Book Review: “Know Better to Do Better: Mistakes I Made with Horses (So You Don’t Have To)”
“This professional, lauded rider lets us know he’s human like the rest of us and, as any great mentor would, shares what he knows to try to help us on our journey as riders.”
There’s a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to horses. How many of us riders have looked back with regret over something we did and say to ourselves, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”
That’s the spirit with which Denny Emerson’s “Know Better to Do Better: Know Better to Do Better Mistakes I Made with Horses (So You Don’t Have To)” is written. Denny (which I feel I can call him because now I feel I know him through his book — it’s so personably written!) is the only equestrian to have won Olympic gold in eventing as well as a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance.
I don’t often read these sort of books—I am a lover of fiction and non-fiction storytelling—and typically something like this gets left off a quarter of the way through. Not this time. Reading the book is as if you are following Denny around his farm helping with chores while he just dishes up great anecdotes and horsey intel!
An all-around horseman, Denny imparts wisdom regarding choosing a horse, getting your confidence back after a fall, horsekeeping and how to teach yourself to find the distance before a jump, along with other thoughtful perspectives—there’s even a section called “A Horse’s Future Depends on the Human Who Owns Him.”
Plus, embedded within all that knowledge are vignettes on select horses Denny rode, what they were like and what he wished he’d known then that he knows now. And Denny keeps it real. He shares the times when he was too hard on his horses, or when he was young and part of a discipline that at that time used, as he put it, “more hardware.”
This professional, lauded rider lets us know he’s human like the rest of us and, as any great mentor would, shares what he knows to try to help us on our journey as riders.