“All horses are athletes, whatever their size or job,” writes Carolyn Henderson — an interesting point and one that perhaps explains why her book on fitness covers a variety of disciplines and not just the hard and fast sports of racing and eventing.

This well-written and concise book covers related areas such as health, conformation, physiology, feeding and supplements, as well as detailed looks at the various aspects of fittening work. But don’t expect any graphs, charts or exercise plans — as she explains, you can’t get fit by numbers and every horse is an individual.

She does, however, get quite technical in her chapter on interval training, which outlines the different heart rates from resting to maximum, and also the “speed test system” — if you’re not sure what that is, then this book is for you.

Getting horses fit includes case studies throughout, including endurance rider Linda Hams, show rider Lynn Russell, and top eventer Jeanette Brakewell, who offers some tips on how she keeps Over To You looking so fit and well.

The book also covers some other general topics, with chapters on schooling exercises, rider fitness and tack and equipment, which seem rather loosely related to the general topic. However, the all-round appeal of this book makes it a good addition to any horse-owner’s bookshelves.

Published by J A Allen (ISBN 0851318975)