Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recommended Reading for All Disciplines

There is a book that I don't think has had enough promotion and accolades given for it's valuable information. (If you click on the book title here or at the bottom of the post, it will take you to Claire Lilley's website.)
Schooling With Ground Poles : Flatwork for Every Horse Every Sport by Claire Lilley
I would include in the title For Every Rider since it has some skill enhancing techniques that even a novice backyard horse and rider can benefit from.  I stumbled on this book while perusing Ebay one day a while back. When I was instructing riders, it's so hard sometimes, to get a particular bit of detail across in more than one way so I purchased the book for ideas. It's a fantastic arsenal of information for riders, trainers, instructors and owners.

The book covers the basics on everything from scant ground equipment needs, lunging, in hand work, rider's aids, retraining an ill tempered horse, jumping and dressage movements through Prix St. George level. You would be surprised at how many intricate details of riding can be enhanced with simple ground pole exercises.

I've always tried to drill equitation riders on course elements set up with ground poles but no matter how hard you try, most do not want or will not, believe that the jump does not come from jumping but rather the flatwork a rider and horse put time into. Until you can easily see the lines of course elements and ride them smoothly, jumping them is not going to ramp up your equitation wins.

Claire Lilley's experience spans the upper levels of not only dressage but show jumping, vaulting and instucting in all of her unique specialties. The book is well written and extremely well illustrated with easy to understand explanations for lessons and goals.

Schooling with Ground Poles was first published in 2003 by Trafalgar Square Publishing. I do not know if there have been subsequent editions as mine is a hard back copy from the original 2003 printing.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has anything to do with horses. Whether you show or not, train or not, instruct or not, ride or are a care giver, handling horses only in halter; this book has something for you to enhance your skills or teach you and your horse new elements.

Just about everything that can be corrected, initially trained for horse and / or rider is covered in well illustrated, easy to understand language which also makes it wonderful reference for beginners all the way to master instructors.
If you can have only one horse book, get
Schooling With Ground Poles : Flatwork for Every Horse Every Sport by Claire Lilley


  1. Oooh. That looks like a really good read. Especially for me and my still-fairly-green gelding. We've got ground poles for use but I never really know what to do with them when I'm working with him on my own besides set them up as four poles lying parallel to trot over.

    My instructor also likes to make a "box" out of them and have us work on walking into the box, halting within it, and backing out. Or pivoting around and going out the way we came in.

    Off to check the book out now. :)

  2. That looks like a cool book! Neat-O!

  3. I love, love, looooove this book. I have worked my mare through a lot of its exercises.


I am just one judge with one judge's opinion. Almost all of the classes I judge are based on the rules of USEF & AQHA. Judging a horse show is very subjective to the interpretation of the rules. Please keep this in mind when commenting.