Pilates is one of those pastimes that you know is probably a good idea, and is probably very good for you – and yes, will probably improve many areas, not just your riding position, but still I have always found the concept slightly overwhelming.
This book is an ideal introduction to the practice, as it begins with a background of Pilates, introducing the founder of the technique, Joseph Pilates, and explaining the six principles – namely, centring, concentration, control, precision, flow and breath.
The author explains that many of the core benefits of Pilates are essential in dressage, such as core strength, good posture and muscle flexibility.
I really appreciated the way in which the book explains the functions of the various muscles in our bodies, in simple, yet non-patronising, language. It introduces the most basic of unmounted exercises, with easy-to-follow instructions, before moving onto the more advanced, and finally putting what you have learned into practice on the horse, giving pointers on specific school movements.
There is a lot to take in within the pages, and it is impossible to do the book justice in this review. The one criticism I would have is that it is all in black and white – there are photographs and images, and boxed-out information, but it would be nice to have had some colour to attract the reader yet more. It’s therefore not the easiest book to remain absorbed in, as it can be quite ‘dry’. That said, the content far outweighs the visual shortfalls – if you’re seriously interested in how the discipline could benefit you and your riding, this is a great starting point.
Published by HHP, ISBN 0939481723.