This review originally appeared in the Oct. 20 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.
40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes
Trafalgar Square Books, Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053. 2014.
224 pages. $29.95.
I really enjoyed Wendy Murdoch’s previous book, 50 5-Minute Fixes To Improve Your Riding, so I was excited to pick up her latest release, 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes.
Inspired to learn more about how to ride pain-free after a severe riding accident in 1984, Murdoch developed a teaching system that focuses on developing riding skills by focusing on individual body parts, so 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes is divided into several sections including Lower Back and Pelvis, Hips, Legs and Arms and Hands. This made it easy to locate which fix I might want to read about.
Murdoch notes that not all of us have the luxury of growing up on horseback, galloping across the country, and learning a natural “feel,” so her exercises focus on body awareness, something that I think is of particular use to amateurs who often only have one horse to ride and limited time to do it.
Many of the exercises can be performed off the horse and require as little as an exercise ball or a chair. Several are performed on the horse with and without a helper, which makes the book great to take ringside.
In certain sidebars, Murdoch can get quite scientific in her explanations of the anatomy of horse and rider and how they function together while riding, which made those parts a little dry for me, but each exercise was then simply explained, step-by-step.
There are countless photographs and illustrations of how to perform each exercise and three simple questions at the beginning of each to decide if you might want to read further. For example, “When jumping do you: Hold your breath over jumps? Exhale only at the end of a round? Take shallow or panting breaths?”
Then you might want to try exercise 29, “When In Doubt—Breathe Out!” which offers a breathing exercise to try on the horse and another off the horse.
If you’re looking to improve your jumping position this winter, 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes should give you plenty to practice when you’re stuck in the indoor waiting for spring.