California Riding Magazine • May, 2013

Book Reviews
Anne Kurskinski's Riding & Jumping Clinic; Viewpoint

Anne Kursinski's Riding & Jumping Clinic
Written by Anne Kursinski & Miranda Lorraine
Reviewed by Kelli Harmon

Anne Kursinski's passion for riding doesn't end at winning Olympic medals. Her love of teaching shows in the care and thoroughness that has obviously gone into this book, which is described as "A Step-by-Step Course for Winning in the Hunter and Jumper Rings." What's most refreshing about is that, despite that description, it is not a grueling "winning is the only option," manifesto for riding success. It is a methodical, balanced and straightforward manual to get riders and their horses thoroughly prepared for hunter, jumper and equitation classes.

The book starts with "The Basics Behind the Basics" and spends time on proper mounting technique and correct position at the halt before even starting exercises at the walk on the flat—that's the level to which she breaks things down and stresses the importance of doing them correctly and in order before moving on to the next step.

I appreciated that each section begins with readiness checks (both riding and mental), rather than just plowing ahead under the assumption that everything from the previous chapter was successfully accomplished. From there she moves on to cover fundamental elements and philosophy—building blocks to set up riders for success as they undertake the multiple exercises in each chapter (which are complete with photos to illustrate what the correct results should look like). Sections are broken into Basic Flatwork, Basic Jumping and then back to Advanced Flatwork before moving on to Advanced Jumping. The remainder of the book is made up of several short sections to round out the flatwork and jumping sections for a more comprehensive manual. These include: Horsemanship, Show Preparation, Courses and Goals.

Throughout the book Kursinski continually takes a step back, checks in and reiterates the bigger picture. She stresses the "all-important attitude," writing: "Approach each day's work by reaffirming to yourself that the kind of feeling riding you're aiming to achieve is a partnership between friends. You're not a dictator and your horse isn't your subject… the two of you are on a mission together." Reading her thorough manual is to feel as though you're on a mission with Kursinski herself; her voice is always there, guiding.

It would have been nice to see the Horsemanship and Goals sections at the front of the book instead of tucked away at the end after hundreds of pages of instruction, but at least they were there. And the wisdom and compassion in both are worth skipping ahead to read. She writes "Please don't think that 'this horsemanship business' is nice stuff if you have the time for it but not really all that important if getting to the top is your aim. In fact, I can hardly think of anything more central."

It's difficult to learn how to ride a horse by reading a book, but Kursinski's is full of tried and true exercises, plans, advice and philosophy that will serve hunter, jumper and equitation riders well.

Kelli Harmon is a lifelong writer and horse lover currently living in Los Angeles.

Written by Randy Roy
Reviewed by Diane Legge

The book Viewpoint is an overall view of the hunter/jumper world and if you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall for that good scoop this book will be your chance.

The author is a jack of all trades and seems a master of most, so putting stock in his words is easy.

Chapter 1 starts out with a judge's pet peeves, 100 do nots. You will find a delightful humorous picture for each peeve which will make it much easier on the reader if you find yourself in one of them.

The book is enjoyable and packed with serious information for all involved in showing. In my opinion it should be a prerequisite.

If anyone has shown horses it is probably safe to say we have at one time dreamed of being a judge. Well, the author gives you that chance. His long days of travel, hotels, pools, good food, meeting great people and seeing gorgeous rounds make one envious. Yes, you just get to live his words in your mind. Of course besides the glamour, some long inconvenient trials do happen, some a bit entertaining, on the judge's expense. So next time you run into a judge (if he's not judging) tell him or her thanks. And if you're wondering about a gift? A tote with water, snacks and a seat pad would be appreciated I'm sure.

Chapter 4, "Most questionable answers" was very funny. For example, a rider was asked, "where is the pastern?." The answer? "where my horse gets turned out." (I'm hoping the rider was nervous).

Chapter 6 discusses the horse's view. Proof is in the poop and it is some silly good stuff. As I meditated on my own horses, I found he was right on.

The book is long but seems short with everything that is covered. From training, course design, tips, question and answers, do's and don'ts, it's an easy read with nothing missing. If you're a solo rider that wants to show, Randy Roy's valuable experience will bring you up to speed. Plan to take notes, laugh, be a bit envious, feel emotion and revel in the hunter/jumper show world.

Diane, lives in Copperopolis, rides hunt seat and has a special fondness for a Thoroughbred named Cassanderly.