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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every new (or returning) English rider should read this book
and here is why! When I took lessons as a kid, I frequently didn't understand what the instructor was trying to get me to do. I faked my way through the extended trot for years without ever really knowing what it really meant (other than just "faster"). If I had had this book then, that wouldn't have happened. As a returning adult rider I do ask my...
Published on January 7, 2000 by Artsy bookwoman

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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very helpful for the Western rider
I realize many techniques of English riding are transferable to Western, but, as a Western rider trying to improve my seat and aids, I found this book frustrating and unhelpful.
Published on March 26, 2006 by A. Jordan


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77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every new (or returning) English rider should read this book, January 7, 2000
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
and here is why! When I took lessons as a kid, I frequently didn't understand what the instructor was trying to get me to do. I faked my way through the extended trot for years without ever really knowing what it really meant (other than just "faster"). If I had had this book then, that wouldn't have happened. As a returning adult rider I do ask my instructor questions, but sometimes we learn so much in a lesson that I can't remember everything afterwards. This book clearly lays out exactly what all those aids were that I did in my lesson, so I can visualize them more clearly. The author also provides very realistic "what if this happens" situations with answers, which are very reassuring. He also tells you what to do if this doesn't work, and what to do next. His school horse portrayals are very accurate to the types of horses a novice rider will encounter, and helps one understand that while no horse is perfect, every one of them will contribute to one's becoming a better horseman. This book is very similar to the Cliffs Notes for riding lessons. Although not a substitute for qualified instruction (and it isn't trying to be either) the wealth of knowledge contained in it will enhance and reinforce all the things you will learn at the barn. Super!
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, more praise., June 28, 2002
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
Generally, I don't take the time to add a review on [...] if mine is merely a repeat of what others have written. In this case it is warranted. As (yet another) adult novice, I quickly found that riding is far more art than science, given the variables involving rider and horse AND instructor. What I found is that riding is a very complex art whose complexity becomes apparent only as one (hopefully) progresses in skill. Having waited a year before writing this review, I now feel competent to write a review about a book intending to assist fledgling riders figure out what they are doing, what the instructor is doing, and how they can improve. That is the market for which this book was intended. That is the intention in which the book succeeds and deserves the five-star rating. Having said that, here are the caveats.
As one becomes serious about riding, one finds that the communication relationships (horse, rider, instructor) are what keep riding instructors employed. You will continue to find that there are differences between what your instructor tells you, what you are feeling while on the horse, and what Mike Smith (the author) writes. For example, take the canter depart--making a transition into the canter gait.
A particular horse is going to respond differently to the various aids (signals) one uses--right leg, left leg, right rein, left rein, and your seat and torso. Mike--correctly I think--has to simplify that for novices. He writes, "5. Squeeze with your outside leg." This, to him, is the "signal" to the horse to start the canter. In fact, one can discover that three out of seven "experts" agree with him. Four out of seven write that it is the inside (driving) leg that is the signal. MOST importantly, the rider will find that horses differ in their opinions. What is the fledgling rider to do?
Buy and read this book. Try to listen to your instructor while you are struggling to learn. Periodically, re-read this book. (I made the mistake of confusing the trot depart and the canter depart in my fourth week of training--a wild riding experience both the horse and I will never forget!) As you progess, get another book, so you can begin to compare and appreciate the subtleties of riding. I guarantee that you will begin to figure out what Mike is saying when, for example, he says "When you can distinguish these differences in how your hips move, you're starting to learn to really feel the horse--a definite indication of YOUR progress." (My emphasis.)
Finally, don't fall into an early trap of riding the same horse every week ("Charlie is sooo nice.")or failing to occasionally compare your instructor with another (Every instructor has their personal riding vocabulary with which they communicate; sometimes, a different phrase will produce an "Aha!". The more horses with whom you try to communicate, the more proficient you will become.
Good riding.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Info, Well-Written, Fun!, October 29, 2004
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This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
I have learned more truly useful information from just the first five pages than I did from all my riding lessons as a child!

This book has given me the confidence I was seeking to begin lessons again as an adult. I really do feel better prepared to advance quickly due to the wealth of info presented.

The book is well-written and easy-to-understand, but at the same time it provides interesting, in-depth, helpful information - things many teachers and students might not consider, but which are vitally important to a sound rider-horse relationship.

