SYLVIA LOCH DRESSAGE BOOKS - REVIEWS
INVISIBLE RIDING (Horse's Mouth publication) £12.95
Sylvia's latest paperback! in full colour - the best yet?
INVISIBLE RIDING BOOK REVIEW
by Margaret Hinselwood.
This latest book by Sylvia has all the hallmarks of an invaluable addition to the bookshelf for many riders. Written in her customary clear and personable style, and illustrated with many excellent photos, she tackles the issue of SUBTLETY in the communication process between horse and rider. Urging us to be ever more aware of the nuances of our own bodies, she proceeds to explain in incredibly simply, yet blindingly obvious terms, the impact our movements have on the horse.
By painting a picture of how incredibly sensitive the horse is to our every movement - the turn of a head, the tensing of a thigh - the text almost screams at each of us to stop for a moment and consider the 'noise' and confusion which a busy rider might cause for their partner.
A paragraph in Ch. 1 has stuck in my mind since reading it - one that reminded me that horses in Nature will always be most comfortable when assured of freedom of movement. Transferring this knowledge to our riding horses, it's easy to imagine that by using gadgetry or harsh aids, the horse can feel restricted and tensions may arise.
As I read the pages I found myself applying the logic of the printed word to my own partnership with my own horse - an incredibly sensitive 'fizzy' mare. A recent schooling sessiion had been unsuccessful, to put it mildly, and as I read Sylvia's words they hit me between the eyes - when things start to go wrong and the mare anxious, I must consciously DO LESS... rather than compensate and correct a situation.
Aimed at a very broad audience, I genuinely believe many people will find this book to be an important information source in their riding life....
For all those who view the suject of subtle aiding - Invisible Riding - as being irrelevant unless the rider is aiming for the higher levels of dressage, this book takes that asumption by the scruff of the neck and shakes it hard!
As the author lays out for each of us, if we begin to understand the finesse which is needed to successfully communicate with our equine partner, then we can begin to understand our responsibility to cut out the conflicting messages and the over-powering volume seen in riding today. The benefits are obvious! For example, in a jump-off against the clock, fractions of seconds can make the difference. If the horse has to figure out what we mean by pulling him to the left, kicking on with both legs, flapping elbows.. oh, and usually throwing weight around on top as well, then valuable time is lost. Subtlety and accuracy are likely to win the day. More fundamentally, the horse is likely to be happy in his work
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