Sunday, June 7, 2009

Latest Additions to My Horse Library

What does one do when it rains outside all day and she can't ride her horses? She goes to the bookstore and buys more books on riding horses, ignoring her equitation instructor's warnings that books are bad and will just confuse her.

The past several times I have gone to the bookstore, I couldn't find a single topic that interested me. All the horse books were starting to look the same. However, yesterday I found a couple of gems worthy of my attention.

"Build Complete Confidence with Horses" by Kelly Marks grabbed my attention due to its dedication to helping riders deal with fear. Up until I saw this book, bloggers seemed to be the only ones discussing this topic openly. Fear is a very real challenge for all riders, whether they admit it or not.

Marks talks about risk analysis and writes, "For example, an experienced rider with a good seat, walking a quiet, aged horse round an indoor arena. Risk factor: 1 percent. A very inexperienced and unstable rider jumping a novice, unschooled, highly strung horse round a cross-country course on a wet and windy day. Risk factor: 99 percent." Since I'm an intermediate rider on schooled, but high strung horses riding in a variety of locations, I'm guessing my risk factor of getting hurt is right around 50 percent. However, Marks says I'm doing it right by introducing my horses to new things in baby steps. That helps lower the risk factor, as opposed to just throwing the horse into something new.

The other book that got me excited is "The Horse Boy" by Rupert Isaacson. It's about a father's quest to heal his son from autism, a special need that is very near and dear to my heart. I have been fascinated by autism since I was a child myself, and I ended up having a cousin with autism, several friends with autistic children, and worked as a special education aide with students who had some level of autism. My husband has also worked with autistic children. Autism is one of the greatest mysteries of modern day medicine.

I know from experience that horses have healing powers, and those powers are most evident when witnessing the social and verbal growth of an autistic child as he is exposed to the world of horses. Many autistic children are on a wavelength the lends itself to communicating with animals, and likewise animals seem to understand these children. My uncle is a veterinarian, and he claims that of all the help he and his wife sought out for their autistic son, only when they put him in a therapeutic riding program did they see improvement in their son's condition.

Last night I read through the first chapters of each book and plan to write reviews once I finish them. I'm also thinking that I will pass these on to Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch when I'm done, if she doesn't already have these books and is interested. Maybe when she is done, she will pass them on to another blogger. It would be fun to pass along horse books that are beneficial to others. Right now I've got a bunch of old books just sitting on my shelves that I may or may not revisit, and they could be helping others rather than collecting dust.


Katharine Swan said...

Both those books sound perfect for Lisa! What a great idea!

I believe that horses have healing power, and not just for autistic kids, either. I've heard of therapy programs for women that teach confidence via working with horses -- not just riding, but ALL of it.

By the way, I didn't get to ride today either, but I still accomplished a lot at the barn. Stop by my blog later and I'll have a post and some pictures. :o)

Chris said...

Ooh, my favourite topic - horse books! I'm so very interesting in the Horse Boy and will hopefully add it to my expansive library in the near future. I'll look forward to reading your review :D

Kate said...

Thanks for posting on these books - I've seen Horse Boy but not the other and will have to look them up.

Sydney said...

Those sound perfect for Lisa.

My mare Indigo was used as a therapeutic horse for a boy with Autism. I guess when I bought her the boy went on for regular riding lessons and did really well.

Breathe said...

I read about Horse boy - I am asking my local library to stock it (A good deal for the author, btw, since librarians tend to encourage other libraries to stock these books).

Have you considered yoga? I find I'm so centered after doing yoga if I work with my horse afterwards it's like I'm channeling yoda or something.

He may not be calm, but I'm all zen on him. LOL

Paint Girl said...

What a great idea, to send them to Lisa!
I am very interested in the confidence book. I have serious confidence issues with Fritzy, after she dumped me a couple years ago. I have read one book about confidence, and should read more.
I also believe that you should continue reading books on horses! Everyone has a different opinion about horse training, and what works for them. My trainer has given me a lot of books to read, and they have been helpful.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Sounds like a couple of great books!!! Can't wait to hear your reviews on them!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww! Thanks for thinking of me. I'm looking forward to not only reading both books, but also reading your reviews of them (I always enjoy that) and even sharing my own review...sort of like a Book Club. That would be fun!

The Horse Boy is one I am very curious about because of my 6 yr old daughter, as you already know.

What you said here, "Many autistic children are on a wavelength the lends itself to communicating with animals, and likewise animals seem to understand these children." rings so true, too.

Jenna has always had a special kinship and connection to animals a very deep level. She gets right down their on their level and I often believe they are communicating telepathically.
She also has an uncanny way of telling me about an animal's personality, too.

Do you know that she has never even sat on Baby Doll? We've gotten her up to my mare's back and she panics. I wonder if she felt unsafe because of something Baby Doll radiated outwards from her own personality?
Maybe I should horse shop with her and trust her instincts?

She has a soft spot for mini horses and small ponies. Everyone has told me not to buy one for her because she will grow out of them. But I just don't think that's the point. She is not interested in riding really. She is interested in that bond, that connection, I think.

When she was 4 years old we visited a friend with a huge farm. And this friend deveral horses and ponies. Some other kids were riding the horses and a larger pony, but Jenna spied a small shaggy critter with a super long mane and bushy tail and asked to 'ride' him.
We did walk her around a few times, but really all she wanted to do was just sit up there...and smile.

I would love to see that smile on her face again while she sits on an equine.

I hope you have a beautiful week with time for reading, and time for riding, NM :)