Patricia Pitt is the amazing blogger known as The Dressage Tipster who from her blogging, her riding life experiences and learning journey has created the book The Crystal System. Thanks to Haynet and the wonderful Dressage Tipster I was given the opportunity to read the book over Christmas.
The Crystal System is a self-help system for riders, which aims to clear up some of the mysteries that often surround the ability to ride skilfully, with feel and with subtlety - but self-help is not to be taken negatively, for as Patricia points out in the book self help “is to use one’s own efforts and resources to achieve things without relying on others." I’m sure many of us have felt the need to be always helped out by trainers who are more knowledgable that us, but this book encourages you to train yourself in order to improve. The aim of the book is to give every rider the confidence to select the best of your riding experiences (whether that be a training session with a world class trainer or a certain riding session by yourself in the arena) and to use these in order to further develop your own understanding of how to train your horse and yourself too.
Through questioning, exploring and having to explain why you do what you do to yourself, the Crystal System helps you to develop and create your very own system of training as your learning grows and as you gain more experience, which is why I would recommend this book to every rider, from both total novice with their first horse to an semi-pro who needs that little bit of extra clarity in their own training. The book also highlights the importance of goal setting and positivity to help yourself to get you and your horse wherever you want to be. There were so many ‘aha!’ moments for me personally, where this book helped me to really asses how I influence the horses that I ride and how I can improve in order to improve the horse too - “it’s all about you helping your horse to be the best he can be!”
The most thought provoking chapter was the ‘beauty in your body’ one. This chapter was wonderful for me personally. It is bursting with good ideas and tips, and it really made me feel positive even though I was being very critical all of my faults. It made me evaluate myself, but in a fundamentally very positive way that made me very excited to get on Vallu and ride in order to further evaluate my way of riding and try to improve. Throughout the book there are “Crystal’s Tips” which I found really useful. Sometimes they include exercises that I found myself doing the next time that I was riding and they proved to be incredibly useful. For example, from the ‘suppling your horse chapter’ you get a load of exercises such as the shoulder fore, shoulder in, travers, quarter turns, figure of eight, and tear drops all explained, which made me want to go ride all of them immediately! Also there are really good checklists at the end of the chapters for summary, to further clarify any thoughts or confusions you may have had when reading the chapter.
Most importantly, as Patricia points out: “Keep things simple. Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” Reading this book made me feel so much more focused, and just gave a burst of positivity into my riding. If anyone is looking for a helpful book, full of really good advice that will make you think but also improve your riding, I wouldn’t hesitate even for a second to recommend this one! In fact, my copy of the book has gone to the yard to be shown to friends because of the chapters and exercises that I think would really help them too.
You can buy the book from The Dressage Tipster's website CLICK HERE