Your equine education doesn’t have to stop once your seat leaves the saddle.
And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
That’s why we’ve gathered this ultimate list of FREE horse-related ebooks – so your education never has to stop.
One of the biggest challenges we see in the horse industry is the lack of formal education.
One trainer may have a lifetime of education, experience, and wisdom under her helmet, but unless her students go on to become trainers, that lifetime of wisdom retires when she does.
Imagine what would happen to the equine industry if we could capture all of the knowledge and wisdom and pass it on freely to anyone who wanted it!
How to Use This List of Free Equine eBooks
This is the next best thing I could think of – a complete collection of FREE horse-related ebooks.
Many of these are over 100 years old and so their copyright laws have passed and they are part of the public domain.
Go down the list and read each one at a time, or skip around and pick up the ones that sound interesting to you.
I’ve added a brief description of the ones that I’ve read to help you get an idea of what the book contains.
As I go down the list and read the books, I’ll add more information so make sure to bookmark or pin this post to come back and check out new updates.
While some of the information in these books is outdated, I still think it’s valuable to know how we used to do it.
There’s a tradition and a respect when we honor how our forefathers trained and cared for their horses.
There’s a heritage there that I feel is just as important as is knowing when modern practices have been updated due to current research.
There is also a lot of wisdom in seemingly outdated folk lore – if we would just listen.
Because there are so many books in this list, I am going down them in order and reading them so that I can give you a brief synopsis of each.
Make sure to hit the Pinterest button on the bottom of the page to save this post and keep coming back!
As I finish each book, I’ll add more information on it.
Written in collaboration with the Percheron Society of America, this book was born from research drawn from “authentic documents, records and manuscrits in the national archives of the French Government, together with a detailed account of the introduction and dissemination of the breed throughout the United States…”
Beginning in the 9th century, in the Perche forest in France, this book breaks up the history of the Percheron into four “cycles”: the first being as a medieval warhorse, the second in helping France’s growth, the third as an agriculture implement, and the fourth cycle as carts and vans pulling commerce down a “modern” city.
I love the old pictures of the horses and breeders, this book goes into depth of the breeding and bloodlines.
If you have a percheron, or are interested in old breeding lines, this is a fabulous book for you.
A Horse Book (1901)
This precious book belonged to the Dumpy Books for Children collection.
It contains 24 poems and stories about horses for young children.
A Method of Breaking Horses (1762)
The full title of this piece is called “A method of breaking horses, and teaching soldiers to ride, designed for the use of the Army, by Henry Earl of Pembroke.”
Published in London, the book opens with a letter to the King, written by the Earl of Pembroke himself, lamenting at the wretched state of horsemanship in the Army.
To fix this, he proceeds to list a number of “lessons” he would like the soldiers to learn before they begin riding.
A Method of Horsemanship (1851)
Translated from French for the purpose of an American audience, some of this book has been removed.
The foundation of this book is about teaching the equestrian to obtain a good seat.
The part of this book that I love is that is gives examples for lessons for how to improve your seat.
A Plain Treatise on Horse Shoeing With Illustrations (1856)
While we wouldn’t recommend embarking on a professional farrier career from reading a 150 year old book on shoeing, we love the historical viewpoint on farrier science.
While the art of farrier science has advanced since the publication of this book, as a horse-owner, you can never know enough of hoof health and care.
A Practical Guide to the Breaking and Training of the Young Horse (1851)
Another military manual, written by Corporal Major Robert Turner, the Assistant Riding Master at the Royal Horse Guards.
He begins with a description and explanation of the proper fit of the equipment you will use.
The second section describes training some basic ground manners to the horse. But our favorite part is the lessons.
We love the structured, military approach he gives in listing out twelve separate “lessons”.
Once you’ve completed the first lesson, you may move on to the second.
At the very end he describes common conformation weaknesses and defects of the foot and shoeing.
A Treatise on the Care, Treatment and Training of the English Race Horse (1840)
This massive work of literature goes into the best detail regarding the construction, tools, and ventilation of the best stables.
The author details how to groom, care for, feed and train a race horse in the mid 1800’s.
There is still lots of great knowledge in this book that is useful even today.
A Treatise on the Cavalry and Saddle Horse (1803)
This book is a accumulation of rough notes regarding horses used in Calvary.
Packed with no-nonsense advice, it’s heavy on the facts and light on the fluff.
It goes into detail on what to look for in a good mount relating to conformation and way of going.
He talks about stable management, feeding, riding, caring for your tack — everything an equestrian needs to know.
About Buying a Horse (1875)
This clever, cheeky book is more a book on the philosophy of life then on how to buy a horse.
The author talks about how to talk about wanting to buy a horse, and how to deal with people who will inform you about the type of horse you want.
He talks about how to instantly make friends with strangers on the train. It’s more entertaining then educational, but well worth the read.
Advice to Purchasers of Horses (1835)
A very short, and somewhat basic book on purchasing a horse.
Written by a veterinary surgeon in 1835, Stewart goes over basic desirable conformation of the riding horse, different considerations on soundness and unsoundness, and the laws relating to sale and warranty.
American Horses and Horse Breeding – a Complete History (1895)
This hefty read covers it all.
It’s actually three books in one: “A Complete History of the Horse From the Remotest Period in His History to Date”, “The Horseman’s Encyclopedia and Standard Authority on Horses…” and “The Modern and Practical Horse Doctor on the Cause, Nature, Symptoms and Treatment of Diseases of All Kinds”.
It begins with the earliest history of horses in general and wild horses in America.
The next 18 chapters cover individual horse breeds – some of which you’ve probably never heard of.
In addition to all this and more, it covers stable management, training difficult horses, and farrier science.
American Horsewoman (1890)
This is the first book dedicated to specifically to female riders.
Because of that, a lot of the riding advice is aimed at the side-saddle rider.
But in addition to riding instruction, this book gives an account of the history of the horse, the importance of outdoor exercise, the parts and proper fitting of the tack, and general “rules of the road”.
This delightful period piece was written from the viewpoint of a very experienced international horseman.
As such, this book recalls several trips to Russia and the evolution of horses and riding in 1800’s Russia.
This tongue-in-cheek, clever and (might I say hilarious!) humorist piece is well worth the read.
Take for example, the chapter on modern horses: “The pitiful spider-legged things of this age fly into a ditch with you, at the sight of a picket-handkerchief, or the blowing of your nose…”
Who said equestrians can’t have a sense of humor?