Horsemanship for adult non-owner

Any books/clinics/ideas on horsemanship for a re-rider, non-owner, just getting back into the sport?

I grew up as a middle-class, horse-crazy, Pony Club/hunter-jumper kid in a non-horsey (or non-English riding) part of the United States. Returning to the sport as an adult, riding in lesson barns in the very horsey mid- Atlantic, and lack of focus on horsemanship is jarring. I’ve volunteered at rescues once or twice just to remember what it’s like to pick out a stall.

If I want to read, or clinic, or volunteer, or somehow spend my time remembering/learning how to care for the animal outside of riding it, any suggestions?

Do you still have your pony club books?

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@Peggy, thanks! I don’t, though I have thought of buying the Manual and starting from there. Just bought Centered Riding (Sally Swift, I think) and a Jane Savoie book on mindset/confidence. But looking for an authoritative guide on like, bits and feed types and leg wraps, you know? Does one such book not exist?

You can try the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Study Guide to start. Some of it is based on the Pony Club Manuals. They list reference books at the end of each section, so that would give you some books.

Not sure if it’s available to non-members, but here’s a link. I downloaded it and put it in my Apple Books App. Link -

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This is so helpful, thank you!

For every two horse people there are three opinions. There is no definitive guide to anything - but the Pony Club books are still great. I’d pick up all three if I were you. Also, Pony Club has changed a lot of things, including allowing adults to join now. It might be worth finding out if there are other adults in your local club.

Yes, it’s broken down into three manuals now: D, C1/C2, and C3-A. All three would make a nice library, but if you only want to buy one, I’d get the C manual in your case. It generally expands on what’s in the D manual, and if you have a good childhood background, you can probably catch up there.

I want to second this thought.

Thank you all for these great suggestions. I’ve ordered the C manual and will start there!

And thank you for the suggestion to find a local club with adult members. Not owning a horse - or having access to a trailer - makes me think that I won’t be able to get involved. But I live in horse country (the mid-Atlantic/DC area) and so may have more options than I realize. I’ll do some research and will plan to post here if I have trouble connecting with a club.

Look around and ask the clubs.
I know of one club in my area that has some ladies that do not have a horse. They participate in the unmounted meetings (so learning horsemanship stuff) and sometimes hop on a horse at the mounted meetings.

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Another book that would fit the bill is “The BHS Complete Guide to Stable Management.” It’s from England, but I’ve seen it in the US. Some things are more British-based than US, but it’s solid horsemanship stuff (and Pony Club grew out of the BHS system).

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There are several riding center Pony Clubs in the DC area but I’m not sure which ones have adult members.

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Is “A Horse of Your Own” still in print?

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Thanks Janet, it is! I’ve ordered a copy. Looks like a great resource.