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Lori's Library > Carriage Driving and Draft > Carriage Driving

Carriage Driving
A Logical Approach Through Dressage Training

Carriage Driving     
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Heike Bean and Sarah Blanchard
Howell Book House, 2004
ISBN 0764572997

"Carriage Driving : A Logical Approach Through Dressage Training" was the first book I bought when I started getting interested in driving, before I even started taking lessons. It is an excellent book, and is still one of my favorite driving books. Anyone starting out in driving should get this book, and I'm sure even seasoned whips would get a lot out of it.

This book starts at the very beginning and takes you through understanding your horse as a herd animal and prey animal, and how your horse's gender and living conditions can influence its behaviour as well as acceptance of, and cooperation with, the trainer.

Equine mechanics are covered, with a discussion of conformation's influence on the horse's ability to pull a load, and how proper training will develop the appropriate muscles to allow true collection and pulling power. Conformation of the neck, the throat, the poll and angle of the head to the neck, the back, the loin and croup, the shoulders, the legs and the feet are all discussed as they relate to the driving horse.

Choosing the right bit, harness and carriage for your horse are all discussed. From there we move on to basic ground training, and pre-hitching training. This section on preparing your young horse to be trained as a driving horse is worth the price of the book alone. If every young horse had the benefit of this type of training following the procedure outlined, slowly and step-by-step, they would have a strong foundation on which to proceed in life as either a riding or driving horse.

Further topics are covered, such as handling the reins, lateral and longitudinal bend, transitions, impulsion, straightness and collection, which are very advanced topics.

This is a good book with an engaging writing style, in which the authors' obvious respect for the horse, and love for driving, comes through.

Post Script: Check out the book author's website for more information, including missing chapters from the original manuscript, at www.heikebean.com.