TSB Senior Editor Looks Back on the Horse Books and DVDs of 2010

When you work from deadline to deadline, and one publishing season to the next, it is easy to lose track of the projects you’ve worked on and the great material you’ve had the opportunity to read (over and over and over again, in my case!) In fact, as I wrote this post, I had to dig out our publishing schedule and catalog to remind myself which books and DVDs we released in 2010…at TSB we already have our heads in 2011’s new books and DVDs, and we’re brainstorming ideas and acquiring new projects for 2012 and beyond. But I’m glad I took a moment to look back on 2010, as I think it was truly a banner year for us in terms of producing a wide range of material on a variety of horse-related subjects and equestrian disciplines. Here then are a few of my thoughts on the books and DVDs we called our own in the past 12 months:

Beyond a Whisper by Ryan Gingerich

Ryan is known as “The Behaviorist” and deals with problem-solving behavior issues on his RFD-TV show. This book is absolutely smashing to look at–great color, great design, good photos. And I really like Ryan’s no-nonsense, animal behavior-based training methodology. It is refreshing to, as he says, “think outside the round pen.”

Donkeys: Miniature, Standard, and Mammoth by Dr. Stephen Purdy

We published this book because there really wasn’t anything out there that served as a solid vet guide for donkey owners and breeders. It has received some really great reviews, and Dusty Perin’s cover photo is a real winner, in my book.

Dressage Training Customized by Britta Schoffmann

We published the book Britta did with Klaus Balkenhol, and also the hit Dressage School, in the English language. This book is a really interesting take on how to adjust dressage training (really, any horse training) according to breed, size, gender, and other individual characteristics.

Better than Bombproof by Sgt. Rick Pelicano

Sgt. Pelicano’s first book Bombproof Your Horse was an international bestseller, and his techniques are so applicable to every rider and every horse, it just made sense to do a follow-up. My favorite parts in this book are the exercises discharging firearms from the saddle and the chapter on self-defense for trail riders. Fantastic!

50 5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding by Wendy Murdoch

This isn’t an upsell. There really are 50 and each lesson really takes no time at all. Wendy is great at conceiving easy, practical ways to learn to feel your body differently and therefore better your position. Infinitely useful to have around the barn, and something I wish existed back when I used to give the neighborhood kids lessons in my backyard.

Kottas on Dressage by Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg

We waited a long time for this book. It was worth it.

The Rider’s Guide to Real Collection by Lynn Palm

Another beautiful book. Lynn Palm has to have some of the nicest looking horses on the East Coast…and she gives those who ride stock horses–particularly Paints, Appys, and Quarter Horses–some fantastic exercises for getting them off the forehand, on the aids, and collected, in either Western or English tack.

Mini School by Sabine Ellinger

I’m partial to this book because I had two Minis when I was a teenager. I drove one of them in a cart that was built for a St. Bernard and trained the other tricks. Sabine provides great instruction for both pursuits…and really anything you want to do with your Mini. Her Mini Appy is quite famous in Europe and Australia. You can check out one of their performances here:

Women Are from Venus and So Are Their Horses by Menno Kalmann

Yes, it is as funny as its title implies. You’ll laugh, your barnmates will laugh, and your husband/boyfriend/dad will laugh, too. If I had a horsey book club, this would be my pick of the week–you’re bound to find one or seven stories with which to identify.

Pilates for Riders by Lindsay Wilcox-Reid

Lindsay is going to be our featured author in January, our “Fitness Month.” This book is really fantastically laid out, and the exercises (which to be honest, I have not personally tried yet–but there’s always next month!) are clearly explained. Who doesn’t want to get fit in 2011? Really, you can’t go wrong when you mix riding with a great way to tone and condition the ol’ bod.

Lorenzo–The Flying Frenchman by Luisina Dessagne

I don’t know how many times we received the YouTube clips of Lorenzo roman riding his six- or eight-in-hand through the water before we all looked at each other and said, “We MUST do his book!” The man is truly amazing, and this book illustrates his story in a lovely manner, with fantastic behind-the-scenes pictures and insights from Lorenzo himself. We’ll have his new DVD in 2011, but for now, curl up with a cup of cocoa and daydream with the book…it’s not a bad way to pass the time, I can tell you. (And in case you were under a rock and missed the viral video, here it is again:

Trick Training for Horses by Bea Borelle

Bea is a hoot, and her sense of fun is readily apparent in this heavily illustrated book. Her horses clearly adore her, and she gives everyone the means to teaching their horse tricks using a positive-enforcement-based method (lots and lots of carrots!) Full of great ways to entertain your horse (and yourself!) in early spring when the trails are still icy/muddy and you’re bored to tears in the arena…

The Gaited Horse Bible by Brenda Imus

It is so important that we continue to educate ourselves about the gaited breeds, how they are built, and how they can move smoothly, correctly, and in the desired gait without the use of cruel techniques such as soring. Brenda’s advocacy for naturally gaited horses and humane techniques is admirable, and her book really provides the means for those interested in owning a gaited horse to ride and train him in a conscientious and kind manner.

The Modern Horseman’s Countdown to Broke 4-DVD Set by Sean Patrick

Sean Patrick’s book of the same name has some of the nicest reviews I’ve ever seen for a training book, and he continues to astound us at TSB with his honest, earnest work ethic and downright terrific way with horses. Sean responded to the many calls for a DVD to match his best-selling book with this set–he takes a horse through all 33 steps of his Countdown to Broke so you can see how to do it, as well as read his step-by-step instructions. Sean did a really nice job with these DVDs–they are a classy package.

Naturally Curious by Mary Holland

What’s this, you ask? Yes, TSB publishes books other than those on horses and equestrian sport, although horses are our specialty. Naturally Curious is a book by a New England naturalist who writes a column for the local newspaper (local to our North Pomfret, Vermont, location) and this book is a one-of-a-kind resource for the Northeast. It features over 900 photographs of New England flora and fauna, and serves as both field guide and fireside read. If you live in New England, or visit occasionally, and you love the outdoors, this is a really great book.

TSB published a number of craft books in 2010, too (you can see them at our main site www.trafalgarbooks.com) but the hour is late and I have books to edit in the morning…I’ll sign off with a holiday photo of my son, Augustin, with our Managing Director, Martha Cook, and her Morgan “Buster” (or “Bustew,” as Gustin calls him). Happy New Year to all!

Martha, Augustin, and "Bustew"

Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

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