This hardback book would best suit adults or older children new to riding and horsemanship; it covers the basics, from choosing a riding school and first lessons, through to hacking and learning to jump. The level of detail is impressive, and readers are sure to learn a great deal from each section.

I particularly liked the fact that while I am not just starting out with horses myself, I did not find the language condescending in any way; while the author is clearly much more experienced than the readers will be, this is not presented in a dictatorial way.

The photography is excellent, and the captions clear; the photographs are very much part of the learning process and rider faults are shown and explained, as well as images of the desired results. This is refreshing reading and will surely encourage those who think that all ‘how-to’ books only present perfection.

As the book is a British Horse Society (BHS) publication, I was expecting it to be quite slanted toward the society and was pleasantly surprised that while the BHS obviously features at various points, this does not obscure the purpose of the book itself. In fact, it is a very balanced read, and would make an excellent gift for would-be or beginner riders this Christmas.

Published by Collins, ISBN 9780007234950