Yeah I know, another book review even though I said I don’t really like book reviews. I’m making exceptions for noteworthy ones, okay?
I ordered Starting the Young Jumper by Charlie Carrel a little while ago and completely forgot about it until it showed up. I waffled for a while on whether or not to buy it in the first place… it wasn’t cheap. But I’m always interested in books about starting and training young horses (Reiner and Ingrid Klimke’s Basic Training of the Young Horse is one of my most treasured riding-related books – it was not cheap either) and this one looked like it might cover some things that a lot of other books don’t. So I paid my $45, and I waited, and eventually it came.
The quality of the book is excellent. Hardcover, but also spiral bound, to make it easy to leaf through. The paper is nice and thick, and there are lots of pretty pictures, as well as pictures of the subject matter and how to execute said test.
As far as the quality of the writing, if you’re expecting the eloquence of Charles de Kunffy or the relatability of Tik Maynard, you might be disappointed. The writing is just ok, and the first few chapters of the book read a little bit like advertisements for Colts Unlimited and some of their partners. However, if you can read past/through that, there’s a lot of really good information here.
Most of these ideas will not be new or foreign to anyone who has brought babies along before. There are a few different ideas/ways to approach things that I haven’t seen before though, and a lot of really excellent quotable tidbits. I’m a sucker for a quotable tidbit.
Granted, some of the methods outlined in the book aren’t super executable for most people. Like their specially constructed crossties that allow a lot of options and training opportunities when it comes to teaching horses to tie. I don’t have that, nor do I have a way to make that. I have to make due with what I’ve got. However, they’re still really good ideas, and something I will keep in mind if I’m ever in the position of building things for myself. You can also still take the gist of what they’re doing and morph it to fit whatever situation you’ve got.
I’ve had some colt starting type of books before, but what I really like about this one is that the end goal is a sporthorse – one that jumps and shows for a living. Not a cow horse or a trail horse. Sure, many of the basic principles are the same across the board, but other things are different, and it covers more specialized things such as freejumping and lead changes and preparing for shows. It also talks about the type of horse that is best for jumping, what qualities matter most, and how to pick one. It’s kinda like if a Frank Chapot book got together with a Clinton Anderson book and had a perfect little baby.
It also talks a lot about what responsibilities you have as a rider, if you’re going to be training and riding a young horse. That has a hell of a lot to do with how successful you are, but I haven’t often seen it addressed so directly and so thoroughly. Love that.
So while a few parts of this book had me impatiently turning the pages, the overall material is very good, applicable, and useful. If you own a young sporthorse, or plan on ever possibly owning one, this book is a really important addition to your library. A little pricey yeah, but if you consider that it’s right around the cost of a lesson and you get to keep all the material in a nice spiral bound reference form, it’s definitely a justifiable purchase.