Book Review – The Principles of Riding

I recently read and enjoyed this book. 

THE PRINCIPLES OF RIDING

Basic Training of Horse and Rider

Author GNEF, published by Kenilworth Press, July 2017, 288 pages

For novice riders, those returning to riding after a long break, or parents of pony mad children, this book ticks all the boxes.

Written by the German Equestrian Federation, this book is filled with a heap of basic and more advanced  information on the subject of riding.

The book begins with the basics, discussing the characteristics of the horse and the relationship between horse and rider. It continues with information on equipment and preparing for riding plus the influence of the rider. Later chapters deal with how to ride at all gaits and jumping fences, plus advanced riding, cross country and show jumping. The book concludes with information on ground work for young horses.

Chapter four which discusses the seat and the influence of the rider is particularly useful with detailed diagrams and passages of text which demonstrate the effects of the riders movement and balance at all paces including jumping.

Following on from this is detailed chapter on basic exercises which again is clearly laid out with bullet points, short paragraphs and easy to understand diagrams which illustrate what is being discussed.

The chapter on the basic training of the horse will be of great interest to anyone who is training a young horse. The chapter discusses the aims of training, so that the reader has an idea of what they are aiming to achieve, but even better, the book explains the why behind the theory which makes it easier for readers to understand why their horse needs to be straight and supple. Also detailed are the problems which riders could come across, giving their causes and how to deal with them.

The book is similar to the BHS equestrian bibles of riding and horsemanship, but is far more in-depth, with the inclusion of modern schools of thought regarding training theory and biomechanics. The Principles of Riding is easy to read and very well laid out with clear concise instructions with bullet points and also includes tips on what can go wrong which is very helpful. Clear illustrations really help drive home the salient points of the text making it easy to understand.

One disadvantage of the book is that it is clearly aimed at a German audience with great emphasis on German rules and regulations, which the UK rider may find confusing. For instance the advice to keep more experienced horses to the left hand side when riding two abreast while on the road is unhelpful when in the UK the opposite is correct. However this should not detract from a readers enjoyment of the book, although it is a shame perhaps that a UK edition of the book was not published.

Anyone who is interested in improving their riding, or who is having problems with a horse will find heaps of useful advice especially if you are working alone without the regular assistance of a trainer.

This book is not just aimed at the novice rider, there is plenty here to interest experienced rider too. Anyone interested in riding will find this a mine of useful information which readers can devour in its whole or dip into at will when questions or problems arise.

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