Summer Reads, Watch, and Listens

Summertime is when we take a break from what we need and lean toward what we want. When it comes to downtime, that’d be horse-y books, DVDs, and even music.

Here are a few suggestions:

51pI3mpXhPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_To Read:

To painlessly bolster your knowledge of the evolution and domestication of the horse, check out Wendy Williams’ best-selling The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion. Read review here.

Looking for a lively, bathroom reader to browse from horse topic to horse topic? Try A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment. You can get it for free when you subscribe here.

For more suggestions, visit our Horse Book Recommendations page.

To Watch:

I didn’t figure a movie about cows and autism would call for Kleenex. But Temple Grandin, starring the impressive Claire Danes, had just that impact. If you are at all interested in a better understanding of the animal perspective, it’s a Must-See.

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin

I’ve covered Grandin’s presentations and interviewed her. Read more about that here. The movie was a powerful complement to those opportunities. It creatively illustrates the myriad challenges of growing up autistic and of raising an autistic. In it, the prejudice Grandin endured and her commitment to humane treatment of animals is carefully, elegantly highlighted.

On cattle, Danes as Grandin says:

“We raise them for us. That means we owe them some respect.

Nature is cruel but we don’t have to be…I wouldn’t want to have my guts ripped out by a lion. I’d much rather die in a slaughterhouse if it was done right. We can easily do it where they don’t feel pain and don’t feel scared…I mean their cortisol levels go through the roof.”

Watch trailer.

For strong, quiet lessons in better horsemanship, check out 7 Clinics. It’s essentially outtakes from the hundreds of hours of footage shot by Cindy Meehl and company for the making of Buck, the award-winning documentary. Read the 7 Clinics review here.

To Listen:

Wylie Gustafson

Wylie Gustafson

I’ve got Wylie Gustufson’s Hang-n-Rattle! CD on heavy rotation lately. Not sure which attracts me more – Gustafson’s clear, buoyant voice, his lyrics (heavily subsidized by the contributions of poet Paul Zarzyski), or his original country singer/songwriter style which has been described as able to “transcend nostalgia.” Click here to visit his site.

If you’re just wrapping up a long day on the trail, mending fence, or mucking out barn and trailer, kick back with Zarzyski’s double CD of poetry and music. It’s fun and contemplative at the same time. Read review here.

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