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If I Were To Train a Horseby Jack Brainard


2013/03/05




Review by Leigh Ballard

Jack Brainard was well into his eighties when he compiled his life’s work and passion for training horses into a volume of well-explained methods for good horsemanship. His common sense style and easy to understand explanations of complex training concepts make this book a real asset for horsemen who want to  achieve a high level of acuity with their horse.

One of Jack’s simple but important key notions is that training is a logical progression of exercises. Jack begins by discussing the elements of control, and explaining how all of the “parts” of the horse must be controlled in order to control the whole horse.  He then progresses to discussion of collection, front-end control, hind-end control, foot placement. He talks about straightness and balance. He gives detailed explanations of lead changes and other maneuvers such as spins and stops. Each chapter is like a conversation, often reminding the reader about previous important points, and providing insight into pitfalls the reader will probably encounter. The outstanding feature of Jack’s method is his attention to detail and the fine art of finesse. The book also includes chapters on correct shoeing and bitting to enhance the training process.

While Jack is a legendary a member of the Quarter Horse world and has spent a long period training reining horses, he often refers to examples of beautiful, classical horsemanship he has either studied or witnessed from European dressage trainers. This book is well-rounded for any trainer, western or English, because the training concepts are universal regardless of the discipline. Jack is still riding and training horses at age 92, and is using his knowledge to help develop the new discipline called “Cowboy Dressage.”  The book can be found at www.jackbrainard.com

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