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litreader14 has commented on (4) products.

Centered Riding by Sally Swift
Centered Riding

litreader14, March 22, 2009

Ms Swift's classic book is almost beyond any review, but for those of you who do not know who she is, trust me, she is a spectacular teacher, who gives very useful and concrete exercises to perform while riding on one's own.

While most might think Sally Swift is just for dressage (classical) riders, her lessons are really for any rider. And I will give the example that I was a "hunt seat" rider for a university equestrian team, but because we were short of riders for Stock Seat classes (i.e. Western), I got to ride in those as well, and I was known (because I had a classical seat) as "The Marlboro Woman" and did very well as a Stock Seat rider.

What "Centered Riding" offers translates to all riding in very useful ways. It also translates to other disciplines as well, as many of the exercises are about posture and maintaining a "soft" focus, which means being able to see what goes on around one without focusing specifically on one thing. Personally, I find it useful in riding but also in ballroom dancing. So, there may be some cross-over interest here for people in other disciplines.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Ten Cents on the Dollar, or, the Bankruptcy Game by Sidney Rutberg
Ten Cents on the Dollar, or, the Bankruptcy Game

litreader14, March 21, 2009

Ultimately, this is a very interesting historical novel, about a young woman, Martha, who has learned to gently "break" horses, and in the absence of young men, due to the American entrance into the World War I, gets herself hired to train the young horses of a certain area of Oregon. (Personally, I would have loved the author to stick to real town names so I could follow along on a map!)

Martha has her personal traumas, which she has rejected, evidenced by her gentle and understanding training methods of horses, and eventually, she gets to stand up to cruelty, for which the reader cheers. Martha is a protagonist we all can love.

Much of the novel deals with the lives of others, and the reader is convinced that this is all well-researched and very much true to the times. A time truly between times. People have cars, yet some still depend upon horse for transport, phones are somewhat common, yet mail/neighbor gossip might be carried by horse. Cancer is not understood, but ptomaine is.

The one objection, is the way the tale trails off into the future. The author would have done better to leave things for a sequel, as shortly after the novel-time ends, is the true trauma of WW I (in terms of the massive slaying of youth) and the Great Flu, which killed tens of millions. And, truly, the confluence of both, as at one point, more young men were killed by the flu than by bullets. The author touches on these, but she truly could have written another entire sequel to this fine novel.

Ms. Gloss has wonderful characters, and she would have done very well to add a whole second book here, rather than trail off into vagaries at the end of her first fine novel. (Trust me, this is an opinion seconded.)

But, definitely, this is a book well worth buying and reading, both as historical novel and horse interest. Ms. Gloss does very well on both levels.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards
Chosen by a Horse

litreader14, March 21, 2009

This is a simply and beautifully written book, with great meaning for horse lovers, but also for anyone with sympathy for life itself. Ms. Richards conveys the meaning that one, very singular horse, had in her life, which translates to anyone who has had to cope with loss, whether from an early age or a later one.

This is a book that deals with loss, but in its heart, it is a book about hope, and love, and the possibility to reconcile a damaged life with quiet dignity.

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(4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

In the Presence of Horses by Barbara Dimmick
In the Presence of Horses

litreader14, March 21, 2009

This novel never delivers on its promise. The reader is lead to believe that Natalie will move forward and learn something profound after the death of the black horse Twister. She does learn something profound, but it costs the lives of all the other horses in the stable (her responsibility), yet she never truly moves forward. Her new knowledge, compounded with the horrific deaths, by starvation, of all the horses in her keeping, do not bring her forward to some deep understanding. She is still the tenuous creature she always was. The reader is left with nothing but the horrors of the novel. The writing is nothing special, and the detailed deaths of horses is traumatic without meaning.

This novel could have been quite good, there is a brief time toward the end, when Natalie goes back to her hometown, and revisits her old haunts, with all its ghosts, which is quite poignant and true. However, the remainder of the novel is unsatisfactory. The author never takes that little bit of truth to make something meaningful. The movement of the "heroine" to do something positive is only temporary, which we already know she is capable of. She never takes a further step to show real growth. Furthermore, the reader is never given anything to really reflect upon. A very unsatisfying end to an indifferently written novel.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

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