Promises, Promises

THE FLYING CHANGES BOOK CLUB The ill-fated book club, it looks like.

Once I started thinking about writing about all the books I’d read, the air went out of the balloon, in a manner of speaking. If only I’d written something out as I’d gone along! Seemed like homework, all of a sudden. Remember book reports? Love reading— hated book reports.

But let’s give it a try. Here’s a selective list of what’s on my shelves:

The Tao of Riding and Riding Between the Worlds, Linda Kohanov: Inspirational and deeply thought, Kohanov talks about the spiritual aspect of the horse-human relationship, and how patient communication is the key to the improvement of that relationship. Given my history with Rebel, these books may be worth another look…

Horse Sense and the Human Heart, Adele von Rust McCormick, PhD and Marlena Deborah McCormick, PhD: This mother and daughter team employ their herd of Peruvian Paso horses in their work as therapists. The stories they relate are amazing.

The Horses in my Life, Monty Roberts; Dancing with Your Dark Horse, Chris Irwin; Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse, Mark Rashid: lest you think that all my books were written by the female of the species [although I prefer those]. Excellent anecdotes. Practical advice. I like girl horses stories, I suspect.

A Year at the Races and Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley: The first is a memoir, the second fiction, and both have been re-read by me countless times. Not only a Pulitzer Prize-winning author [A Thousand Acres], but an experienced horsewoman, Smiley gets it, and gets it down beautifully on the page. Must read Horse Heaven if you haven’t. It’s glorious.

Getting in TTouch: Understand and Influence you Horse’s Personality, Linda Tellington-Jones, with Sybil Taylor: Now, this one’s promising, because I only browsed over the pictures. Tellington-Jones painstakingly has assessed and recorded myriad qualities of the horse— from number of swirls on the forehead to types of ears to aspects of nostrils— that allow riders a way in to analysing equine personality. I will definitely get on to this one— I don’t know when!— as I feel that I could use a few more pointers in dealing with my friend, er, Rebel. Okay, that one doesn’t go back on the shelf.

Enlightened Equitation: Riding in True Harmony with Your Horse, Heather Moffat: I believe this may be a latter-day bible for the horseperson. Lots of practical advice, photos, and anecdotes. This one is going to get another look, as well.

Interspersed are art-y photography books of equines, volumes of collected stories, memoirs, and hands-on guides to owning your own horse. There’s not enough horse fiction for grown-ups, I must say [watch this space]. I even kept a teeny little cube of a book chock full of horse portraits on my desk, when I had a desk job. It lifted my spirits.

So, I’ll do my best, and would love to hear about other tomes that I may not have read yet.

3 Replies to “Promises, Promises”

  1. Some of my favourite old books are about animals — the “On Cats” essay collection by Doris Lessing, and my childhood “Watership Down”. But the only equine-related book I have is “Horse Riding” by Moira C. Harris and Lis Clegg. There is nothing poetic about it. It’s 300-plus pages of fact, advice and lots of full-colour photos and illustrations on which parts of the horse’s body are most sensitive, different types of bits, Western vs. English saddle, etc. It also has step-by-step instructions on everything from tacking up and mounting, to cuing for a canter and dressage moves.
    I will put the Jane Smiley on my list.

  2. Ooooh goodie – more to add to my ever-growing Wish List. I definitely have to have some of the non fiction horse / riding books. Would you believe I only have about three in my bookshelf? I am SO ASHAMED.

    I adored Horse Heaven – brilliant characterisation, dialogue, action. Inspired and inspiring. As soon as I finished it I turned back to the first page. Have you read Smiley’s “Moo”? Joy is introduced in that; it’s set in a university & is absolutely hilarious esp. if you’ve ever worked in a uni / tertiary ed institution. You recognise everybody 🙂

    True, adult horsey fiction isn’t well represented. You’ll just have to write some for us! I happily admit to loving kids’ horsey books, so long as they’re well-written – & most of them aren’t, it’s true. I like the My Friend Flicka series, & the 2nd & 3rd in the series – Thunderhead; Green Grass Of Wyoming – are actually pretty adult in theme, & the horses are fabulous.

    As a kid I adored The Silver Brumby series [Elyne Mitchell] & The Black Stallion series [Walter Farley]. The Black Stallion movie is the best horse movie ever – mind you I haven’t seen Hidalgo which has the added attraction of Viggo Mortensen mmm. I liked anything by Marguerite Henry too but her stuff hasn’t aged so well.

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