Susan McBane - Equestrian Author

HNC Equine Science and Management

Author of 44
equestrian books

Classical Riding Club member and Gold Award holder, listed in CRC Trainers Directory

Practitioner Member of the International Society for Equitation Science

Founder and Publicity Officer of the Equine Behaviour Forum

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If you are looking for horse books offering reliable and easily understood information, I hope you'll find that the books I have written, listed here, fulfil most of your needs. My books cover riding, schooling and training; horse care and management; behaviour and psychology; health and therapies; breeding and much more besides.

My writing combines the practical arts of riding and horse care with modern equine science. I try to give information you can trust and understand, whether you are a novice or an expert. I aim for reliable, common horse sense with sound scientific and practical back-up.

My books are widely available through good bookshops and on-line retailers. Many booksellers, on and off line, offer a search service for out-of-print books and some deal exclusively in second hand and antiquarian books.


Book List

Books are listed with the most recent first. As well as being popular with individual horse lovers, several of them are on the reading lists of colleges and other learning centres running equine courses from beginner up to degree level, and many are in their libraries as well as public libraries.

HORSE SENSES (Manson, 2010) Horses' senses are often quite different from ours, creating a perception of their surroundings and experiences hard for us to understand. 'Stupid' or 'bad' behaviour may be quite in order to the horse, being his effort to survive upsetting experiences not obvious to us. This unique book will enable you to see and understand horses in a way you may never have before.

SIX STEPS TO A SCHOOLED HORSE (David & Charles, 2009) Based on the German Training Scales, this clear 'how-to-do-it' book gives a logical framework and techniques for achieving the six elements of a well-schooled horse in the correct order: relaxation, rhythm, contact, straightness, impulsion and collection. Well-defined standards allow you to measure your progress, give you confidence, and tell you how to overcome problems.

HORSE-FRIENDLY RIDING: Schooling that puts the horse first (J.A. Allen, 2009) Discover the benefits of a secure, balanced seat and learn to ride and school your horse in ways that are humane, promote learning and co-operation, and achieve results - namely a horse who is happy, well-balanced and able to work forward and in rhythm. This book cuts through conflicting advice and describes effective, ethical ways of being your best together.

KNOW YOUR HORSE: How to really understand the way your horse thinks and behaves (Hamlyn, 2008) Understanding horse behaviour is key to trouble-free, happy riding, handling, and horse care. This down-to-earth book reveals the core of your horse's psyche. Learn about his body language so you'll know if he's happy or uncomfortable, and why. Realise why he may refuse aids or react badly to certain tack, and much more. Improve your life by truly getting to know your horse.

REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR RIDING: Achieving harmony in movement between horse and rider (David & Charles, 2008). I quote from the book: 'I guarantee, if you follow the instructions in this book your riding will be improved beyond your belief. You will have a closer, more trusting relationship with your horse who will be calmer, more co-operative and happier to work and play with you. He will be your partner, not your tool or vehicle. Your riding will look, and feel to you and your horse, effortless.' Put it to the test!

FROM WARMING UP TO COOLING DOWN: An introduction to training and management techniques (J.A. Allen, 2007) Any horse working at or near his individual capacity is working hard. Hacking can be just as demanding as high-level competition or hunting, and a horse needs correct care if his well-being, health and soundness are not to be put at risk. Here you'll find sound advice on preparation, warming up, working in, working, cooling down, care straight after work and settling down later.

100 WAYS TO A PERFECT EQUINE PARTNERSHIP (David & Charles, 2007) All about bringing you and your horse closer together for a happy, harmonious and successful partnership, no matter how long you have been together. This book will help you to create a rapport based on empathy and consistency; train clearly and fairly; develop a care regime which gives what your horse really needs; understand how your horse sees the world, and much more.

100 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE'S SCHOOLING (David & Charles, 2006) You'll find here a collection of 100 concise lessons that build to create a simple schooling method which will make sense to you and your horse. You'll learn to communicate with him kindly and clearly, achieve willing responses, improve suppleness and balance, and how to structure your schooling towards your personal goals.

