It’s been happening on a regular basis now that I’m chatting with a student about what they just learned about rider biomechanics, and I’ll say “do you have any interest in reading or watching videos about this stuff?” And more often than not, the response is “Yes! I would love to delve more into this so I can understand it better, and practice while I’m between lessons.”
And then I say, great, I have so many good resources I can recommend… but I don’t have a list of them. I should put it on my website for you. And then I pull out the book I always recommend first because I keep a copy in the tack room, and that’s as far as we get.
So, dear students, please accept my apologies for taking so long to do this, finally.
Ride With Your Mind Essentials: Innovative Learning Strategies for Basic Riding Skills, by Mary Wanless - the book I always recommend for those new to rider biomechanics. My tack room copy is full of notes and tabbed so I can refer to sections quickly after a lesson to help make a concept easier to grasp. Riders everywhere will appreciate the clarity, brevity, and well laid out concepts with easy to follow descriptions, questions at the end of each chapter, and extremely accurate diagrams.
The Horse Behaviour Handbook, by Abigail Hogg - the book I recommend for folks with less than 30 years experience with horses. Even I, with more than 30 years experience, learned a thing or two about horse behavior while paging through this informative and colorful manual. I particularly liked the idea that social relationships among horses are way more important to them than I ever gave them credit for. It would take decades of only private lessons to glean what you can absorb from a thorough read of this book.
Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses: Recognition and Application, by Rachael Draaisma - the book I recommend for anyone looking to better understand what horses are conveying when they move their ears, turn their head, and even blink. There are so many nuances to a horse’s communication that go straight over our heads, and Draaisma helps clarify what it all means, which is a huge help to our interactions with them.
The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, by Wendy Williams - the book I recommend for anyone interested in a fascinating journey through the evolution of the horse. New archaeological discoveries explain a lot about why horses are the way they are today. There’s a lot of talk about bones, but Williams makes it all relatable to our experience of horses as we know them now. I learned SO much about horses, and I thought I knew a lot!
DressageTraining.TV - the subscription website where Mary Wanless, with the technical assistance of one of her coaches Peter Dove, puts out high quality videos demonstrating the Ride With Your Mind method in action. The fee is commensurate with the product, and serves as a valuable supplement to lessons for those who learn well from watching videos. There is a mix of live coaching demonstrations led by Mary and some of the other coaches, explanations off-horse, explanations on-horse, and actual lessons with RWYM coaches and a students with wide variety of skills. There are also videos covering horse training, rider body awareness and strength/flexibility, and more. The part I like most is watching the coaches help various riders make changes to their riding and seeing the horses change positively in response.
There are many more resources I can point to that have helped me and my students toward better horse riding and stewardship, but for now these are the big ones. Mary Wanless has several other books, as well as another website and a whole trove of DVD’s that are not part of the DressageTraining.TV website - all of which I recommend highly.
Not to mention she does clinics in the UK and I host her here in Maryland twice a year for 3-day rider biomechanics clinics that you are welcome to participate in, as rider or auditor!
Happy learning everyone :)