Joe Armstrong * Photo by Spirit & Nature Productions

At 86, AQHA Judge and New Mexico Horseman Writes First Book

Many of the best horsemen to ride this earth have gathered their techniques and information over decades. Even better horsemen gather their information over decades and miles.

Horsemanship has been an oral tradition among tradesmen such as farriers, colt starters, ranchers, cowboys and buckaroos. Singers and songwriters have also passed down equine traditions through their lyrics. Although many books have been written for equine veterinarians and college students, until now it was hard to find a book that encompassed beginner horsemanship for the adult. One that included terminology of an expert horsemen described so that anybody could understand. One that was written by a man with real applicable horsemanship skills on the ranch, trail and in the show pen. Joe Armstrong, PhD, has written just that, and the Horseman’s Handbook is available for purchase after October 1, 2023.

“After working with so many youth and adults, I felt I needed to write this book to share practical advice on how to have a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience with your horse, and provide simple methods for quality care to avoid the mistakes and disappointments that come with having to learn it all on your own,” Armstrong said.

Before Horseman’s Handbook

His early equine knowledge came from Coffeeville, Mississippi via his grandfather. As he grew and gained a college education, he couldn’t help but think about horses. At that time, college programs were only titled Animal Husbandry and mainly focused on breeding and raising cattle. Nevertheless, Armstrong applied his knowledge to equine breeding.

This was also around the same time that the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) was in its infancy. Armstrong attended an AQHA judging seminar and was the only person to place all of his classes correctly. Through one simple seminar he earned a No. 1 rating and became the youngest person to earn an AQHA Judges card.

Joe Armstrong (then 84) showing Rankins Reminic at the AQHA World Show 2021 * Photo By Shane Rux

Armstrong went on to learn or teach horsemanship in many states as well as Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg and Japan.

Over his many travels, he found the best ways to explain and teach horsemanship to every walk of mankind.

“For decades, Dr. Armstrong has been a leader in advancing the American Quarter Horse around the world,” Clay Mathis, King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management Director, said.

Settling back in New Mexico, Armstrong revitalized the New Mexico 4-H Horse Program, instituted the New Mexico State University Horse Judging Team, started the NM 4-H Horse School, began a week-long wilderness Horse Packing & Outfitting course, introduced NMSU to the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, sponsored and recruited for the NMSU Rodeo Team and began a student produced horse sale.

“Joe has been a friend and a mentor to me and my wife in the equestrian world. His knowledge and expertise is without equal,” Dr. William T. Baker, MD of Las Cruces, NM said.

As a man who dedicated his life to the journey of horsemanship, he also made it welcoming for others to step foot in this journey. That has been recognized by his induction into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame, his New Mexico FFA Honorary State Farmer status, his award for being an Outstanding Professor in the NM College of Agriculture and his induction into the German Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.

His accolades have also been published in the Western Horseman magazine in September 2018. Not only a teacher, Armstrong is a competitor and breeder himself, bringing firsthand experience to the judges chair and the classroom. This year he has once again qualified for the AQHA world show and has plans to compete in Ranch Riding.

Now 86, in October of 2023, Armstrong’s book, Horseman’s Handbook; Horse Ownership, Care and Enjoyment, will be available to the public.

The Horseman’s Handbook by Joe Armstrong is unlike any other horse help book. From the expert to the beginner, everyone interested in horses can benefit from Armstrong’s advice. Armstrong has unabashedly provided the truth about horses and buying your first horse. His no nonsense tips are simple, he will not lead you astray. He teaches the beginner how to not only care for a horse, but continue its training through beneficial every day interactions. Beautiful illustrations aid in the book’s usefulness and put the reader right in the barn with Armstrong.

Join Joe Armstrong, PhD, and his many students (now horsemen) from around the world, in learning generations and decades of knowledge from this lifelong professional horseman. Find yourself in the mountains of Wyoming, barn isles of Armstrong Equine Services, as well as veterinary practices and show arenas across the nation. The useful, eloquent and entertaining Horseman’s Handbook will be available for purchase October 1st on and on Amazon. Personalized inscriptions will be available for orders placed at