100 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE'S BEHAVIOUR (David & Charles, 2005) This book gives you the tools to cope with 100 of the most common behavioural problems in all situations. You'll understand why horses are the way they are, why problems arise, how to tap into horses' natural instincts and make your handling and training sympathetic with long-lasting results, so that you and your horse are safer and happier.

100 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE'S HEALTH (David & Charles, 2005) More than just a list of 100 suggestions for better horse care, this sound guide to equine health covers just about every aspect you could think of. It emphasises protecting your horse's health, soundness and fitness, explaining the latest thinking throughout. You'll delve into this easy-to-use health 'bible' time and time again.

BODYWORK FOR HORSES: techniques you can use yourself (Sportsman's Press, 2005) Discover a rewarding, effective way of creating a close relationship with a horse and enhancing his comfort, contentment and wellbeing. You'll learn simple techniques which, with common sense and a conscientious attitude, you can practice on your own horse. Describes Anatomy and Physiology: Injury and Healing: Management and Care: In-hand and Ridden Work: Therapies.

ESSENTIAL HORSE (Hamlyn, 2005) An absorbing guide to all aspects of working with, caring for and living with horses, from beginner to advanced. You'll learn about History: Anatomy, Physiology and Behaviour: Buying Your First Horse: General Care: Learning to Ride step by step: Advanced Riding and Sports: Health Care and much more.

100 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING (David & Charles, 2004 and 2006) Now a best seller, this book has received excellent worldwide reviews and ratings. You'll find clearly-explained methods that really work, and there are informative, encouraging sections on important topics related to attitude, outlook and riding in general. Easy-to-find topics are cross-referenced to related issues for all-round help. You'll love this rider's ultimate problem solver.

THE HORSE OWNER'S ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL GUIDE (David & Charles, 2004) Revolutionize how you keep your horse (and run your life) to make time and save money. Packed with mind-blowing attitude-adjusters and help on prioritizing your horse and life chores, you'll never look at horse care in the same way again. Umpteen safe short-cuts to a healthy, happy horse: veterinary flow charts: money and time control, and foolproof organization. This is the revised version of Keeping Horses, which is detailed further down the list.

CARING FOR OLDER HORSES AND PONIES (Kenilworth Press, 2004) A Threshold Picture Guide explaining the basics of all aspects of caring for and working older equines.

HOW YOUR HORSE WORKS (David & Charles, 1999 and 2002) Always popular, you'll learn far more from this book than its title suggests. It gives a fascinating insight into horse-human relationships, presenting a holistic, practical approach to equine health and happiness. Covers Evolution: History, Mythology and Religion: The Body and Its Systems: The Things Horses Do: Keeping your Horse Content and Healthy and Life with our Horses.


This book gives easily-understood information and advice on choosing a horse for a particular job or how to assess an existing horse when deciding what he would be suitable for. Covers How Horses Developed: Domestication and Specialisation: The Skeleton and How It Moves: Stress and Strain: Shaping Up to the Job: Conformation in Action and Breeds and Types for the Job.

GROOMING (Kenilworth Press, 1992) A Threshold Picture Guide covering grooming so that even complete novices can do a good job of correctly grooming a horse or pony.

THE OUTDOOR PONY (Kenilworth Press, 1992) A Threshold Picture Guide, this booklet gives the most important information needed to help you to ensure that your pony lives contentedly and healthily outdoors.

COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES FOR HORSE AND RIDER with Caroline Davis (David & Charles, 2001) A large, encouraging and fascinating book covering far more therapies than you knew existed! Gives contacts, food for thought, practical advice and sound information.

THE PERFECT PONY (Hamlyn, 2000) Young riders and parents, too, will find lots of help here on care, riding, competing and, for the more experienced, training.

THE ESSENTIAL BOOK OF HORSE TACK & EQUIPMENT (David & Charles, 2000 and 2002) A very detailed book on a wide variety of tack and equipment, covering fit and adjustment (often poorly understood today), what might be suitable for your horse and the effects of equipment on horses' physical development, action, attitude and well-being.

MODERN HORSE BREEDING (Swan Hill Press, 2000) An invaluable reference and advisory work split into two sections - practical and veterinary, each supervised by a highly knowledgeable consultant. Modern breeding practice and science presented in an easy-to-understand style.

THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HORSE BREEDS (New Burlington Books, USA, 1997) Describes the most significant breeds of equine in the world and many rare ones, too, plus much background information.

FITNESS IN THE HORSE (Crowood Press, 1996 and 2002) Based on modern science and traditional arts, this book is so clear that almost anyone can get a horse properly fit for various jobs by using the information it gives.

FEEDING HORSES AND PONIES (David & Charles, 1995 and 2002) Many people's 'bible' since it was published, it is of value to students and owners who want easily-understood information on a complex and confusing topic. Features a large section on solving common feeding problems.

TACK AND CLOTHING (Ward Lock, 1993) A concise overview, with detailed help and information.

MODERN STABLE MANAGEMENT (Ward Lock, 1994) Covers every important topic involved in horse care and management.

POOR RICHARD'S HORSE KEEPER (Breakthrough Publications, USA, 1993) The American edition of Keeping Horses and Ponies, this book benefits from many of Benjamin Franklin's gems of advice and education. All about saving time and money without harming your horse.

THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO HORSE TACK (David & Charles, 1992 + later revision) Reliable information on many items of tack and clothing, when and how to fit, maintain and use them.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR HORSE (Ward Lock, 1992) A potted guide to why horses do the things they do, accessible to almost anyone.

KNOW YOUR PONY (Ward Lock, 1992) Offers young riders and parents reliable information on understanding and living with a pony.

A NATURAL APPROACH TO HORSE MANAGEMENT (Methuen, 1992) Written long before 'natural horsemanship' became fashionable, and described as being 'well before its time'. It propounds the natural approach to horse care, expressing many ideas still not covered in other books. One American reader wrote: 'Thank you for living and writing this book - it has saved our lives'.

THE COMPETITION HORSE (Blackwell Scientific Publications, with Gillian McCarthy, 1991) Although new breeds have been created since this book was written, the information and advice it gives is still highly relevant today.

HORSE CARE AND RIDING (David & Charles, 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996) An invaluable and very popular book with contributions by guest authors. Covers all the main topics you're likely to want, including care, veterinary, breeding and riding.

HORSE FACTS (Stanley Paul, with Helen Douglas-Cooper, 1990) Two parts - Care, History and Management plus Breeds. Consistently popular.

EFFECTIVE HORSE AND PONY MANAGEMENT (David & Charles, 1989) A home reference book giving many facts not found in other management books.

THE HORSE IN WINTER (Methuen, 1988 and 1991, Lyons Press, 2006) Described by Horse and Hound as 'a book your horse would definitely want you to read', this book covers every aspect of caring for and riding a horse in winter, one of the most potentially stressful seasons for horses and ponies.

THE HORSE AND THE BIT (Crowood Press, contributing Editor, 1988 and 1995) A 'symposium in print', with chapters by many experts.

PONYWISE (Kenilworth Press, 1988, enlarged 1992) Crammed with invaluable information for youngsters and parents. It has been described as 'a one-volume encyclopaedia but enjoyable to read. It always provides the answer.'

BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS IN HORSES (David & Charles, 1987 + later US reprint) This book was written long before our modern knowledge about how horses' brains work and the development of equine learning theory. I should love to revise it but the publisher does not wish this. There is still a lot of relevant information in it, particularly in the first section, but I do recommend that, these days, readers apply Part 2 with a knowledge of modern equitation science and behaviour.

KEEPING HORSES (Collins Professional 1986 and Blackwell 1986 and 1993) This is the first book to relate the business theory of time management to horse keeping. A greatly revised, abridged and updated version of it (The Horse Owner's Essential Survival Guide) was later published by David & Charles. This first edition is considerably longer and remains highly relevant.

YOUR FIRST HORSE (Stanley Paul, 1985, + later reprints) This book is still 'a godsend' (the author is told) to first-time owners, covering just about everything you would need to know and pointing you towards expert help when the situation demands.

KEEPING A HORSE OUTDOORS (David & Charles, 1984, 1992 revised, 2000) The first book I wrote. Provides a valuable service to owners who hope to save work and money by keeping a horse outdoors - not really the simpler and cheaper option it seems.

I hope you will find something in the above selection to help and interest you.

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