Media Critique: 40 Fundamentals of English Riding – Essential Lessons in Riding Right

Hollie McNeil’s book on English riding fundamentals was a pleasant surprise. Here, in a clear and concise format, are the basics of true classical riding. Her writing style is indicative of her skills as an instructor as she takes you through these fundamentals.

Her concepts are basic, classical, and undeniably correct. It’s a book that should sit on every instructor’s bookshelf, for reading by the teachers and students alike. The DVD makes a good companion to the book, although the book stands strongly on its own.

While the text was excellent, the photos were a disappointment, a problem plagues the DVD, too. McNeil runs her own training facility for all levels of horses and riders, and the majority of the photos and the video footage are of her students.

This works well for some things, such as position faults or geometry. But there are places where a concept – such as the differences between working, medium, extended and collected gaits – could be far better illustrated.

Bottom Line: These 40 Fundamentals are just that, explained clearly and concisely. If you are just starting out, this is a great workbook for systematically progressing your riding and training.

Best Suited For: Newer riders, or an established rider who can’t do all the 40 fundamentals.

You’ll be disappointed if: You’re a visual learner looking for clear illustrations.

40 Fundamentals of English Riding Essential Lessons in Riding Right. By Hollie H. McNeil. Hardcover. 2011. Storey Publishing. $35, with DVD. Available at, 800-952-5813.

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