Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rider and Horse Back to Back: A must read

Image from
(you can review some of the text!)
My most wishful imaginings for things-not-possible do not include Brad Pitt or Toby McGuire or George Clooney or whoever the latest heartthrob is. Forget that.

What do I wish for?
I want to ride well, and I want to know how it feels to ride well. I have often wished I could "sit inside" the top riders to learn what it feels like to ride correctly. Being a librarian, reading about riding is my best substitute--but most books on the topic are disappointing. Well, hooray! I think I found a book that will really help me: Rider and Horse, Back to Back.

The authors
Their resumes are impressive. Read about author Suzanne Von Dietz  on this web page,  and try not to hold it against her that she looks good in those breeches. Co-author Isabelle Von Neumann-Cosel has also made her mark in the dressage world. This is the second book they've co-written, I think.

I just got this book, and I'm pawing through the topics that I want to read first -- haven't read it all, but I can't wait to write about it.

Illustrative photos and graphics are awesome!
A word about design
 As someone who teaches and does instructional design, I can attest that how information is presented can mean the difference between getting it and not getting it. The authors have invested a lot in presenting their content so that we get it. I appreciate the thought and skill that went into every page -- the use of color, the way it is formatted, and the **awesome graphics/illustrations,** all these things took time and effort, and I bet it didn't come cheaply either. I think their goal was to create a lasting, authoritative work in the tradition of Sally Swift's Centered Riding.

No "Captain Obvious" here
At some point in my blogging past I wrote  a scathing review of a  dressage video on rider seat/position. In this video, the coverage of "rider crookedness" consisted of a rear view of a rider leaning exaggeratedly onto her left seatbone. Gee. Thanks.  I'll make a note not to do that.  With that anti-example in mind, I'm totally delighted with the level of detail in Rider and Horse Back to Back. Here is a teaser from a chapter that offers discussion of rider body type, its influence on position, and its effect on balance. Each page offers not just the basics, but new insight (at least for me)...  

Two and a half examples (many more in the book)

As I said, I haven't read it cover to cover but even as I "graze" the pages I'm finding it's all new information to me.  I'll write more as I read it, but at under $30 it is a very good investment for any dressage rider or trainer.


  1. Looks very interesting. I know there is a lot to staying "with the horse" as you ride and learning to sit well is so important. I will look into this book myself.

    Thanks for posting.

  2. Friesianwelshx here: Off topic, but I wanted to let you in on a BIIIIIG secret I discovered this week about saddle fitting a horse with a build that causes saddle slippage forward. Per my saddle appointment yesterday for my pony mare (saddle fitter with 30 years experience), we discovered ANY of the saddles that do not have a perfectly parallel fit from front to back will slide forward into the shoulder of certain horses (sounds like young Riley is one, for now anyway). On any horse, Stubbens are notorious for this, as the front of the saddle widens too much and pinches the shoulder. If you can slide your fist through the entire underparts of the saddle and there is no widening at front, you'll have less slippage. See if that 411 helps you any as it helped my mare IMMENSELY. She is now moving through her back and developing less upside-down. Also, keep Riley in long-lines and on hills for topline improvement while you are not riding him. Otherwise, you'll se fitting a saddle twice or thrice or ... ;)

  3. My sister just got this book and highly recommended it. I've added it to my wish list!

  4. Im definatly going to look for that book :) thanks for recommending it!

  5. Ooh, very cool. Thanks for sharing. I might have to look into this. Perhaps it will help with my riding nemesis: Hobbit build. Long torso, not so long legs. )-:

  6. I have read this book - it is excellent and I can certainly recommend it.

  7. Thanks for your review; I just purchased it from Amazon!


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