Riders of any discipline aren’t known for having much free time outside of the barn. If you’re as avid a reader as you are a rider, then those empty slots of time are quite always booked.

The wonderful thing about being a riding reader is the knowledge that you don’t have to choose between books and horses. You just need to know where to look. So, we’ve brought you a curated list of top tier horse book recommendations you’ll definitely want to add to your shelf. This week’s theme is dressage, because what better way to pass the time back at the stalls while you’re waiting to ride your test?

The Working Equitation Training Manual: 101 Exercises for Schooling and Competing

Dressage, Trainer and Author Ali Kermeen told me, is “a lot like Broccli,” its good for you and your horse no matter the discipline. In her new book, The Working Equitation Training Manual: 101 Exercises for Schooling and Competing, Kermeen breaks down and even diagrams many of the exercises found in the sport of working equitation that are also then used in standard dressage. So, it only seemed fitting to include a few other great dressage books. 

The Perfect Horse: The Daring US Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

You may think you know the story of how American soldiers saved the Lipizzans from the Nazis, but if you haven’t read Elizabeth Letts’s The Perfect Horse, you don’t know half of it. Just like the Lipizzaners are in a league of their own in the dressage world, Elizabeth Letts’s is the reigning queen of historic horse books. You can also watch her HN Reads interview here!

Broken or Beautiful: The Struggle of Modern Dressage

If you are looking for a touch of controversy, check out Broken or Beautiful: The Struggle of Modern Dressage. Classical Dressage trainer Dominique Barbier and dedicated rider Liz Conrod write about some of the problems they see in modern dressage and its impact on the equine athletes who compete in the sport. Not only is the book a bit juicy, it also offers interesting insight from a classical dressage perspective.

The Gates to Brilliance: How a Gay Jewish, Middle Class Kid Who Loved Horses Found Success

Six-time Olympian and Chef d’Equipe for U.S. Dressage Team since 2013, Robert Dover is one of dressage’s modern masters. His incredible memoir, tells how he became the equestrian he is today and his honesty and self-awareness sparkles on the page. He talked about his book on HN reads too!