Monday, 13 June 2016

Book Review - The Dressage Horse Optimized

When I first saw this book I thought it was a great way of explaining and showing the skeleton and muscles of a horse and how they all work - and it is.  It is actually a book to explain the 'Masterson Method' which is 'designed to release tension in key junctions of the body that most affect performance'.  

I particularly like the first sections of the book which take a look at anatomy in a really simple way and then the biomechanics of the horse.  The whole book has some fantastic pictures and diagrams that are positioned really well so that you can look at them together and get a great understanding.

Chapter 1 goes through the skeleton and how it works, looking at the major junctions of the horse's body.  It explains the joints simply but in enough detail to really help you understand how they work and how this links to a horses movement and performance.  

Chapter 2 looks at the muscles and how they work to control the joints to create movement.  The chapter again looks at the major junctions in a simple but effective way that I think explains movement brilliantly. 

Chapter 3 moves on to biomechanics.  Using the knowledge gained in the first 2 chapters this one then goes on to link it in more detail to how a horse bends and collects.

Chapter 4 looks at the biomechanics of dressage which I found fascinating.  There are lots of pictures of the horse moving and you can clearly see where the bones and muscles are as the horse moves forwards or sideways.  The chapter moves through from the walk to the canter covering flying changes, half pass and piaffe amongst others.

The final few chapters are the exercises or 'techniques' you can use to find and release any tension. These chapters also go through the major junctions which were mentioned earlier, looking at each area and the techniques you can use.    

There is a nifty little card that you can detach with the major joints on one side and the major muscles on the other which are a great quick reference guide you could carry around. 

Throughout the first 4 chapters of the book there are little boxes referring you to a particular exercise which will help with the area you are learning about.  I just love the way the book is set out in an interesting way and not just lines and lines of words about joints.  The pictures are great and really help to show exactly what is being explained.  

To be honest I would recommend this book for gaining a great understanding of joints and movement which will help improve your riding.

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