Foreword by Sally Swift
Part I: Mount Up and Ride
1 Getting On and Off
I'm Uncomfortable Mounting from the Ground * My Horse Won't Stand Still for Mounting * Holding the Reins and Saddle while Mounting * Dismounting: Should I Jump Off or Slide Off? * Emergency Dismounts
2 Staying On: What's Your Position?
Rider Leg Position * What Is Correct Knee Position? * Rider's Tight Upper Body * I Lean Sideways, and My Horse Does Too
3 At the Walk
How Should I Move My Arms at the Walk? * Soft Hands at the Walk * Young Horse Won't Walk, He Jogs * Lengthening a Short Walk Stride * My Horse Anticipates Walk-Trot Transitions
4 At the Trot
Help! Can't Master Posting Trot! * How Do I Learn Diagonals? * I Can't Sit the Trot * Please Provide Sitting Trot Image * First Lengthenings at Trot and Canter * What Is Correct Trot Lengthening? * Trot Lengthening or Medium Trot?
5 At the Canter
Canter Phobia * My Horse Won't Canter * Problems with Right Lead * Smooth Canter Depart * Rider's Leg Swinging at Canter * Better Canter for Rider and Horse
6 About Jumping
Explain Crest Releases, Please * I Can't "See My Distance" * Losing Stirrups over Jumps * Learning to "Fold" over Jumps * Hunt Seat Compared to Cross-Country Position * Strong Legs for Cross-Country Jumping?
7 On the Trail
Trail Riding in Balance * Galloping on Trail Ride * Riding Down Hills * Essential Equine Trail Skills
Part II: Physical and Emotional Issues
8 Figuring Out Horse and Rider Size
Is This Horse Too Small for Me? * "Outgrowing" a Horse * Finding the Right Size Horse * Horse-to-Rider Size * Can My Horse Carry My Weight? * How Heavy Is Too Heavy to Ride?
9 When Your Body Doesn't Cooperate
Painful Ankles * Sore Knees * Collapsing Chest * Swinging Legs and Stirrups * Strengthening Rider's Legs * Why Don't My Toes Point Forward? * Bracing in the Saddle * Too Much Ballet Turnout on Horseback * Rider with Painful Stitch * Riding with a Bad Back
10 Facing Fear
Afraid to Ride * Afraid of Horses * Help, I am a "Fraidy Cat"! * Rider Confidence Loss -- Whose Fault? * Dealing with Loss of Confidence * Restoring Rider Confidence
11 Helping Your Horse with His Problems
Horse Too Sensitive to the Leg * Retraining an Ex-Racehorse * Nervous Horse or Brat? * My Horses' Mouths Can't Tolerate Bits * My Horse Can't Do What I Want to Do
12 Thinking Right about Horses
Horse Is Always Testing the Bit * Talking to My Horse * Confused about Seesawing the Bit * Is Seesawing the Bit Always Wrong? * Letting Others Ride My Horse * Do Horses Enjoy Being Ridden? * Horse "Feeling His Oats" * Is It Always the Rider?
13 Thinking Right about Your Riding
Rider Strength * Finding the Right Horse * Inconsistent, Sad Rider * Dressage Rider's Potential * Moving Up a Level in Eventing * "Just" a Pleasure Rider * Horse Too Fit for Wimpy Me
Part III: Tack and Clothing
14 Bits, Reins, and Contact
Correct Way to Hold Reins * Acceptance of Contact * Change Bit for More Control? * Bit Pressure and Western Bits * Asking My Horse to Stretch Forward and Down
15 Whips and Spurs and How to Use Them
How to Use a Whip * When Can I Start Wearing Spurs? * Does a Whip Equal Abuse? * Spurs, Western Riding, and Hollywood
16 When Your Tack Gets in the Way
Finding a Saddle That Fits * Stirrup Length for Dressage: I'm Confused * Safety Stirrups for Adults * Special Stirrups for Painful Knees and Ankles * Reins for Hands That Won't Close * Longer Reins for a Long-Necked Horse
17 When Your Clothes Get in the Way
Pain from New Boots * Putting Folds into Tall Boots * Riding Jeans * Still Bouncing with Two Sports Bras * Comfort for Male Riders * Saddle Sores * Seat Bone Pain when Riding * Helmet Fitting * Wearing a Hat under a Blanket
Part IV: Getting Better All the Time
18 Instructors and Lessons
Adult Beginner Lessons * Questions to Ask Prospective Instructor * My Instructor Hates My Horse * Same Lesson Over and Over * "Jerk and Shout" Instructor * New Instructor, New Ways * Riding Lesson Etiquette? * Should Beginners Ride Many Different Horses? * Weekly, Biweekly, or Monthly Lessons? * More Lessons = More Confusion * Old, Scared Lady Wants to Ride * Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?
19 Going to Clinics
"Not Good Enough" for a Clinic? * Clinic Costs * Clinics for "the Rest of Us" * Clinician's Comment on Riding Corners * Should the Clinician Ride Your Horse? * Learning from Watching
20 Going to Competitions
I Want to Show but I'm Terrified * Getting Help at Shows * I'm Never in the Ribbons -- Why? * Interpreting Dressage Scores * Organizing a Horse Show
21 You Are Not Alone
Can't Let My Friends See Me Ride * Dressage for Occasional Rider * Frustrated Adult Beginner * Riding Clubs * Limited Riding Time during the Winter * "My Way Is the Only Way" * Ground Work and Riding -- You Need Both * Am I Letting My Horse Down?
Appendix: How to Build a Mounting Block