Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Book Review: I'd rather be riding

I like riding with a purpose. If I have a purpose, Sunny isn't as apt to get distracted, and I don't get as nervous, and we don't start that nasty downward spiral into, "Yuck, this was a really bad day."


See, I have this tendency to get stuck in a rut when I ride. I either repeat the same things, or I run out of ideas mid-ride, and end up trotting in aimless circles. Neither of which gets us anywhere.

Sooo, with that in mind I'm going to start plotting my spring rides, or at least trying to. And this is one of the books that's going to help me - I hope!

101 Arena Exercises : a ringside guide for horse & rider by Cherry Hill
Since I don't have the luxury of working with a trainer, I tend to muddle through as best I can. Sometimes it's difficult to come up with simple effective exercises on my own, so I do a fair amount of reading. Do I want to get better bending? Better upward and downward transitions? Maybe it's cleaner gait changes, or Sunny's leg yielding is sluggish.

This book is one I refer back to when I've set a new goal for myself, or if I'm not feeling the result I want with what I've been trying.
The exercises are laid out in a progression that works, and they start on a very basic level. There's sufficient explanation - each exercise includes a description and list of uses, and many include notes, cautions, and checks for telling whether you've been successful. There are lots of black and while illustrations to make each step clear, as well.

The other good thing about this book? The format. It's spiral bound, landscape-oriented, and it will hang quite nicely over a rail so that you can refer back to it arena-side.
There are a several books in this series - I also have one of the pocket-sized ones with more advanced exercises. It's helpful too, although I haven't used it quite as much. At any rate, for the time being I can read and make plans. Hopefully it will be nice enough, and dry enough, to put Sunny to work this weekend.


JJ said...

I love that book. I do have a trainer but I only get lessons two or three times a months. The rest of the time, I am on my own.

This book really helps you understand the exercises that they give you (and why they work), but my favorite part is that the exercises are so basic (usually) that you can combine and modify them until you have a completely different exercise.

I also have 101 Dressage Exercises. I like this one as well, though it isn't as user friendly. If you know nothing of dressage (like me), you are going to have a difficult time figuring out some of the exercises. I guess this does make sense though, seeing as how it is a dressage book. :)

They are also good books because they can help horses at any level, not just super green ones or grand prix level ones.

SunnySD said...

Hmm - will have to check out the dressage one next time I'm in a good bookstore. It would probably be way over my head, but still... Thanks for the recommendation!