Book Review: The Riding Horse Repair Manual

RidingHorseRepMan

This review ran in the July 7 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse. I’m a great admirer of Doug Payne and his ability to ride so many horses. Perhaps this book will come in handy as Bear progresses through his training!

Trafalgar Square Books, Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053. 2014. 224 PAGES. HORSEANDRIDERBOOKS.COM. $29.95.

 While he’s best known as a top-level event rider, Doug Payne has ridden just about every kind of horse and ridden in several different disciplines—from upper level dressage to grand prix show jumping and from well-schooled packers to wild buckers and stubborn ponies.

So it’s no surprise that his debut book, The Riding Horse Repair Manual, covers solutions for nearly every kind of riding problem you could encounter.

Payne starts the book with an important reminder about bad behavior in horses—“Many times these behaviors have their root in poor riding and training. Nearly always, such problems can be fixed with correct riding and retraining so these horses can be ‘reclaimed,’ and enjoy their intended job.”

In the first few chapters, Payne covers how to start a green horse by suggesting groundwork exercises and explaining his methods for backing, longeing and how to get through the first few rides.

The remainder of the book is split into neat sections like “Contact Issues,” “Unruly Outbursts” and “Jumping Issues” to make it easy to reference a particular problem.

Payne explains the issue clearly, offers one or two reasons why it may be happening, then offers a couple of solutions with step-by-step instructions.

There are several tips scattered throughout each page, as well as photo sequences of disobediences in action (those must have been fun to capture!) and diagrams of jumping exercises.

The last section features several stories of horses Payne’s ridden, including his top mount, Crown Talisman, who overcame a fear of loud noises and tension to become a winning advanced horse.

Payne’s advice and solutions show an honest, thoughtful horseman who always looks for the good in any horse but doesn’t shy away from a serious “problem child.”

If you’ve ever come across an issue with a horse young or old, experienced or not, you’re sure to find an answer in The Riding Horse Repair Manual.

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