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MYTH: “If you don’t have a ‘rider’s body,’ you’ll never ride well, no matter what you do.”

TRUTH: Regardless of how you’re built, riding well takes work and dedication.

This is one of the big myths Melinda Folse, author of the bestselling SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES, makes sure she busts well and good in her new book RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN. Most of us remember a time or place, in the barn or in a lesson, when someone said something (maybe about us…maybe about someone else) like, “She has the perfect body for riding,” or “She’ll always have trouble looking graceful on horseback with her figure.” And no doubt we tucked it away and remembered it, every time we tried to zip up our chaps or pulled on our breeches thereafter.

But the truth actually matters here, so it’s time we’re convinced of it, so let’s let Melinda do the convincing. Here’s what she says in RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN:

 

body-silhouette-standing-woman-1Yes, riding well does come more easily to some than others, but the biomechanics of riding well are much more important than being “built to ride.” Consider these statements:

“You’re built to ride. You’re going to be a natural!”

“Oh, honey, you’re just not built to ride. You can take some lessons and enjoy riding for fun, but you’ll never be a serious rider.”

Statements like these can put your mind in a dark realm of self-doubt before you ever set foot in a stirrup.

The Greater Truth we need to have a firm grasp on here is a rider with a “perfect rider’s build,” can actually feel heavier to a horse than a stubby, stocky rider who knows how to distribute her weight and balance. Without exception, every single expert I spoke with while researching my book RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN agreed that it’s not so much how you’re built or how much you weigh as it is how you use the body weight you have that determines whether—and how well—you can ride. Or, as Susan Harris likes to put it, “It’s not what you have, but how you use it that counts.”

And, while it is true that some physical features are an advantage in riding, not having these features is by no means a deal-breaker when it comes to riding well. Harris says that if you’re a larger rider—either with a naturally large “frame” or someone with a smaller frame who has put on some weight—you have options.

“The important thing,” she emphasizes, “is to be as fit as you can be in your core.”

Harris is a firm believer that with solid core strength and a willingness to work on your riding skills, riding—and riding well—is a very achievable goal for anyone. The key, she says, is recognizing that happiness in this pursuit is part balance, part saddle fit, part educating yourself about what kind of horse will make a good choice for you, and part finding the kinds of personal adjustments (across the board) that will bring you the freedom and enjoyment you crave in your experiences with horses.

Here are a few #Hoofpicks to take to the barn with you (you know, some ideas that help clean out the mud, muck, debris, and “poo” in our heads when it comes to how we think we look and how we think that defines what we can do with our horses):

1 Educate yourself on what makes a horse able carry to a little more weight. Using the rule-of-thumb (that actually has nothing to do with thumbs) as your starting point, remember to take into consideration the horse’s build, his level of fitness for the job you’re asking him to do, your level of fitness, and how well you are able to use your own energy to lighten his load.

2 Learn how to “find your spot.” This is not about how you look when you’re trying to get in balance and connect with your horse’s movement and energy. This is about how you feel. When you find it, you’ll know it.

3 Think, listen, and respond to your horse based on your own observations and feel—over the directives or expectations of others. Proper form can be taught, but finding the feel is something you have to do on your own. Listen to your instructors, but listen to your own body and the response of your horse even more.

4 Care for your horse’s body just as you’re learning to care for your own. Taking time to educate yourself and find reliable bodywork practitioners will help you keep your horse’s muscles and frame in good shape for the long haul. Learn to incorporate habits and routines such as stretches, core work, massage, chiropractic, and craniosacral therapy will keep your horse healthy and better able to perform.

riding-thr-thickthin-lgFor more positive, proactive ways to find your way past the perils of poor body image, check out RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN by Melinda Folse. Happiness in our bodies is not only possible—it may be far easier than we think.

CLICK HERE to see more. Now through December 14, 2016, you can get 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING at www.horseandriderbooks.com.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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We’re thrilled to see Aussie-born horse training phenomenon Clinton Anderson, author of the bestselling books DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP and LESSONS WELL LEARNED, the featured cover story in the December/January issue of Western Shooting Horse magazine!

Don’t miss the article by Ken Amorosano, which tells a little of Clinton’s personal story and how he found a way to transform his talent and love for horse training into a successful business and international brand. Based in Texas, Clinton is proud to call the United States his home, making him an inspiring example of someone making the American Dream his own.

“The American Dream can be defined and measured in a lot of ways. And in the modern world, it takes a lot to reach The Dream—especially for folks born outside the U.S.,” writes Amorosano. “But against the odds, Australian native Clinton Anderson has used a steadfast work ethic and appreciation for talented people to become a major force in equine education.”

