As Christmas approaches it is often an opportunity to buy or receive things that you haven’t really had time to think about for a while. Like books or videos. After all the nights are getting dark early, the weather is awful and there is only so much dodging in and out of hail and sleet showers that you can do, so why not turn your horsey interests into something slightly less physical.
Having decided to catch up on reading the temptation might be to go for the newest books and the latests DVDs because they must be the best, right?
But what about all those books we meant to read and never got around to doing, books we know had good reviews at the time and were definitely on our horsey bucket list of things to buy, once we had finished filling it with other more practical things like horse shampoo. These books are also often cheaper, which means you can buy more!
One of my favourite authors at the moment is Kelly Marks and she like many other experts in her field (no pun intended) has produced loads of materials that I have meant to read or look at and never got around to doing. So this article is a collection of material that she has available at the moment and which will make a welcome addition to anyone’s wish list of presents for whatever special occasion and at whatever time of the year.
Kelly is probably better known for her intelligent horsemanship work and TV appearances, but she is actually from a racehorse background with her father working as a racehorse trainer and she raced herself for a while. She mentions in her book Perfect Manners about the time she decided to stop using a whip in racing and the fact that she actually performed better after that time.
Her chance meeting with Monty Roberts in 1993 was the start of what has been a very enlightening and wonderful relationship, both for Kelly herself but also for her fans who have become used to seeing her practice Monty’s system of Joinup. She has since gone on to develop her own intelligent horsemanship following and training courses.
The following video provides a good overview of some of the work Kelly has done, and there are a whole range of other DVDs and videos on YouTube which give even more information.
Kelly has written a number of books using the title Perfect ….. The first book I want to share with you I actually have in my library and find it a great read. This book is called Perfect Manners and looks at building a relationship with your horse to help it through different scenarios.
The book is intended to help anyone to work closer with their horse and overcome difficult behaviour problems, which Kelly describes as being due to the horse not knowing any better, because nobody explained to them about manners and behaviour.
Kelly’s book is full of tips and case studies to help explain why some horses behave the way they do and what responses are needed to help the situation.
Her writing style is down to earth and easy to read, even down to her 12 point list of tips for staying calm!
Perfect Manners Chapter Topics
The book is divided into three sections which all include pictures, diagrams, case studies, stories and writing.
- Recognising good manners – which includes the foundation exercises, join up and the rules of training
- Teaching good manners – from catching your pony, behaviour at home, travelling and show time
- Deepening Your Knowledge – which also looks at human manners and learning more about human / horse interactions.
This book is one of her earlier books and is still an international best seller and is an absolute must in understanding how to work the basics with your horse. It is also relatively cheap so not a burden on the wallet.
Become Perfect Partners
This book is her follow on from Perfect Manners and uses the same witty and easy to read approach to helping riders understand how their horse thinks.
In this book Kelly really focuses on building a long lasting positive relationship between horse and rider. Her focus is on both rider and horse enjoying working together and developing a strong partnership, the aim of the book as the cover says is- “how to be the owner the horse would choose himself”
Perfect Partners Chapter Topics
The book is divided into 10 chapters which look at all aspects of working with your horse from horse behaviour to understanding intelligent horsemanship. My favourite chapter in this book is on Feel and Timing.
Chapter 1 -Feel and Timing
This chapter focuses on building a relationship and understanding the horse. Kelly challenges the notion that you’ve either got it or you haven’t when it comes to working with horses and instead she insists that all the skills are learnt and available for everyone. There are a number of exercises that Kelly introduces that can be done with people and on the ground, in order to practice the skills she is trying to explain.
Kelly has her own approach and style of writing and like Perfect Manners this book is well presented with ideas, practical tips and witty writing to keep you entertained throughout. This is a newer book than Perfect Manners and is a little bit more expensive but the other one is so cheap the two books together would make a very good gift for a horsey friend (or for yourself if you can get someone to buy it!).
The third and final book in this Kelly Mark’s feature is Perfect Confidence.
In this book the aim is to help riders overcome their lack of confidence with horses, whether this is managing or riding or at competitions.
Kelly herself admits that confidence is an issue that affects everyone, including herself. Writing this book is a personal journey for Kelly as she also shares her own confidence problems and how she dealt with them.
The book is a practical project designed to encourage you and support you as you tackle your own confidence problems with horses. There are assignments in every chapter such as defining your own goals and definitions of success for you and your horse.
It is a bit like a life coaching book but specifically for your life with horses.
Perfect Confidence Chapter Topics
The book is divided into 9 chapters and similar to the other bestsellers that Kelly has written, this book includes stories and examples to explain everything in a clear and easy to understand manner. Her understanding of horse psychology is now matched with human psychology, to help overcome potential difficulties and problems.
Choose any one or all of these three titles will provide an amazing present or gift for yourself or others. This is like a mini course in building relationships with your horse and developing a better understanding of yourself as a rider.
I like Kelly as a presenter but I think her books are equally good if not better at communicating exactly how she thinks and understands horse behaviour and what is needed from us as riders, to make that relationship between horse and rider even stronger.