If you enjoy reading about horses in history, or just enjoy war stories then this is a great book for you! I'm pretty sure I'll pass this one over to my dad. The Perfect Horse tells the story of horses rounded up and kept in hiding during World War II. These horses were selected to create a master breed that was intended to be the perfect war animal.
Arabians and Lipizzaner from all different countries were stolen away from their homes and taken to a secluded farm to be bred into the perfect horse. These breeds were selected because of their beauty, strength, stamina and work ethic. Thankfully the two different breeds were never crossed but bloodlines and everything that went in to preserving these breeds up until this point were ignored and a lot of inbreeding took place.
This book is broken up into three parts, the first and largest section chronicles the horse's journey all around the countryside. This section is filled with stories about horses traveling hundreds of miles, tired, underfed, with feet worn down with bombs going off everywhere. The second section follows the American soldiers fighting their way across Germany and how they accidentally found out about the hundreds of stolen horses. The third section details the horses journey to safety. Unfortunately many didn't make it but quite a few did and their stories are heartwarming.
I don't want to spoil anything because you just need to read it! I'll say it was a little slow to get started but then it picked up and I couldn't put it down. Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts below.
This month we will be reading a classic. I don't think I ever read this book as a child but I loved the movie! I still have it on VHS somewhere lol. This book is about a young girl, Velvet Brown, and her adventures with her horse Pie that she won in a raffle and ultimately competing in the Grand National, a steeplechase competition. If you haven't read this book, let's read it together!
This months pick is brought to you by Heather Wallace a blogger, Equine and Canine Massage Therapist and Aromatherapist! She wrote this book from a place many riders are familiar with, being nervous in the saddle. I'm excited to read this one and see the many ways I can relate. This book is available here on Amazon. Grab a copy and read along!
I don't know if I've ever related so well to a book. A few years ago when I was going to school in New Jersey I interview with Tik to work for him as a working student. At the time the job wasn't the right fit for me, but I am so glad I've been able to learn from him anyway.
In this book Tik talks about his different experiences as a working student all over the world. He worked for strict show barns, family ranches and everything in between. As he experienced the many different ways of running a horse business Tik learned that all of this information was going to be crucial for him forming his own barn. This journey felt very relatable to me and I think it is a powerful one necessary for any future equine professional.
Tik has a way of writing that transports you in to the moment, sometimes it maybe trailed off a bit, but it always brought you back to a very real place. I think books like this are very timely and we need to be reading more like this! Seeing success in the horse business is often a mysterious vague story. Many times it seems like the only way to making it is through family money. In this book, Tik shows a more tangible approach to those who are willing to work for what they want. So much can be learned by getting out there in different ways to learn. If that is something you can't do, reading this book will make you feel like you've been out on Tik's journey with him!
Did you read this book with us? What did you think?
This book club selection was brought to you by Trafalgar Square Books.
All opinions are mine.
This would be a great book for beginners looking to understand more about horses. Dr. Hamilton goes all the way back to talk briefly about the history of horses and what shaped them into the creatures we interact with today. He explains how they have changed from being wild animals of the plains to domestic.
He then continues on to talk about basic horse/human interactions, like leading and grooming and how these simple tasks help you get to know, establish trust and bond with your horse. Hamilton then brings in the idea of chi and how our energy affects our horse. Now, don't let this turn you off because it sounds woo woo. Horses are prey animals and in order to survive all these years they have needed to sense danger without seeing, hearing or smelling it. The smallest thing needs to be noticed by a horse so they can determine if it is a threat or something to ignore. That means when you storm into the barn after a frustrating day at work, your horse absorbs all of that energy and can get just as jumpy as you are! He also talks about the power of intention, and I think this is where a lot of riders fall off the tracks. There needs to be an intention with everything you do with a horse and often times we're so distracted with so many other things the purpose and feel of the moment disappears.
