The Balanced Horse by Sylvia Loch

I love books, their timeless beauty and wisdom, the smell of the pages...the way they offer an escape and engage our imagination, living in the age of the 'digital revolution' I too easily forget how much I adore reading and this week my love has been rekindled by one of Sylvia Loch's great books; The Balanced Horse.

The Balanced Horse is my third Sylvia Loch book, I admire her vision, she has a beauty both inside and out that radiates through reading her words, Sylvia has a transparency that proves there is no place for tricks or gadgets and as I read page after page, I smile and breath a sigh of relief because I believe in her training programme. 

I recall a lesson many years ago where the instructor insisted I squeezed down my reins "left, right, left, right" and "more leg, more leg...MORE LEG", I went round and round and round the ménage, I got off exhausted and unfulfilled with a confused horse. I'd used my legs so much I had white sweat marks on my leather chaps and boots, they were wet, something that's never happened to me before, not even through the nervous energy of hunting or cross country and it didn't feel right. Needless to say we never returned for a second lesson, and I truly believe some riders have a concious sense to feel; this isn't right and others don't. 

The Balanced Horse breaks down "aids by feel, not by force" and helps our understanding of the horses language and how we must aspire to speak with him to allow greater ability, confidence and enjoyment together.

The book contains thirteen chapters; I see each chapter as a jigsaw, Sylvia explains each piece of the puzzle, breaking down the movements into easy to understand pieces of information allowing the reader to go away and put her work into practice. Achievable schooling exercises are offered at the end of each chapter, this has given me a goal to aspire to once I have figured everything out in my head, relayed it to my body and then discussed it with my horse (wow, this will take some time....does Sylvia do audio-books?).

The Balanced Horse isn't a dressage book, Oscar is your typical allrounder yet developing our communication will enhance all areas of our training together and it has explained all those "why's" and "how's" I've had about schooling classics such as "hand without legs, legs without hand" and "inside leg, to outside rein" - I have had these actions shouted to me in lessons...and responded, in hindsight quite ineffectively!

The Balanced Horse also contains some truly magical photography of Ladykirk Stableyard - I haven't ever seen a ménage quite so beautiful - and not to forget the stunning horses Syliva features...I wonder if she'd consider using a very Irish Connemara in her next display, he is all yours...!

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx