Article: Books for Horse Lovers
Ten Very Good Ones

Books for Horse Lovers - Ten Very Good Ones

Looking for a top notch book about horses?

Here's ten good ones, in no particular order.

I've no idea what the ten "best horse books" might be but suspect that one or more of the books discussed below would fit in that category in most people's lists. So if you're looking for a good book for yourself or your horse lover read on.

  1. Natural Horse.Man.Ship by Pat Parelli

    Natural Horse.Man.Ship has got to be one of the best books in the industry insofar as working with and understanding horses is concerned. An established trainer for over 20 years, Parelli was mentored by the likes of masters Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt in developing his approach to "natural" horsemanship.

    The book is well organized with valuable information packed into virtually every paragraph. Parelli discusses "6 keys" to natural horsemanship as an overview, as an approach to work on the ground, and as an approach to work in the saddle.

    At you can find out more about the "Parelli Method". The way this book is organized makes it an excellent teaching/training resource.

  2. Dancing with Horses by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

    Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling is a highly acclaimed European trainer who has achieved recognition on this side of the Atlantic as well. His book (and video) shows how to use body language to communicate with the horse. The text is well supported by photographs and the book as a whole is well organized into "bite-sized" chunks.

    A search on the web for material on this horseman turns up sites in most of the major European languages. At last check (August '05) the web site was under revision.

  3. The New Encyclopedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartley Edwards is our favorite. A "Coffee Table" book elegant in appearance and jam-packed with information, the book features excellent photography, brief but informative by-breed descriptions, and equine history.

    The book begins with a chapter on the origins and evolution of the horse, moves to a discussion of early uses of the animal, describes Eastern and Islamic influence on equine history, the origins of the various breeds, and introduction of horses to America.

  4. Ultimate Horse, also by E.H. Edwards, is a fine general reference book, containing a wealth of information. It fits nicely into the "Coffee Table Book" category due to it's exceptional photography. While the bulk of this book describes the major breeds, you'll also find valuable information covering basic horse care.

    E.H. Edwards is a profilic and knowledgeable equestrian writer and his works are well worth the money.

  5. The Art of the Horse by John Fairley

    With over 120 wonderful illustrations of classic paintings, drawings, statues and figures (primarily paintings) The Art of the Horse would be a wonderful gift for the art lover with a passion for horses or the horse lover with an appreciation of fine art.

    Because of the many attractive illustrations this could make a fine coffee table book but the informative text on various aspects of horse art makes this book a fine cover-to-cover read.

  6. Horses of the Sun by Robert Vavra is a marvel of photographic work. Among Vavra's fine books I like this one the best.

    Vavra has photographed six breeds in this book including argueably the most photogenic of all, the Freisian. The photographs of Frans, the Fresian are "magical". Vavra's photographs are accompanied by fine verse and at the end of the book you'll read about each of the subjects that were photographed.

    When you first browse through this book you'll sense that Vavra had captured the personality of each of the horses; you can see it in their eyes.

    A visit to Vavra's gallery at is worthwhile if you enjoy fine equine photography.

  7. The Whole Horse Catalog has been on the scene for 25 years or more. While the book has undergone several editions, the material is essentially timeless.

    This book covers a wide range of topics and is very good choice for the novice horseman or horsewoman.

    There is valuable and detailed information on selecting a horse, horse care, apparel, tack, and equestrian activities together with interesting sections on the history of tack, saddles, spurs, and attire.

  8. UC Davis Book of Horses

    One of the largest equine health programs in the country is found at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Their goal in this book is to provide basic information to horse owners seeking a better understanding of a horse's health, well-being, and performance. Many experts have collaborated to produce ths book which contains among other subjects, diseases and disorders affecting the various body systems of the horse, infectious diseases, and special considerations for the aged horse.

    This book would be of value to any horse owner.

    In spite of the technical content it is directed towards the horse owner and lay person rather than to the veterinary practitioner.

    Prevention of disease and disorders is given the same emphasis as diagnosis and treatement. The book would be especially of value to the horse owner who lives more than a stones throw from the nearest veterinary clinic.

  9. Colin Vogel's Complete Horse Care Manual

    This is an attractive book, with excellent graphics, all major aspects of caring for a horse are covered including basic care, daily routines, stabling, grooming, feeding, health, first aid, and types of tack. It would be a fine book for a "first horse" owner.

    Vogel is an English veterinarian . Published in Great Britain, the illustrations in his book definitely reflect the english riding style. The book is not about riding or training however, so this is of no consequence to the western rider.

    It is about horse care, and the English know more than a bit about horses.

  10. The Horse Whisperer

    A Good Book (and Movie) - A young girl is involved in a traumatic accident with her horse.

    Her mother takes her and the horse across the the country to Montana and to the ranch of a talented healer of horses ( and as it turns out, people as well).

    The horse is the star of the show, at least in the movie which is as good as the book - almost.

    If you've seen the movie it follows the book but the book has a different ending. A good read and guess who provided the photograph for the cover of the book - Hint: see # 6.

And 10 1/2, I just had to include -

The Revised Horsemans Scrapbook by Randy Steffen.

This book is basically a compilation of ideas and articles the late Randy Steffin contributed to Western Horseman Magazine over a number of years.

This is a fun book for someone with a few acres and fences, gates, and outbuildings to maintain.

Many if not most of the ideas in this book are contributed by readers, and there are some very clever ideas indeed.

Need to put in some fencing? Many ideas here together with a variety of gates and gate latch ideas to go along with your fence.

There's a section on ropes and knots; one on making an emergency bridle, a rope halter, or a decorative Alamar knot. A host of things to make from horseshoes, barrels, and wagon wheels are shown along with useful ideas for tack and uses for leather remnants. Build a saddletree, make a hatband, block a hat, even truck and trailering tips will be found in this book. Lots and lots of information crammed into about 140 well illustated pages.

Copyright © 2005 W. Savage All Rights Reserved.

William "Bill" Savage, a retired, engineer lives on the Goose Bay Ranch in Montana where he spends time with family, horses, and his web site. You can read other articles of his on his web site