Thursday, 3 January 2008

Reading This Week - "Studies in Equitation"

I have just started reading this quite an original book: Studies in Equitation by Tony Silverman.
I don't normally buy those 'Learn to ride/learn how to teach to ride' books as they are so shallow and useless that I would rather send the money to ILPH. I much prefer reading classic books on equitation as I seem to find them thoughts provoking and mentally stimulating.
However, I bought this one. Mainly out of curiosity as: 1) the author worked for the famous London riding school 'Suzanne's' which was forced to close its doors due to insurance premiums and 2) there was a mention in Horse & Hound that he had to publish the book himself. I said to myself - I wonder why? Was there no one wanting to publish it? Is it controversial in some ways?

If, like me, you expect to come across some dry instructional material, the first thing that will hit you in this book is the way the content is presented. It's not your usual 'studies' book; it's a true tale of an instructor for whom horses and teaching were the most important things in life. A tale that really grabs you and you find yourself reading until 1am as if it was an exciting fiction story in front of you. Everything in the book seems very real and you can tell the author had been in every situation he wrote about.
What I especially enjoy in the book is the fact it is written to help instructors of average, weekend, riding school riders and yet the quality of the teaching described is probably better than that of many sessions with so-called trainer on your own horse. As the author say - the basics are everything.

I do smirk sometimes while reading as Tony Silverman has this very specific, mentor like style which sometimes can come across as a little hmm, patronising. I don't think this is the case though; I think he is just one of those rare type of instructors that never stops learning, who, although humble, also knows his value, and who, to quote him, always "teaches from the top 10% of his knowledge".

There are some things in the book that some could call slightly old-fashioned and maybe over the top but nevertheless it is a one of a kind read, written with an incredible attention to detail, presenting the author as a person full of opinions and yet very open - minded.

If you click at the picture below you will be able to browse the content of the book. Have a read :)

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