17 03 2013

So, no horse riding for me last week. I did rearrange my lesson for Tuesday as I think I said in my previous update, but a guest lecture at university about the origins of Bushido came up that evening in the intervening period and I thought that ought to take priority as it’s within my specific area of interest.

No horse riding for me in the coming week, either. I shall be away doing family things.

I have no real intention of resting on my laurels in this time, however; following the realization that if I worked on building strength in my core, a better seat and greater control would follow, I splashed out with the money I made from some recent eBay sales and bought myself an equestrian Pilates exercise DVD!

The one I have bought myself is Janice Dulak’s Pilates for the Dressage Rider. Also available in the UK is Gemma Tattershall’s Equestrian Pilates, which is actually the cheaper of the two and has more positive reviews on Amazon, so I thought very hard about which one to go for before making a final purchase. I chose the former because I was put off by what some of the reviewers had written about the Gemma Tattershall DVD: specifically, that the production quality was poor and it was difficult to navigate. The one (out of a total of two) positive review about Dulak’s DVD said enough good things about it to assure me that I wasn’t making a bad choice. I ordered it from The Book Depository for almost a third less than Amazon were charging and free postage!

Initial thoughts: Given what I paid for the DVD, I was a bit disappointed that the slip cover isn’t more professional-looking; to be honest, it looks like it was knocked up on someone’s home PC and printed on an inkjet printer, and I was initially concerned that the product I’d purchased wasn’t genuine. An inspection of the disk itself, and it looked like it was the real thing, just with cheap packing materials. I was a bit disappointed by the picture quality when I went to play the DVD for the first time, too. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that that wasn’t what I’d bought it for and persevered with it.

In terms of actual content, so far, so good. The sound is nice and clear on it, and it’s well narrated. Although I haven’t actually done a workout yet I have watched through the introduction and some of the exercises, and I found it a good sign that I found it hard to watch the explanations/demonstrations without going through the motions of the exercises myself! The commentary is very easy to follow and understand, frequently referring back to the significance of muscle groups and their uses in dressage so that you understand the relevance of what you’re doing, and the editing of the actual exercise demonstrations is executed very nicely to give you a really good idea of what you should be doing.

I will update on this again when I’ve actually done a full workout, and I’ll keep a record on here of how well I think it’s going and whether I think it’s helping.

In other news, I am also currently reading and really enjoying Monty Roberts’ The Man who Listens to Horses and becoming very interested in ‘natural horsemanship’ as a consequence… and the discovery that YOU CAN GET BITLESS BRIDLES has made me inordinately happy. One day… *sigh*