A riding instructor shares her observations on the relationships between horses and humans as she walks readers through the basics of her unique riding program for adults.
Riding instructor Shealy died in 2011; her debut book about working with horses was published posthumously. She founded the Success-Centered Riding/Training program, an initiative for adults who either wished to return to horseback riding or wanted to try it for the first time. Adult riders face an array of challenges in the saddle that children don’t, from emotional baggage to physical changes, such as those that occur after pregnancy or from just getting older and less flexible. As Shealy observes, these challenges often prove intensely discouraging and can keep people off the trail. Drawing on her expertise as a registered nurse, Shealy explains how basic physical conditioning—exercise, posture, proper breathing—is a necessary, often overlooked part of riding. Fun, easy-to-follow instructions and exercise recommendations appear throughout, often with helpful pictures or sketches. In addition, the author introduces basic principles for SCRT instructors, giving aspiring riders some pointers for finding the right teacher. In a conversational tone, the author weaves a number of intriguing case studies on her students’ issues throughout the text, along with words of guidance and encouragement. Among the most memorable stories are those of the driven attorney whose impatience leads to serious injuries, the older man whose riding confidence improves his self-esteem issues and the many self-proclaimed “klutzes” whose riding skills transform after the author declares them “ballerinas” instead. While the author’s love for and knowledge about horses is apparent, the book occasionally grows repetitive. Overall, the work serves as both a charming series of inspirational stories and a highly accessible workbook for adults who literally want to get back on that horse.
An inspiring guide to understanding and riding horses.