I love books. I love everything about them: the way they look, how they feel, how they smell…the soothing bibliosmia of those extant pages is right up there at the top of my list, alongside the bewitching aroma of horse.

The 21st century has endowed us with e-books and apps, offering accessibility, portability, and easier search functions. However, I can’t be the only one who downloads things and then never finds or uses them again. Also, technology isn’t always practical or reliable when you’re out in the field, whether you run out of signal or battery, your phone overheats in the hot Australian summer, or you just can’t find the right angle to see that damn screen outside.  

Books are reliable. Books are always there for you. Needless to say, I have a bit of a collection; I think anyone who also loves to learn tends to accumulate books.

There are so many fantastic equine books out there that it’s almost impossible to choose any favourites. This list is not meant to reflect the most comprehensive or ground-breaking equine texts out there – it is simply a compilation of the books that I refer to most frequently in my career as an equine bodyworker due to their content, ease of use, and portability. They are the books that travel with me on work trips, the books I use to educate clients and students, to double-check taping applications and red light plans, and the books I most frequently recommend to budding equine massage therapists. Just to be clear, I receive no compensation for endorsing these books, I just genuinely love them.

  1. Atlas of the Equine Musculoskeletal System (second edition) by MVDr Ivana Ruddock-Lange

When it comes to learning anatomy, 2D black and white drawings can only get you so far. Nothing beats learning from real-life subjects and, if you’re unable to attend a dissection in person, then this book is the next best thing. This book is filled with cadaver images to give a true demonstration of what lies beneath the horse’s skin. I believe this one is also actually available for purchase as an e-book (if you are so inclined).

An oldy but a goody (pardon the pun). This book was first published in 1976 but remains a well-respected resource in equine anatomy. Developed with both the layman and veterinary student in mind, this book is an easier read than some veterinary texts and relates internal structures to external features of the horse. The clearly labelled illustrations mean it is very easy to find the information you are looking for.

This is an easy-to-read guide to equine acupressure, introducing key concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, meridians, and includes acupoint plans for specific conditions. I use this as a reference book when creating red light plans or addressing specific issues. But I also love recommending this book to clients – you don’t need to be physically fit or own an expensive red light torch to give acupressure a go. (Apparently also available electronically for the contemporary consumer).

These three titles are the books in my collection that look most rough around the edges, but this is by no means a complete and comprehensive library. There are so many good resources and reference books available, and of course any one is encouraged to obtain as much information as possible. But if you are just starting out, or looking to add to your library, I hope you’ve found this post useful.

What’s your most-loved text book? Let me know in the comments below 😊

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