Friday Favorite: “Training The Three Day Event Horse & Rider”

Other than the USPC manuals, Jim Wofford’s Training the Three-Day Event Horse and Rider is my favorite equestrian book. I’ve read it cover to cover multiple times, and I learn something new with every read.

Why is it so good? For starters, it’s very thorough. Jim Wofford covers everything from acquiring a horse, training for each of the three phases, addressing specific problems, and exercises for improving your riding and your horse.

It’s written concisely, and in many sections, pictures are used to illustrate a concept more often than text. The pictures are perhaps my favorite part: they’re nearly all of Jim Wofford and he isn’t afraid to criticize himself. (However, he never reaches George Morris-levels of disapproval.) There’s a detailed appendix full of diagrams for gymnastic jumping exercises, sample conditioning schedules, and how best to log and record your rides.

All of that makes for an excellent read and reference, but my very favorite part of the book is the sense of humor with which it’s written. Some of my favorite quotes:

“To start at the beginning, the first thing you need to go eventing is some kind of horse.” (p. 17)

“If three-day event riders have a tendency to over-bit their horses in dressage, they have an absolute compulsion to over-bit their horses for the cross-country test.” (p. 27)

“Probably the least common form of resistance is that of a horse that from birth willingly sets himself, mentally and physically, against the rider. My best advice to you is to sell this horse. Now.” (p. 86)

“The first rule of cross-country is that you don’t win if you fall off.” (p. 88)

“It is amusing but true that if you do not lose your knee grip, you will never fall off.” (p. 140)

“There is no sense in galloping down to a telephone pole cemented in the ground with a horse that is waiting to be told what to do with his feet.” (p. 168)

“The second tool is to maintain a diary. By diary I do not mean a ‘Dear Diary, my horse was terrible today’ sort of operation.” (p. 182)

Training the Three Day Event Horse and Rider is a marvelous read for any level eventer (or anyone who likes to see pictures of horses jumping ridiculous fences). It can be found at Bit of Britain for about $28.

What are your favorite equestrian books? Should we get a horse book club going? How about a book swap?

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

3 thoughts on “Friday Favorite: “Training The Three Day Event Horse & Rider””

  1. This books is one of my favorites! I don't event any more, but I keep a copy to lend out to friends who do. I also love auditing Jimmy clinics. He and George Morris could go head to head in a snarky, but hilarious, comment war. 🙂

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