By the Book

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Most equine professionals have one thing in common: They’re hungry for knowledge. Knowledge is available in many forms today, and although the Internet is convenient, books are still one of the best sources for accurate information. With winter coming and outdoor activities slowing down for much of the country, there’s no better time to round up a few good reads.

The industry doesn’t lack for published material on every equine subject under the sun, and everyone has their favorites. But just in case you’re missing a good book, Stable Management asked five equine professionals across the country about their libraries. Here are their 19 top picks for legal, business, veterinary treatments, philosophy, and “fun.”

LEGAL BOOKS

1) “Equine Legal Handbook,” by Gary Katz. In addition to the following business books that cover legal topics, Aranaway Farm and Training Stable co-owner Mary Anne Morrison of Grants Pass, Oregon, refers to this for common documents and forms.

2) “Equine Liability,” by James Clark-Dawe. Stable Management’s own legal expert wrote this book, which covers topics comprehensively, explains past precedents and provides an easy-to-follow checklist for each area of potential liability.

3) “The Ultimate Equine Legal and Business Advisor,” by George G. Johnson, Jr. and Tracy D. Dowson. The book covers all legal aspects of running an equine business.

BUSINESS BOOKS

1) “Starting and Running Your Own Horse Business,” by Mary Ashby McDonald. Yvette Mann, co-owner of Timber Ridge Horse Campground in Jamestown, Tennessee, says, “It has lots of examples and covers a whole lot, from liability to marketing ideas to stable management.” She also uses this book as her legal reference.

2) “Complete Guide for Horse Business Success,” by Janet English. Amethyst Acres Equine Center co-owner Debbie Burke of Buchanan, Virginia, likes the book because it’s easy to read and includes samples of many legal forms. Lora Blair, owner and manager of eventing-focused Fox Run Farm in Columbia, Missouri, seconds this pick.

3) “Growing Your Horse Business,” by Lisa Derby Oden, an equine business consultant. This book is thorough yet easy to read, according to Marsha McKinsey, stable manager at Scott McKinsey Cutting Horses in Glen Rose, Texas. Plus, Oden offers a free online newsletter at www.horseconsulting.com.

4) “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Starting a Business,” by Vickie Montgomery. While not written specifically for equine businesses, this book is in Blair’s library because “it simply explains many aspects of business, including marketing to hiring and managing employees.”

VETERINARY BOOKS

1) “The Merck Veterinary Manual,” published annually, is what Linda Black, trainer and co-owner of Cross 9 Ranch in Spiceland, Indiana, picks up for technical but accurate veterinary information.

2) “The Horse Owner’s Veterinary Handbook,” by James Giffin, MD, and Tom Gore, DVM. Mann recommends this book because “we’re not all vets…It’s easy to read and has good information that’s not too technical. It also has a lot of pictures and some really good drawings.”

3) “Illustrated Atlas of Clinical Equine Anatomy and Common Disorders of the Horse,” by Ronald Riegel, DVM, and Susan Hakola, RN, CMI; a two-volume set. Both are essential references for Burke’s equine reproduction facility.

4) “Blessed are the Broodmares,” by Phyllis Lose. McKinsey explains that it “pertains more to breeding but contains excellent, common-sense information about equine management from a veterinary perspective.”

PHILOSOPHY BOOKS

1) “Horse, Follow Closely,” by GaWaNi Pony Boy. Mann’s husband and business partner, Joe, especially enjoys this read. “It has a little bit of both philosophy and training,” says Yvette.

2) “The Complete Training of Horse & Rider,” by Alois Podhajsky. Morrison, a Morgan horse breeder and trainer, likes the combination of philosophy and training in this book,which is based on the principles of the Spanish Riding School.

3) “Think Harmony with Horses,” by Ray Hunt. Black and her husband and business partner, Bill, have been studying with this horsemanship master for years, so it’s a natural top choice for both of them.

4) “Tao of Equus,” by Linda Kohanov. According to Lisa Robertson, owner of Royal Legend Arabians and Horse Center in Bryan, Texas, “Whether you would put this into the ‘fiction’ or ‘philosophy’ section would depend on the person reading the book, but it’s certainly an interesting read.”

FUN OR FICTION BOOKS

1) “Trading Paper” and “Never Enough!” by Cali Canberra. These two fiction books set in the Arabian horse world are Robertson’s choices for unwinding.

2) The “Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul” compilation is Mann’s favorite fun horse book. She says, “You can pick it up, read a few short stories, and put it down,” making it convenient for a busy life.

3) “The Black Stallion” series, by Walter Farley. Burke and her husband and business partner, Mark, enjoy these. She says, “They are my husband’s favorite, and he read them all as a kid. I had never read them until we met, and I read the first one on our honeymoon.”

4) “The Horse Whisperer,” by Nicholas Evans. Black’s fiction recommendation is the love story that just about every horseperson can fall in love with.

Reading up on business and industry issues is important for success, but so are those quiet times with a good book to enjoy. The local library, Websites such as Amazon.com and eBay.com, organization bookstores, and local bookstores are great places to get quality horse titles, often at discount prices. Happy reading!