California Riding Magazine • April, 2013

Book Reviews
Beyond Horse Massage; Inside Your Ride

Beyond Horse Massage
Written by Jim Masterson
Reviewed by Rachel Karno

Jim Masterson's book and companion DVD, Beyond Horse Massage, is a beautifully illustrated, accessible and well laid out set, that is both lovely and full of useful information. Having both a DVD and book really helps a person learn and remember the techniques presented. It is especially nice to be able to watch the DVD and then also have the easy to follow book, with its step-by-step instructions, to take with you to the barn while working on a horse. I have a few horse massage books, and find this set to be the most easy to follow, most informative and it has really great photos and illustrations. Jim Masterson is also a pleasure to watch on the DVD, and he gets right to the point, but also has a good sense of humor!

The book's tips and "what ifs" seem to cover most situations one might encounter and he lays out step-by-step where to begin, techniques to try, how long to go etc. Jim Masterson has a lot of great advice not only for giving a horse a massage, but also for bonding and building trust between horse and human, which I really appreciated. This book would be of interest to those who would like to learn practical techniques for bonding and helping horses they own or work with, and not just those who aspire to do horse massage therapy for fun or a living! The book's advice for figuring out pain or restrictions that may be causing problems is very simply presented, easy to follow, and really helps determine what might be causing performance problems and the proper techniques to try and address and help improve or prevent
the problem.

I really appreciate the extensive tips and tricks for handling a horse while doing massage, and the author is very detailed in his advice about how to know when a horse is releasing tension or relaxing OR when a horse is letting you know when it is time to give him a break! Masterson goes into great detail about even the tiniest cues to look for that help tell one what the horse is feeling, and when or what techniques are working or not!

This book not only has excellent illustrative photographs but it also has lovely, crisp, clean anatomical drawings that are very nice visual examples of how the muscles and bones are interconnected and how they affect each other and performance.

I would highly recommend this set to anyone who owns or works with horses, and I think it would make a really nice gift for any horse lover.

Rachel Coyote Karno is a lifelong horse lover and resident of California who lives with her two rescue trail horses in North San Diego County.

Inside Your Ride: Mental Skills for Being Happy and Successful with Your Horse
Written by Tonya Johnston, MA
Reviewed by Dianne Chapman McCleery

Inside Your Ride is a sports psychology book. If you are looking for a "how-to-ride" book, this isn't it. If you are looking for a way to get and keep your confidence when you ride, this book is it. The author, Tonya Johnston, is a mental skills coach as well as a lifelong rider. She says, "Enjoyment is key," and "This book will show you how to support yourself in the adventure and joys of riding, wherever the journey may take you."

Johnston starts with a most basic question in the first chapter, "Motivation: What do you most enjoy about your rides?" Frankly, I had never asked myself this question. I just know that I am passionate about horses. Luckily, Johnston leads the reader through an exercise to find the answer and then to write a motivation statement. Johnston's philosophy that she lays out in this book is, "Constantly move towards what you enjoy and want to create in your riding by adopting the mental skills to get you there."

The second chapter is "Confidence." This chapter starts with goal setting, and Johnston focuses on identifying where the rider is and progressing from that point. "Setting goals for improving your riding skills and giving yourself credit for both effort and progress builds confidence in a way nothing else can," she states. I would urge everyone who reads this book to follow Johnston's goal setting basics. One of the best suggestions in this chapter is to have a goal when you ride.

The other chapters are: "Focus" (how to stay in the moment), "Vision" (having a clear image of what you want to create), "Energy" (access and adjust it), "Attitude" (beliefs about yourself and self-talk), "Preparation" (using a routine to develop consistency), "Communication" (with others, your horse, yourself), "Resilience" (adapting when things get challenging), "Competing" (bringing your best), and "Returning" (as in after a fall or after an absence from riding). Each of these chapters taken alone would enhance your riding if you followed the suggestions and exercises. Taken together, this book gives you skills to greatly advance your riding. Also, sprinkled throughout Inside Your Ride are insights and stories from top riders and trainers.

Johnston says, "Increasing your confidence and mental strength will further your enjoyment, goal achievement and competing success in your riding." Although Inside Your Ride is a boon for competitive riders, it is also a good read for those who just want to improve their riding and their confidence. As a bonus, these skills transfer easily to any area of your life you'd like to improve.

Dianne Chapman McCleery is a writer and editor who rides with a natural horsemanship trainer in the Sierra Nevada foothills.