While some of the sections I just skimmed over because they were basics I already knew, being refreshed on how a horse ticks is always valuable. Dr. Hamilton talked many times about if we want to truly partner with a horse we have to put our rushed, predatory ways aside and learn to have the patience needed to communicate clearly. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is around horses. Whether you are new to them, only around them because of someone else, or a trainer this book has many important topics and reminders!
August is just around the corner and the selected book is easily findable in stores. We will be reading Elizabeth Letts' second book The Perfect Horse. This book is about rescuing white stallions during WW2 that were stolen and were in danger of becoming dinner. Letts is the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion so you know this one is going to be good!
Are you ready to dive in to our next book? Well this book is literally being released TODAY! We will be reading Tik Maynard's book In The Middle Are The Horseman. Tik writes about his vast experience being a working student and all of the lessons he has learned along the way. You can pick up your copy through Trafalgar Square Books and use the code BARNRAT to get 20% off and free shipping!
So, I don't know if you remember me saying that I was nervous about reading this book. I honestly expected to read about questionable living conditions for the horses and dangerous things the horses were asked to do, but thankfully this book was the absolute opposite! Sonora's voice is so positive you can't help but feel the love and respect they had for their horses.
She talks about how they trained the horses and everything she said still holds true today. Good horsemanship is good horsemanship. I also expected the writing to feel older since the story is based on 1920ish happenings and published in the early 60's but the book feels modern even though traveling acts like diving horses is nothing I've ever known.
This was an easy read, it took me two days to finish, but it wasn't just easy for the sake of simplicity, I got wrapped up in the chapters describing each horse Sonora rode and how detailed she was in sharing their unique personalities. I felt like I got to know each horse and really saw how the horse had a passion for their job just like any horse could have today. The horse's personalities shined through so well that I found myself actually laughing out loud that my husband asked what was happening.
I also expected that the circumstances of Sonora going blind would have been from negligence or some scary disaster that I was hesitant to read about. But, in true horse person fashion, the incident that lead to her blindness is something I could see most horse people brushing off and continuing on like nothing happened. She actually continued her act for 11 years after going blind! Sonora was a true tough as nails horse professional that I see constantly in the industry today.
This book far exceeded my expectations and was very enjoyable! I'm looking forward to finding the movie made based on it (Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken) to watch as soon as possible!
For the month of June we will be diving into the topic of understanding what your horse is saying. Zen Mind Zen Horse combines eastern philosophy with horsemanship and how understanding how horses communicate deals with the energy your horse is giving off. I'm sure we've all felt totally clueless to what our horses are trying to tell us! I'm excited to dive into this book and I hope you pick up a copy today on Amazon!
Charlotte Dujardin has taken the dressage world by storm! Basically, as soon as she reached the top level she was winning all the major titles with her horse Valegro or known in the barn as Blueberry. At only 33 years old Charlotte will be around for many years and getting a glimpse into her life thus far was a treat. Often, you get to read about great riders after their careers are somewhat over. I feel like I got a peek into the current industry at this current time instead of looking back on an industry I've never known. More riders should put out books!
The book starts by walking you through Charlotte's riding as a child and how it was a family affair. She even left high school at 16 to pursue her riding. And at 21 she started her working relationship with Carl Hester, who she still works with to this day. It was interesting to think about the differences between the U.K. and the U.S. and being so much closer to all of your countries top riders instead of being spread out so far.
Charlotte's writing style is so comfortable and enjoyable. I feel like I know her and if we ever met we would already be friends. I liked that she shared her battle with depression. It's so easy to think that someone with so much success would be immune to those feelings. I love that she's contributing to a conversation that is worth having! Through her stories, we got a glimpse into what it takes to be at the highest level of the equestrian sport. I was shocked to read about how hard she is on herself, she would come out of the ring with a record breaking score and still talk about all the parts that went wrong. Some parts of this book were definitely hard to relate to, but all in all I really enjoyed it!
This book was brought to you by Trafalgar Square Books.
All opinions are my own.
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