Book Review: Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect Horse

This review ran in the Oct. 29 issue of The Chronicle.

Dressage For The Not-So-Perfect Horse. Janet Foy. Trafalgar Square, North Pomfret, Vermont. 2012. 218 pages. $32.95.

International dressage judge Janet Foy has ridden, shown and judged many different kinds of horses throughout her years in the sport. Her new book aims to help riders with imperfect horses achieve success across all levels.

The introduction gives readers an idea of Foy’s accomplishments and credentials and includes a quick reference section of imperfections and evasions that makes it easy to jump to the right chapter depending on your horse’s issue with a particular movement.

The book is divided into three sections: “Building a Solid Foundation,” which includes basic movements like leg-yielding and shoulder-in, “Achieving Success at Third and Fourth Level,” which goes into more advanced movements like half-pass and flying changes, and “The Pinnacle of Dressage,” which looks at the movements that come at Grand Prix.

Each section includes chapters on individual movements, making it easy to find exactly the kind of insight and help you might need. Foy intersperses personal stories of horses she’s ridden, helpful photos, and excerpts from the U.S. Equestrian Federation rule book to help illustrate her points.

What I found very interesting were the “Judging Tips” spread throughout the chapters. Foy gives insight into what judges might be thinking when you perform a movement in the ring and how you can perfect it for test-riding purposes.

The book is well-organized and easy to understand and makes for a good read for those of us with “imperfect horses.”

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