We asked UK-based EN reader Elisa Faima to review Mary King’s new book, My Way. Elisa, based in Surrey, has been riding and working with horses for nearly 30 years. She has been a competition groom and worked in the equine retail sector, and she currently works in equine insurance. She has one horse, Otahuna (Otto), a 20-year-old ex-racehorse.
Mary King’s book, My Way, is very bright, colourful and inviting to read. Starting with an introduction to Mary and Emily’s horses, the book then goes on to talk about what Mary looks for in the perfect event horse. Mary does explain that sometimes there is an exception to the rule, and a not so perfect horse can still be a champion. For example King William, her Badminton winning and Olympic medallist horse, actually had very poor lower leg conformation.
Next, the stable management chapter explains how Mary runs her yard, and there are so many handy extra tips down the side of each page. This theme continues throughout the book; many are very simple straight forward ideas, but are not always things you would necessary think of. One that I liked and is very obvious when you think about it, is having one area outside your lorry to wash the horse down after competing, and then a dry area to tack up, so you’re not standing in a wet muddy patch.
The chapters about the three disciplines in eventing have their own section. Each one gives you guidance and exercises on how to prepare your horse at home, as well as at the event. Each exercise has a written description, which then has diagrams to help explain how to set up the exercise. At the front of the book there is a useful page that gives you distances between poles and fences. The cross country section also has information on how to look after your horse once you have finished this phase.
The final pages are about Mary’s keys to success, breaking it down to 10 areas to think about; everything from patience and calmness, to choosing the right horse. I really enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to anyone, from newbies thinking of taking up eventing, to keen eventers who might like some new tips and ideas. A great book to help you prepare for next year’s eventing season.
Find out more about the book and order your own copy at this link:Mary King: My Way.