Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Review: 40 Fundamentals of English Riding--Essential Lessons in Riding Right

I received this lovely book as part of a Christmas gift from +ADW's mum and I am so happy to have it! There are plenty of riding books out there and I'm sure there are many that are suitable to go through the technical theory of riding and provide some counsel about addressing errors (nothing beats getting an accredited coach/instructor for regular lessons, though). This book is logically put together to break down the various basics of riding--yes, it isn't just "that simple" and the contents provide insight into basic components for beginners/novices. While it focuses on the English style of riding, the basics are applicable to any discipline of rider especially at the beginner and novice levels.

Hollie McNeil is the author and is the head trainer at Riding Right Farm in South Cambridge, New York. Hollie holds a German Trainer's License and an International Trainer's License. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about riding.

The layout of the book is bang on. Hollie starts with basic foundation stuff such as Control, Riding Position and Riding Aids. Then you move on to the Gaits in detail and to the German Training Scale. She rounds out the book with Key Riding Techniques, School Figures and Lateral Work. These last sections are very basic and give the reader a taste of what is available. While none of this is as complete as practicing and instructed lessons, it gives a breakdown of what to look for. For someone like me, I find it helpful to understand the technicality as well as the feel of things.

The breakdown of the information is short and concise, without fluff and the images are helpful to understanding what she's referring to. I like the no nonsense approach to getting the facts out there and the DVD further complements the content. I wouldn't say this would replace lessons or that a rider could learn every little thing about riding well, simply by reading this book but it gives good basics, is technical and short enough without losing the reader.

Despite all the positives, I'm not certain I'd go out to get this book for myself to learn in place of a coach/instructor. I do find it more fruitful to take lessons but appreciate the information being presented too; I might be more likely to consider borrowing this book from the library instead, if I didn't receive it. The title of the book is the objective of the author and she successfully achieves reviewing the 40 fundamentals of English Riding within 150 pages or so and DVD.

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