A *great* complement to lessons - and probably enough information to learn on your own if you so desired. It will help you to ask good questions of your instructor, and to think for yourself about what methods are right for you and your horse. A great reminder for those comments your instructor makes which you don't think about until after you're back home again (because you're too tired in the saddle to focus!)

The horse profiles are great. :-) The author's sense of humor is refreshing. His writing style makes you want to keep turning the pages, but you'll want to take things slowly to absorb all the great theory a little at a time. Good illustrations and pictures.

Well worth the cost! Should be in every riding student's library, whether that rider is a child or an adult, novice or experienced equestrian. There's something to learn from this, no matter what level you're at. Can't say enough good things about it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basics of riding clearly explained., March 30, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
This is a great book for beginning riders and for people who teach them. Common sense, clear and full of answers to questions riders are often afraid to ask. Every chapter one or more school horses get introduced, each with their own quirks and special skills to make the life of a novice rider even harder than it already is. The book explains how to deal with different types of horses and provides clear strategies in 'what if' scenarios.(What if my horse won't move?)
What I don't like about the book, though, is that riders wear spurs in the pictures illustrating the novice's first lessons. A novice rider shouldn't even think about needing that kind of stuff!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE for beginners!, October 30, 2001
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Tracy B (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
I found this book to be the most useful of all the "beginner" books I have read. I have read books by Lyons, Morris, Swift, and many others. One of my students let me review her copy and I found that although the foreward states this is not a book to teach you to ride, it had more clear information than all the rest of the books I have read combined. It has exercises for the rider, descriptions of different school horses, safety issue discussions, and most important for beginners- a description of the different types of aids and how and when to use them. Important points are stressed more than once. All the aids and in what order to initiate them are in list form as well as discussed in an understandable depth. There is also a lot of "what if" scenarios discussed that will answer many common questions and also trail information and jumping instruction. I guarantee beginners will learn from this book, it is excellent for those who want to learn more than just simple riding basics. The information contained will make you a better rider. I HIGHLY recommend this book!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A horse riders must., November 22, 1998
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This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
As a riding instructor I am forever looking for books that will help me teach my students - This book is a must! Many times when reading "how too" books" the author forgets that teaching children and beginner adults the most important thing is to be able to explain a particular lesson in 20 different ways. With this book, however, the first way is the easiest. I am sure this book will help those who interested in learning. It's Great!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-titled book!, March 15, 2007
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This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
Riding lessons are expensive, so it's important to get the most bang for the buck. This book will help. Mike Smith explains the basics of riding clearly, and offers some classic "what to do if...?" scenarios one is certain to encounter while interacting with horses. In addition, the photographs are very helpful in illustrating topics like posting the trot and dismounting properly and safely. I have found that this book helps me review specific material covered in an actual lesson, and also gives me ideas for further discussion with my teacher. Mike Smith's writing style is straightforward and enthusiastic. Highly recommended for beginning riders of all ages, and one of the best books I've seen for a riding student. This book covers English riding only.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars such a helpful book, November 23, 2006
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This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
I love this book, I have been taking lessons for about a year and a half, and I bought this book after about 6months of lessons. It clearly explains so many things, I constantly refer to it. I think that all new riders should read this book before even going to their first lesson, to give a clear explaination of horse lingo, positions and care. I think this has been the most constant resource that I have used to explain things that my instructor and I are having trouble with.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality book with a great approach..., November 18, 2003
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
This is a great book when you're just starting out, or pre-showing. The author pretends that each chapter is another lesson, even going as far as documenting your 'lesson horse' and his personality. Great progression of skills, and I love the way the author included excercises that riders could preform at home before heading out to the stable.
A great book for all beggining riders.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proved its worth in first chapter!, November 26, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) (Paperback)
I'm an adult novice rider and am looking for any short cuts I can find to become a better rider quicker. I've been taking lessons for 5 months and have been improving at good pace. I was having significant issues with the seated trot. I just wasn't getting it. I could post a trot like a pro. Anyway, I read the first chapter and followed the advice and voila, I can now sit a trot. I don't feel like a baffoon anymore!
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Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide)
Getting the Most from Riding Lessons (Horse-Wise Guide) by Michael W. Smith (Paperback - January 11, 1998)
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