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Winter Reading List

By Leslie Potter

Thursday, December 10, 2009

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As I write this, snow is furiously blowing past the windows. It won't stick, and the forecast predicts it will be clear by this afternoon, but for now it makes for a dramatic view. Snow or no snow, weather.com says that it's currently 23 degrees with a "feels like" temperature of 9.

Winter is here, and I think the worst part of it is that it's technically still fall! We're still more than a week away from the winter solstice. If I'm contemplating hibernation already, how will I survive January and February?

But enough of my bellyachin'. I'm determined to not let winter get the best of me, and so far I'm doing pretty well. Since Snoopy gets a late-night hay feeding in winter, I have a ready-made incentive (requirement, really) to go to the barn every day, regardless of weather. On cold days, getting out to the barn is half the battle, so once I'm there it only makes sense to give him a thorough grooming and maybe even go for a ride.

Still, the limitations of cold temperatures, ice and snow, and precious few hours of daylight mean that the long rides and intense schooling sessions will probably have to wait until spring. We can still make the most of the involuntary time indoors, though. What's better than coming home after a cold winter ride and thawing out with some hot chocolate, a blanket or two, and a good book? With this in mind, I'm working on my equestrian reading list.

First up is George Morris's classic Hunter Seat Equitation. I've actually read through this volume before, years ago, but since I'm pursuing hunt seat riding once again, I think it's time for a refresher. Maybe it'll actually help me improve my riding in between lessons. In the book's introduction, Morris writes:

Books are often ridiculed as a means of teaching riding and this attitude has always mystified me. Regardless of the subject of study, books can effectively give you the benefit of someone else's experience. By taking advantage of another's knowledge through books as well as personal instruction, you can stimulate your learning abilities and more quickly consolidate your technical security.

Sounds reasonable to me, and who am I to argue with George Morris?  I'll let you know if my studious efforts help my riding.

I acknowledge that the Bible of Equitation could be a bit dry, so I've got a good story lined up, too. I started reading Renegade Champion months ago, but I put it down and forgot about it as summer activities took over my time. That's a bad habit of mine. Renegade Champion is the true story of Jane Pohl, a groundbreaking female equestrian in the 1940s, and the reject Thoroughbred named Fitzrada that Pohl campaigned in top level show jumping competition. It's interesting to read about a time when women riders weren't considered as capable as men, especially because it really wasn't that long ago. That's a central theme of Pohl's story, and I'm eager to pick it back up again.

It's going to be a long winter, so if anyone has suggestions for other good reading material, please share!

If you're looking for inspiration for your reading list, we've got a list of 30 books to get you started here.  I'll admit I've got a ways to go on that list, too.

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Reader Comments

Howard    Ashland, KY

12/14/2009 9:44:52 AM

"In Service to the Horse," a non-fiction chronicle of grooms in 3 different equestrian sports, is one of the best I've ever read - particularly the eventing portion. By Susan Nusser.

Leslie    Lexington, KY

12/14/2009 9:29:06 AM

Thanks for the suggestions! I made some headway on Renegade Champion this weekend, and I'm afraid I'll be done with it before the worst winter weather hits. I need all the reading material I can get to make it to spring!

Katie    Pasadena, CA

12/11/2009 3:32:45 PM

I wish I had the time to do reading for fun.

Alecia    Birmingham, AL

12/11/2009 2:45:11 PM

You have got to read "Chosen by a Horse". Its a true story, can't remember the woman who wrote it but you should be able to find it without any trouble. Its amazing.

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