July 2017 - Book Reviews
Written by CRM
Thursday, 29 June 2017 19:03

Master Dressage; Riding Through Thick & Thin

Master Dressage
Written by Peter Dove
Reviewed by Lucy Bobeck

Peter Dove is a British equestrian, now coaching his daughter, Milly, through to regional dressage competitions. Peter is the author of Master Dressage and co-author (with Mary Wanless) of Master Dressage: the Basics. Mary Wanless, a mentor to Peter, is a British Horse Society Instructor and author of books that concentrate on how we use our mind for better riding.

Peter Dove does not use tired phrases, instead he is deeply experienced in what makes riding work. Rider biomechanics are rarely discussed in horse riding books, but Dove is convinced they are central to riding. Conflicting advice is put to rest and you will find this book refreshing, making clear, logical sense.

According to Peter: “There is no ‘mystique’ to riding, you don’t have to have talent, you don’t have to be a horse whisperer to make it work.”

Each lesson will give you the mindset and tools to apply what you have learned the very next time you ride, with  exercises you can try which prove the validity of biomechanics in the methods you have just learned. Horses and riders demonstrate said techniques in color photographs. Mr. Dove’s daughter, Milly, features heavily in the book. If you are a parent of a child who rides, you will have an advantageous comprehension of what works and be able to help your own child improve their equitation.

This book pulls from Dove’s own experience and that of other experts in the field of rider biomechanics and riding, such as therapist, Jo Cooper: www.equestrianconfidence.com.

In Master Dressage, the reader gets the latest techniques used by world champions. Mind over matter really works. (search for “master dressage” on YouTube).

Reviewer Lucy Bobeck is a South Bay and Nevada rider with a passion for rescued horses.


Riding Through Thick & Thin
Written by Melinda Folse
Reviewed by Suzy McMinn and Jan Montana

Riding Through Thick & Thin is a book to savor, not skim. It is not just about body image but covers many ways to ride better and be an improved partner with your horse, rather than fearing the personal burdens that kill the joy of riding. This book is so well organized that we don’t miss the multitude of photos and cute cartoons that usually accompany a ‘how-to’ book (although the exercise section might benefit from a few illustrations).

Folse is the perfect writer for her subject. She uses humor, empathy, and understanding to take the rider/reader on a journey of discovery that helps us change our outlook on ourselves and our riding. Folse found many renown experts to share their expertise in mind-body-spirit growth. She brings together relevant and interesting information from experts in animal science, psychology, saddle and rider fitting, and riding coaches.

Chapter three explores real ways to accept our bodies first, just as they are, with a whole new world of understanding about our defeating thoughts. Thought messages we say to ourselves about being overweight and out of shape are just interior chatter. We learn to explore real ways to accept our bodies first, just as they are, and open up to the understanding of how our thoughts can tip the scales in our favor.

The book covers how we can know what matters most with our horses, ourselves, and others. Chapter seven brings new awareness of your balance and movement, resulting in a more confident ride, regardless of the size or shape of your body. As you learn to feel your horse’s movement and responses, you’ll become your own best teacher for finding that special place that makes riding the joyful dance between horse and rider it’s meant to be.

Chapter nine is about being positive and adds the tools for incorporating techniques such as visualization, affirmation, and realistic goal-setting into our daily lives. As we develop and strengthen these ‘mind muscles,’ we’ll rise above pressure (ours and our peers) and self-doubt to clear out the old obstacles to our being as one with our horse.

Folse writes about self-image scars with humor and a delightful, insightful, knowledge about the many ways to lose our poor body image. The frequent comments from riders who share our trail and our love of horses are very appealing and reinforce Folse’s assertion that we are very much not alone in our predicament.

Riding Through Thick & Thin covers letting go of habits and behaviors that don’t serve us in our riding. You will find the tools, strategies, and insights are offered up in a way you can own them and not carry old messages. This book is not a how-to-do-it the same old way, it’s a trail map that evolves as we do to take us to new places with our horses, riding, and our sense of who we are.

Suzy McMinn studied Horse Science and Journalism at Oregon State University. A former newspaper editor for the Placerville Reporter and now freelance writer, columnist, proofreader and photographer, she is also a trainer of riders and horses for 36 years. Suzy is considered an “equine expert” due to her many years of horse related studies and a professional expert in the world of horses and riders. Suzy’s friend and riding partner, Jan Montana, was a technical writer for many companies such as Intel. Jan rides and studies horses and their behavior.


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