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Complete Trail Horse: Selecting, Training, and Enjoying Your Horse in the Backcountry Paperback – October 1, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
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From the Back Cover
To make sure that you and your horse are on the right foot, Dan Aadland, a seasoned horseman and packtripper, shares his expertise and experiences in The Complete Trail Horse. Beginning with advice on selecting a good trail mount (and why Tennessee Walking Horses and other laterally-gaited horses are especially suited for such work), the author delves into equipment, techniques, and strategies for training both the saddle horse and the pack horse to cover demanding and often dangerously steep inclines and descents, narrow ledges, and other features of backcountry terrain in a safe and efficient manner.
The book then moves on to tack and other items specifically designed for trail riding, more advanced training techniques (including contending with spooky, laggard, and overenthusiastic horses), and taking part in trail competitions. Concluding sections contain valuable information and insights into how to organize and then pack gear for the greatest comfort for yourself, the horse you’ll ride, and the packhorse you’ll lead.
Written with authority and enthusiasm, The Complete Trail Horse is the first—and the last—word on ensuring that you and your horses will be prepared for and can therefore enjoy to the fullest your trips through the backcountry and back home.
Dan Aadland, the author of Treading Lightly with Pack Animals: A Guide to Low-Impact Travel in the Backcountry, is a frequent contributor to Western Horseman and other equestrian publications. He and his wife, Emily, live in Absarokee, Montana, where they breed Tennessee Walking Horses and organize packtrips.
Top Customer Reviews
The book presents trail riding and backcountry horsemanship as its own discipline and stresses the importance of having a mount that allows both the rider and the horse to have an enjoyable experience on the trail. Perhaps the point that struck me the most is stressing that a good trail horse is not a barrel, reining, or dressage washout---but an athlete in it's own arena of mountains, streams, deserts, and woodlands.
I have been fortunate enough to meet Dan and I actually have purchased two of his Tennessee Walkers as my current trail mounts. They take me everywhere, from arid sagebrush to mountain passes and all points in between. Their ability as athletic, willing, and stable backcountry companions is evidence that Dr. Aadland has the knowledge of what it takes to breed and train a horse designed for the trail, no matter where it should take you.
The Complete Trail Horse presents the reader with this wealth of information in an enjoyable, readable format.
Author Dan Aadland lives on a 1200 acre Montana ranch, where he breeds, raises, trains and sells Tennessee Walkers for trail riding. He uses the horses daily for tending cattle and checking irrigation, and takes annual pack trips into the wilderness. His explanation of why it is important for your trail horse to know how to sidepass gave me chills, and his anecdote on why organized trail rides say "Don't even think about bringing your dog" was quite convincing.
The bulk of the material falls roughly into three categories: 1) choosing a horse, 2) training, and 3) techniques and equipment. On the first subject, he provides useful information for evaluating any horse. The author gave me new appreciation for my gelding's high withers, 8 1/4" circumference cannon bones, and enormous size 3 feet. Aadland makes an important distinction between spirited horses with a lot of desirable energy and hyper horses that can't be trained to stand still. He also points out that courage is a trait that may be present or lacking in a horse of any energy level, and a spirited horse that faces surprises with courage is safer than a lazy quiet horse that blows up without warning.
As a fan of clinicians like Pat Parelli and Clinton Anderson, I found the book's material on training particularly interesting. The author has a refreshing mixture of respect and disdain for these celebrity trainers and their methods.Read more ›
Author of The Spirit of Horsemanship
Sid Gustafson DVM
Nothing regarding horses is complete, however ;-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative. Practical. Useful. Refreshing. With all the pseudo-intellectual horse-nonsense trotting around the book barn these days, Aadland's work is a refreshing change. Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by MattG
Extremely well written book on the practical training and use of horses. Of course he says a lot of things that I have believed for a lot of years.Published on September 8, 2009 by Robert S. Mathias