Most helpful positive review
The best book on the topic for novice horse people.
on June 23, 1999
I've been teaching riding and horsemanship for about 23 years and have often felt the need for just this book for my novice students and the hundreds of Pony Clubbers I've taught (and their parents!). No other book that I've found (and I own over 900 horse books) comes even close to the helpfulness and usefulness of Guay's book.
The author leads you through a series of decisions based upon _your_ situation, skills/experience, finances, and goals. Unlike most "how-to-buy-a-horse" books, this book doesn't go much into details about conformation, breeds, bloodlines, etc., as those are pretty much irrelevant for first-time horse owners. Instead, Guay takes the reader through the process of deciding, first, whether one should buy, lease, or just take lessons--including the financial and responsibility issues. If the decision is to buy a horse, she focuses on what is most important: finding an individual horse whose disposition and training make it suitable for that particular rider. She also strongly recommends getting help from an experienced horse person, preferably one's instructor.
This book is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to horse ownership. It is aimed at novices, not experienced horse people. For example, the author often covers what to experienced horse people may seem to be simple common sense, but which all too often can get novices into serious trouble. Guay emphasizes safety above all, both in selecting the horse and in riding and working with the horse.
Even though the book is aimed at novices, it should also be in every instructor's or trainer's library. We may forget what it's like to be a novice and looking for our first horse. Guay's book can help us understand and see things from the perspective of our students, and help them find a good horse for THEM, rather than what WE might buy.