Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: Ride With Confidence!

Ride with Confidence! Foreword and top tips from Kelly Marks. Chapters include: "Teaching the Nervous Rider" by Christina Barlow, "Managing Your Fear" by Julie Goodnight, "Understanding the Horse" by Abigail Hogg, " The NLP Approach to Confident Riding" by Liz Morrison, and "Hynotherapy and Hypnosis" by Sharon Shinwell.

I really like Kelly Mark's remarks and the bullet point suggestions throughout the book. There are lots of case studies that I found very encouraging. It has a lot of good information, especially a first glimpse into how to deal with fear. Some chapters I could do without, others are fairly basic, and others still offered some really good advice.

I am not really thrilled with the "Understanding the Horse" chapter. I really hate when equestrian "experts" take one aspect of horse behavior, such as horses contacting you with their lips, and over generalize it. The idea presented is that because horses lip before they bite, and biting is a sign of dominance, that means that allowing horses to take a treat you are allowing horses to be more dominate. Given her explanation, and my experience over a number of years a with a large number of horses, I am just not going to swallow that one. I am not going to say that all horses should be given treats or that all people do it properly, but just that I hate over reaching generalizations.

I almost let that part turn me off of the whole books but chapter one, "Managing Your Fear," is sound. Kelly offers a top 10 tip for handling fears is a great place to start. She suggests doing a risk analysis, finding a good instructor, and "under horse" yourself, among other thing. Her suggestions work for everyone from those that are afraid to even be near a horse to those that are nervous to jump a place to start. Two of my top favorites are to BREATH and finding "alternative" methods for managing fear.

Among those alternatives are hypnotherapy, the NLP approach, positive thinking, the importance of setting goals, and Bach flowers. The Neuro-Linguistic Programing is a sports psychology technique. It is a way to overcome a self doubt not only in your horse world but also in life as a whole. I have been thinking of getting some self- hypnosis tapes. I have not tried all the techniques in this book yet, but found the information helpful in making some decision about what would be helpful for me to try. I have found that overcoming fear is just like anything else, try new ideas, take what you like and get rid of the rest

One last chapter I want to mention is the one for trainers/ instructors. I think that this book is really great for those of you that work with people who have fear. It helps you have a sneak peak into our minds as well as offer a lot of suggestions for lesson plans and steps to take to help your client overcome their fear. This book really is a must for you.

If you are on a limited budget, this maybe one that you want to check out from the library. Instructors may find this book even more useful; it is the only one I have read so far that has information written just for you. Overall I am going to give this book a thumbs up.


  1. Great review. I had been looking at this book on Amazon but had seen Kelly Marks a few times on tv and wasn't too sure I liked her style. I didn't realize the book was written by multiple horse people, though, and it sounds like maybe Kelly makes a better impression in writing. Very helpful review!

  2. I hate when people say "If you hand feed a horse or let them lip you they will become grabby or bite"
    Mine are perfect examples (especially Indigo who knows numerous tricks) of why this is not true. They will literally not touch any food in your hands before you offer it, open palmed. Indigo especially. She does beg, god does she ever. She will go through a whole routine of tricks before I even ask her for a specific one, just to see if I will crack. She has never just come up and demanded treats without offering me something in return, like a good ol lip curlin smile.


Thank you so much for your positive comments. I love you hear from you!