If you are a complete newcomer to Western horsemanship, you might appreciate the guidance of The Basics of Western Riding by Charlene Strickland.
No book can replace firsthand experience, but sometimes a well-written book can draw attention to details that the reader might otherwise overlook. The Basics of Western Riding does just that, comparing and contrasting the thoughts of experienced Western riders to introduce readers to the concept of riding as an art.
Safety is a top priority throughout the book. Initial chapters discuss choosing a horse that you will enjoy riding, handling horses in a confident but safe manner, and tacking up correctly to ensure the comfort of both horse and rider. Then come two chapters on the art of Western riding, starting with the basics and then moving to true horsemanship.
Hooked on Western riding? Try your skills on the trail with the final two chapters. Both informal and competitive trail riding are discussed.
Again, nothing substitutes for hours in the saddle, but complete beginners might benefit from the thoughts and advice in this book.