I came across Making The Time: An Expert Guide To Cross-Country Riding by Stuart Tinney when I was working at the National Sporting Library, so I bought a copy. Published in 2004 by Blackwell Publishing, it’s a bit dated at this point and sort of hard to find (it’s available in paperback on Amazon for $54!), but it’s a pretty complete book on the basics of riding cross-country, which never go out of date.
Tinney is an Australian four-star rider. He was a member of the gold medal team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and competed at the 2004 Olympics and the 2002 and 2010 World Equestrian Games. Most recently he was fifth at the 2013 Adelaide CCI**** in Australia aboard Pluto Mio, so he’s well-qualified to write a book!
Making The Time is fairly short, at 133 pages, and in black and white, which is unfortunate. It reads fairly dry, but if you’re looking for Tinney’s thoughts on cross-country riding and insight into what he considers important in day-to-day training for eventing, it’s worth your time.
The first chapter covers basic necessities for the horse and rider, then jumps right in to walking a cross-country course in chapter 2. It’s a little sad to read the section about figuring out your speed for each phase of the nearly extinct three-day event, but those who ride in training three-days might find it useful.
Tinney lays out how to save time on course with drawings of the lines he would choose in certain situations and combinations and uses photo sequences to show the different phases of what he’s describing, such as rebalancing down or up a hill and what’s considered a good take-off point for different kinds of fences (sloping ramps, angled fences, banks, etc.)
He includes a chapter on training for cross-country in the arena, and suggests several different exercises, like bounces, skinny barrels and creating a fake ditch for a sunken road using panels and polls.
The rest of the book touches briefly on basic fitness and interval training, horse management and horse types, but just doesn’t get specific enough to hold my interest. He doesn’t really touch on show jumping or dressage, which would make the book feel more complete since all three phases are related.
The last section of the book gives you a better view of Tinney as he looks back on all of the horses that got him to where he is today.
If you’re into collecting every book on eventing you can find like I am, or looking for a refresher on basics, this is a good one to add to your collection, but I think there are more recent, colorful and complete books about eventing out there.