Top critical review
A gossipy memoir with some good points to make
on November 3, 1998
Rather than being strictly about riding as the title would suggest, the book is a collection of personal memoirs. Along the way, the author makes very good points about the state of competitive dressage and how it falls short of the classical ideal. The differences are illustrated with photographic sketches that would greatly help those of us struggling to learn the correct way to ride. It is gratifying to see that someone has finally put into words all of the questions I have about why many of the horses in active dressage competition look forced, unnatural, and ugly. We, the modern inheritors of dressage, have a lot to answer for in the way that riding is currently being taught and judged.
Unfortunately the message of the book is marred by the confrontational, gossipy tone of the narrative. It would appear the author wants to get back at all those who publically disagreed with her in the past. I found the idea that those who differ in approach don't care about horses to be offensive.
In the end the book is well worth buying because the author's accusations about competitive dressage in the areas of self-carriage and the classical seat *must* be addressed by each rider personally, and by the dressage community as a whole. It is unfortunate that the reader has to wade through lots of unrelated personal details, and put up with an annoying, unproductive holier-than-thou attitude to do so.