Mary Wanless has again achieved an easy to understand book that totally demystifies some of the riding world’s deepest questions. To be precise, it explains how we can effectively use and train our body to make riding not only look effortless but be in perfect harmony with your horse. The key to this success? Fascia. Fascia is a cling film like connective tissue that wraps around our muscles and with the help of anatomist Tomas Myers and his biblical knowledge of all things fascia, Mary explains just how fascinating this tissue is, together with how it works and how it affects our everyday movements. Together, their knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious, making you keep turning page after page.
Recent research suggests that horses have a fascia system that is remarkably similar to ours, showing “lines of pull” that affect everything about the body such as mobility, posture, strength and stability. A disruption of this fascia in either the horse and/or rider’s body will imbalance both parties.
This book is user friendly, and backed up with pictures of mounted riders demonstrating not only good posture but also the flaws commonly seen in riders. It comprises of explanations of rider anatomy, relevant fascia and which line of pull it correlates to, then links that to how it relates to our posture. Mary’s style is straightforward without being overwhelming, meaning that even the least scientific reader will find it easy to digest.
A huge leap away from the teachings of past times telling that there should be straight plumb lines in a living body that is anything but straight, this book enlightens us on the elusive “feel”, what it is and how it is achievable for everyone to create harmony between the partnership. Mary provides in depth discussions about common issues riders have with their posture, such as hollow backs or tipping in the saddle, along with tackling issues such as sitting more heavily to one side of the saddle. She makes suggestions for straightforward unmounted exercises to “diagnose” weakness in the fascial lines, and then ridden exercises to help correct fascial imbalance and restore flexibility.
Combined with valuable knowledge from experienced eyes on the floor, this book has the potential to make significant differences to not only the efficacy of riders but also the horse’s comfort and movement. One of the beauties of this book is that it appeals to both therapists, instructors and all riders alike. In a world where welfare is paramount, sustainable changes to riding habits can only be a positive attribute.
This is an absolute gem of a book that will have you fascinated with movement and posture and have you reaching for it time and time again. A must on any equestrian’s bookshelf, whether professional rider or riding for pleasure, it’s well worth a read!
Author: Mary Wanless
Reviewer: Georgina Bull
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