Book Review: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons

In all the best horse movies, such as National Velvet, International Velvet and Sylvester, the heroine has a top trainer to help her achieve her goal, but if you are like many beginning riders, you struggle to get the most of your once-a-week lessons. Does it sometimes seem that you are taking one step forward and two steps back?

Getting the Most from Riding Lessons, by Mike Smith, is an ideal companion to your weekly instruction. It’s intended to complement and reinforce the techniques introduced in your lessons.

The book is geared toward the English rider and the author uses a unique and entertaining tool in the book. He introduces horses from his own lesson barn, such as Sprite, Foxy and Guinness, emphasizing the fact that an important part of becoming a confident, accomplished rider is learning to ride different horses.

Each chapter covers a different skill, taking the reader from the first lesson, meeting the horse for the first time and learning to mount, to advanced skills such as jumping. Photographs and diagrams illustrate the book throughout, enhancing reader understanding of the techniques being presented.

The book also includes at-home fitness exercises that will help the rider avoid injury and become a more effective rider, along with important safety tips. An illustrated appendix explains tips for stretching, improving balance and strengthening hips, thighs, arms and back muscles.

Mike Smith has been teaching riding for more than 25 years and owns several horse centers. He holds a master’s degree from the British Horse Society and an Instructors Certification from the Potomac Horse Center in Maryland. He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Getting the Most from Riding Lessons is available from most quality book stores, or you can purchase it online.

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