This book was initially a gift to me in college. I read this cover to cover. Denny’s somewhat abrupt and kick-you-in-the-pants mantra is a good read for the rider looking for some inspiration. I would place this book in the hands of a young teen with starry eyes and high-horse aspirations or the struggling professional trying to juggle her horse habit.
To sum up the book in just a few paragraphs, Denny wants riders to take into consideration the weight of the choices you make whether large or small and the long-term affects on where this may or may not land you in your pursuit of an equestrian sport. From picking horses, rider health, abstaining from child-bearing, and deciding not to follow a sweet-heart to a far-away school, Denny doesn’t hesitate to bring up some controversial issues that riders face throughout their life.
As a very matter-of-fact and analytical type thinker, I can respect the author’s position on prioritizing your riding goals if that is where your dream lies. And I don’t believe he is degrading anyone that prioritizes family and friends, but he does make the argument that given your life circumstances choosing a normal lifestyle can make your riding pursuits harder to achieve. (Sometimes, not always.)
He breaks the the book down into seven areas in which a rider can focus on to become a “good” rider. These areas: the horse sport you choose, the hand your dealt in life, your support network, your character, your body, knowledge, and your horse.
For me, I think the book encouraged me to take a step back and look at what current decisions I am making, and whether they are building me to be a better rider, or making the goals I’ve set for myself harder to tackle.