Review: ‘The Happy Horse’ by Tania Kindersley

There are a lot of books out there that will tell you about horsemanship, but Tania Kindersley has taken a different look at it. She has taken her delightful The Red Mare from her blog posts, and used the insight they have given her as she learned about horsemanship to help other people as they’re starting out.

Now, I am in the foothills of horsemanship as she would say, so I read this because I had fallen a bit in love with the Red Mare in her Scottish field via the blog. Kindersley’s writing style is distinctive, glorious, and carries a whole way of thinking that makes reading a joy.

The Happy Horse is a great example of a book about what you know. And knowing how much you don’t, so you can accept it and work with the process of learning. It is also a reflective book that makes the reader ask themselves questions. I asked myself how I would know if Bridget, my horse, was actually happy. I am still working on that answer, but now I am aware of it enough to ask.

This is not a ‘how to do horsemanship’ book, and Kindersley never claims it is. It’s a ‘how to start the human part of horsemanship’ book from someone who is in the trenches.

I happen to follow the same horsemanship method as Kindersley, Warwick Schiller Performance Horsemanship, so I can attest to the changes in attitude working through The Plan has had for me and Bridget. But I am not half as eloquent as Kindersley, and she captures the moments of revelation throughout the book with a vividness that draws the moments to you, under your skin.

But seriously, even if horses aren’t your thing, the prose itself is lovely and I regard it as a great example of authorial voice that is both clear and sweepingly beautiful. If someone asked me for an example of ‘stained-glass prose’, where the elegance of the language added depth rather than obscured it, I would offer Kindersley.



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