mark Rashid

This horse trainer captivates readers and riders alike in yet another essential training book. Rashid emphasizes the need to understand the true reasoning behind a horse’s actions in order to create positive experiences.

His intention is to break down any preconceived notions when beginning to train a horse and he offers a realistic alternative to training. This book is a key element to all training programs and all equestrians should read it. It may improve the relationship you share with your horse.

Final Thoughts

While you can always get quality advice from your horse riding friends, these books will all provide essential, unrivaled information from a variety of professional equestrians from across the world. It is up to each rider to develop and hone their own training program that works for them. These books will help provide the foundation you need to figure out how you will interact with and train your horse effectively. You will uncover ideas and methods in horse training that you may have never heard of or thought of own your own. I hope that all horse riders will read these books and learn from the experience of professional equestrians who know what they are talking about.

April Lee

I've owned horses for 25 years and have a particular love for gentling wild horses. I write these articles to help others learn more about horses. If you enjoyed the article please take a moment to pin it to Pinterest or share on social media. It really does help! Check out my about page for more detailed information.