Media Critique: Dressage for the Not-So-Perfect Horse

A book that describes many horses.
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A book that describes many horses.
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I would bet that most people would read the title of this book and think, "Well, that's my horse!" The fact is, few of us have a "perfect" dressage horse, if one even exists (sorry, Totilas). But what is perfect is the way this book is put together? With little effort, you can find your problem and get a workable solution.

We love Foy's insistence that horses are individuals with physical and mental limitations and how she works with those issues. She believes in developing a strong foundation, so her explanations start with where your horse's basics might be weak.

Many problems include a Judging Tip - With horses that break when lengthening, she wrote: Remember, at First Level, if you choose to post the lengthening trot, you do not change your posting diagonal at X. I would start posting in the corner if you have been sitting rather than surprising the horse once he is on the diagonal. It is too easy to cause a balance issue.

She includes training exercises, first-person accounts of riders and horses with similar problems and Rule Book notations, right through to passage/piaffe. The illustrations, sidebars and layout are excellent, but the photos are lacking. Several are of "not-so-perfect" horses and riders, just like most of us. That may be encouraging to the reader, but it's not strongly educational.

Bottom Line: Many dressage books can benefit any discipline, and this book is a perfect example. After all, all horses need to travel in a balanced, rhythmic fashion with smooth transitions and suppleness. You will find workable solutions for common training issues.

Best Suited For: The serious student of dressage, especially one interested in competing.

You'll be disappointed if: You learn through artwork. For the most part, the art is sparse and the actual photographs are disappointing.

DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE. BY JANET FOY WITH NANCY JONES. HARD COVER. 2012. TRAFALGAR SQUARE BOOKS. $32.95. AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 

WWW. HORSEBOOKSETC.COMOR 800-952-5813.