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Ride the Right Horse, by Yvonne Barteau


Review by Leigh Ballard
Yvonne Barteau is a widely experienced trainer and rider. Her primary interest is competition dressage, but she has coached and trained many types of riders and horses to high performance levels and awards. She has been able to work successfully with a wide range of horses, riders and disciplines because she uses insight into equine personality types and temperaments to bring out the best in the horse. Her book, Ride the Right Horse, enlightens the reader on four main equine personality types: social, fearful, aloof and challenging. She also discusses combinations and variations of each personality type. And then she describes how to provide custom training for each type, so that horse and rider can achieve harmony and success in their riding relationship and competitive endeavors.

The first half of the book is a delightful and insightful collection of case studies of horses she has trained throughout her career. The studies are astute in their observation and explanation of behaviors associated with personality types. The second half of the book explains how to work with each temperament. Her training adjustments are similar to prevailing new training methods among some of the top commercially successful clinicians, like Linda Parelli for example, who are focused on working for and with the horse, rather than doing things to the horse and imposing things on the horse. Many of her examples from personal experience illustrate how, sometimes, all it takes for success with a problem horse is an alteration in the training method so that it fits the individual. Also in the second part of the book is a great deal of information about human personality types, using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Barteau is very gifted in seeing the strengths and weaknesses of individuals, both horse and human, as well as being gifted in being able to articulate how to have a successful relationship with these individuals. Her gift comes from very keen perception and a huge depth of experience, and she has a lot to offer in this book.  Barteau shows us how sensitivity to the individual can create success rather than failure.

I found this book a pleasure to read, and also fun for giving me food for thought on my own horses’ personalities. I recommend it for anyone looking for that extra competitive edge, as well as anyone who finds horse “psychology” and behavior interesting.

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