Need More Knowledge - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Need More Knowledge

The more I try and explore the horse world, the more I realize I know nothing. I've been riding on and off since I was three, but I don't know that much from a technical standpoint. I sit around reading threads all day and you all know SO much. I'm dying to learn more. I'm sure that many of you learned from hands on experience, and I'm headed to a university where I'll hopefully be working at the campus barn and exposed to a lot more, but was there anything else that helped you? Any books that you thought were great when it comes to conformation, starting a horse, anything? I'm going to school to be a veterinary technologist, so I will learn all the medical things in the next couple years. I have my hopes set on an OTTB when I finally feel financially responsible enough (which may be five years ) and feel that I can take care of him/her, no questions asked. But I'd really like to start gaining anything extra I can now.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 06:42 AM
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The quickest way to learn, in my opinion, is through watching it, because seeing it down and being described is a lot easier than some of the mumbo jumbo used in books that takes time to think about. What disciplines are you interested in?

Have you checked out It is like Netflix but for horse DVDs. I personally use it to learn from. Now which DVD's and which books are entirely up to what you are looking to learn. Also, it sort of just comes from trial and error. The problem with a lot of the books is that they completely are speaking in horse talk and are not at all times specific.

The horse conformation book I use is called, "The Horse Conformation Handbook."

If you are interested in Endurance or long distance riding, Go The Distance is a wonderfully written book about it. Centered Riding is another commonly read book. George H. Morris's book called Hunter Seat Equitation is considered practically a classic in the horse world from what I can tell.

I'll go through my library and see if there are any more titles.

In my opinion, one of the best reads on basic horsemanship that anyone can understand are the books published by The Pony Club of America. It is so straightforward.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 07:57 AM
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Get a job or volunteer at local barns. You can have all the theory you can read but nothing can make up for the practical, or "hands on" experience. Just like a doctor, would you let him preform a surgery on you he's only read about? Just like people horses aren't cookie cutters.

In the mean while read read read. It couldn't hurt. Some this that are going to be pretty universal are things like diets, confirmation, tack and parts of the horse.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 08:25 AM
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I do credit two books with providing much useful information. The first, and my favorite is: "The Complete Training of Horse and Rider in the Principles of Classical Horsemanship" by Alois Podhajsky. He was a director at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria (think Lipizzans). The other was "Hackamore Reinsman" by Ed Connell. The latter is in every cookhouse on every ranch I have ever been to.

Beyond that, work with as many horsemen who have horses that you'd like to ride as you can. Take away what works for you, and store the rest in your memory in case you come across a situation that stumps you and a technique or management issue comes up that someone else's practice may suit.

Enjoy your journey.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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I rode "dressage" for many years - essentially just getting basics down. A year ago i started jumping, and i just did my first event a few weeks ago. But going to college I'm going to end up more in hunter. I'll definitely look into those books, thanks guys!
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 03:05 PM
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Very few horse people know everything, it's part of having horses that they throw new things at us all the time. I've had horses all my life, and just this week experienced glue on shoes for the first time.

It takes a lifetime to know everything we need to know, so the answer is just to surround yourself with knowledgeable people, and be a sponge and try to learn as much as you can from them.

When you are at college, if you can get yourself to a barn and have the time. Just go there and hang out. Riding is the easy part, it's everything that goes into horse care that takes a lot longer to learn.

As you are willing to admit what you don't know, I think you will probably be an excellent equestrian.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 03:22 PM
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You have a beautiful learning attitude and that is the best skill you can have. Reading, volunteering, lessons: it's all good. Keeping an open and curious mind is what it takes. And always listening to the horse: he will be your best teacher and will guide when facing conflicting information.

I've had horses for many years and I still think I know nothing, or very little. Beware of those who have all the answers and The Truth...
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 04:15 PM
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I remember I would sit for hours and watch my trainer, and others, teach other riders!

Even learn stuff your not interested in. For example I used to hate parelli, then for work I was asked to assist another instructor with helping a parelli group. In the end I still didn't like it but it taught me A LOT about good timing and subtle cues the horse gives off.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 04:32 PM
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As far as books are concerned, I highly recommend these 2 as must haves:
As far as everything else, go to as many trainers, barns, shows, vets, breeders, WHATEVER that you can!! PICK THEIR BRAINS!!

Watch them, AND listen!!! Most importantly, remember that there is more than one way to get something accomplished. Learn to recognize the methods that are common with a lot of people that get results, those are going to be the methods that are as close to a "right answer" as you will get. Be willing to try anything as long as you are patient, and learn to recognize AND ACCEPT when you are in over your head.

Make the key rules more of a natural reaction than breathing. Each of us have our own set of key rules, although they are probably all very similar.

NEVER EVER think you know even close to everything, the minute you think you know a lot is the minute you find out you know absolutely NOTHING! Even if there is a breed you don't care for, or a style of riding you don't like, LEARN about it, get a solid understanding of it's fundamentals, learn to at least appreciate what it has to offer. (example: I REALLY do not care for Apps / POA's, I just don't like them. BUT, I'm in a position right now that a POA would probably work out the best. And I accept that).

Learn to keep your mouth shut, lol. Seriously, it sounds crazy but the horseman that are the most admired are the ones that say the least. They say what needs to be said, nothing more, nothing less.

Don't be ashamed to admit when you don't know something, or you don't understand what is being asked of you. It could mean the difference between you going home in one piece or not.

Good Luck!!

"Just because I don't do things your way, doesn't mean I don't have a clue"
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-02-2013, 05:01 PM
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Another great resource when you find a barn you are going to. Is to ask when the vet and farrier are going to be there. Then sit and watch, ask questions and you will learn a ton.
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