What originally drew me to this book was the title. I want to be a better rider, but I’m not a beginner. Denny Emerson, the author of this book is a Hall of Fame eventing rider who owns and operates Tamarack Hill Farm in Strafford, VT. As a hunter jumper rider myself I learned of Denny through Facebook. On his barn’s page they are always sharing inspiring and thought provoking posts. I didn’t realize this was the same person till after I started reading.
The book is formatted more like a textbook and less like a regular reading book. The sections of the book are "Wannabes" vs. "Gonnabes," The Riding Sport that's Right for You, Dealing with the Cards You Hold, "No Man is an Island," Nine Character Traits for a Successful Rider, The Body You Choose to Ride With, Swim (or Flounder) in the Vast Sea of Horse Knowledge, The Horse: A Rowboat or Yacht? and A Quiver Full of Arrows. And scattered throughout the book are interviews with top riders from all disciplines on their thoughts on what made them good riders.
One of the things I liked the most was the way Emerson talked about subjects that are very real in the equine world. Financial advantages and having existing connections place some riders leaps and bounds ahead of others and he did not shy away from talking about those points. But the uncontrollable conditions riders have, either positive or negative, were much smaller in number and importance versus the things everyone can change. We all have the power to become more compassionate riders. We all have the power to keep learning about best horse care practices. And all of those things, make us better riders.
The final chapter Denny talked about filling your quiver with arrows, and those arrows are different skills and strengths. He said that each of these arrows are things we can take ownership of and add to our quiver. And that was a very inspiring message to be able to take away. I am definitely not a rider with a financial upper hand so reading about all of the other different things I can do to become a stronger rider motivated me.
This book is pretty compact and can be a quick read, but with so much valuable content it is best read in small chunks where you can digest and put into practice what you just read. I highly recommend reading this book if you want to become a good rider!
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