A Look at Books

Every barn should have a library of reference materials. Here’s a look at some books the reviewer finds to be “must-have’s.”

For a safe and smoothly running business, and because even the finest horsemen and smartest stable owners may have questions that require timely, accurate information, no stable is complete without a small library of essential books covering a few, basic subjects.

Answers for questions, varying from how to care for an injured horse to writing a contract for a new barn manager, should be available when and where you need them most. The must-have subjects for the ever-useful stable library include books on basic veterinary skills, feeding practices, grooming and conditioning, stable management, horse training and running a successful horse business. With the following books stationed in your stable’s office or tack room, the answers will always be close at hand.

“Veterinary Treatments & Medications for Horseman,” published and written by the research staff of Equine Research Publications, is a classic, veterinary book for the average horseman. This thorough and easy-to-follow reference covers step-by-step care for sick and injured horses as well as preventive health care, first aid, drugs and many other equine health subjects. The book is well worth the $75 price at

The premise for the book “Feeding and Care of the Horse,” second edition, is that a horse is only as good as what he eats. Lon D. Lewis’s book, published by Williams & Wilkins Publishers and priced at $36.95, covers everything from vitamins, minerals and basic feeds to horses with special feed needs, pasture maintenance and feed-related illnesses. It helps readers understand how to make sure each horse gets the right amount and correct feed for optimum performance.

“Grooming to Win: How to Groom, Trim, Braid, and Prepare Your Horse for Show,” provides answers to a host of grooming and conditioning questions. It has 201 pages of information on the daily and show care of many breeds in different disciplines. The second edition, published in 1991 by Howell Books and written by Susan E. Harris, is a must-have in the stable. It costs about $24.

The Pony Club is an organization that prides itself on all-around horsemanship, so it makes sense that their manuals are a great source of information on subjects that include horse care, training, stable management and riding. “The United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship: Advanced Horsemanship/B/HA/A Levels,” the most advanced in a series of three manuals, will also be the most useful in a professional horseman’s barn, although no horseman’s library could be truly complete without all three. They are written by Susan E. Harris, the author of “Grooming to Win,” priced at $18.36 at and published by Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company.

There are a number of books on the market for managing and owning horse businesses, but “Complete Guide for Horse Business Success,” published by Equine Research Inc. and priced at $48, is one of the best. Within its 288 pages, it covers marketing, taxes, insurance, record keeping, contracts and many other aspects of equine business and industry. The author, Janet E. English, has included all the steps for getting a new stable off the ground and making an established stable a total success.

Another great reference book is Thomas F. Soderberg’s “When Horses Are What You Do.” The manual comes with both a written and audio version and covers everything from instructors to maintenance and from marketing to long-term goals. The author’s main goal is to help horse professionals earn a living. The manual costs $150 and can be ordered by calling (651)-734-9015.

By stocking your reference library in the horse barn with titles covering many subjects and the well-respected books listed above, you’ll seldom be at a loss for pertinent, accessible information, no matter what your equine questions. And while a reference library kept in the horse barn might get a bit more soiled than if it were kept in the house, it certainly won’t get dusty from lack of use.






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