Pick up a copy of Western Shooting Horse wherever quality equestrian magazines are sold to read the rest of the article, plus catch Clinton’s own article “Calming the Overanxious Horse” in the same issue!

And don’t miss your chance to buy Clinton Anderson’s DOWNUNDER HORSEMANSHIP and LESSONS WELL LEARNED during our holiday sale, which ends TOMORROW, November 27th, 2012. Order now and receive 15% off all items (excluding sale products and sets, which are already discounted) plus FREE SHIPPING.

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TSB is still taking online orders and shipping for Christmas. All orders made before midnight on December 18 will ship for FREE with delivery by Christmas. There is no guarantee on orders placed after the 18th unless arrangements are made for expedited shipping—call to confirm expedited shipping costs and arrival dates toll free at 800.423.4525.

TSB is accepting holiday orders through December 21st. Orders placed after the 21st will not arrive in time for Christmas.

AND we’re offering 15% off your order now through the holidays! Don’t miss this opportunity to save money on a great gift!

Our Top 5 TSB Gift Recommendations are:

NATURALLY CURIOUS by Mary Holland

You may not know this, but Trafalgar Square Books published a fabulous photographic field guide for New England and it just won the National Outdoor Book Award for best new nature guide! It is IN STOCK and will SHIP IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS from our website. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NATURALLY CURIOUS NOW.

2  TEX by Dorie McCullough Lawson

This wonderful illustrated children’s book uses ranch life and the splendor of the American West as a backdrop for a bedtime book that instills work ethic and the value of animals as companions. Click HERE to listen to the interview with author Dorie McCullough Lawson on the Horse Radio Network. TSB is donating 10% of all online sales of TEX through January 1 to the Pajama Program, which provides books and warm jammies to children in need. CLICK HERE TO ORDER A SIGNED COPY OF TEX NOW.

3  RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK by Susanne von Dietze

Susanne just presented at the USDF Symposium in San Diego, California, where her new book (and the new DVD by the same name) were a huge hit. A great purchase for the dressage rider in your life. CLICK HERE TO ORDER RIDER & HORSE BACK TO BACK NOW.

4  HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD by Denny Emerson

There is no other book like this for the aspiring equestrian competitor, whatever their chosen discipline. This is a no-nonsense, self-empowering guide to navigating the horse industry and succeeding. Click HERE to check out Denny’s blog and what some of the top names in the world of horses are saying about his blog. CLICK HERE TO ORDER HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD NOW.

5  THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE 4-DISK DVD SET by Sean Patrick

Sean’s book by the same name is a bestseller, with readers and reviewers claiming it teaches training fundamentals like no book out there. Here, Sean has taken his winning “Countdown” and demonstrated the 33 steps in live action—the perfect complement to the book or a wonderful way to aid the visual learner in his or her pursuit of better horse-and-handler communication. CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE COUNTDOWN TO BROKE 4-DISK DVD SET NOW.

For more gift recommendations, checkout our holiday shopping lists HERE.

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With Thanksgiving over, many of us have entered the fun-filled season dedicated to holiday shopping…and what wasn’t purchased on Black Friday can always be bought on Cyber Monday!

Still not sure what to get the horsey friend or family member when you’re on a budget? Here are five SUPER books for five different kinds of horsemen or women, and all for less than $30.

1  For the grownup girl who always wanted a horse, but maybe never got one….

THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES by Melinda Folse

Funny, smart, self-help with a shot of reality, a dash of dreams, and a whole lotta horse.

2  For the ambitious young rider with big-time competitive dreams…

HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD by Denny Emerson

Whatever the discipline, whatever the finances, here’s the how-to for going somewhere both in riding, and in life.

3  For the Western rider with a passion for fun, family, and the rush of roping…

TEAM ROPING 101 by Kayla Starnes, endorsed by the USTRC

All you need to know about the exciting, big-money sport of team roping—how to get started, and get good.

4  For the philosopher-in-the-saddle, the dressage aficionado, the classicist…

MEDITATIONS FOR TWO by Dominique Barbier and Keron Psillas

Beautiful, poignant, poetic, and deep—a book to ponder and move you.

5  For the son, daughter, grandchild, niece, or nephew…

TEX by Dorie McCullough Lawson

A beautiful children’s picture book about hard work, the American West, and sleep! (See a short video HERE) Through January 1, 2012, 10% of all online sales of TEX from HorseandRiderBooks.com will go to the Pajama Program—join us in our efforts to give warm pajamas and good books to the children who need them most! Read about TSB’s donation HERE.

These books, and many more, can be found at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE, and where you can get 15% your order all this week by entering the coupon code THANKS15 at checkout.

Offer ends 12-2-11 and cannot be combined with other offers.

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