There are many books and DVDs devoted to the technical training of horse and rider—how to perform movements correctly, clear obstacles, communicate efficiently, and in other ways attain the idealized image of an athletic partnership that results in competitive success. But this book is different: its focus is how the rider and trainer can make it easier for the horse to perform optimally. This includes understanding reasonable expectations for a particular horse at a certain level of schooling and fitness (including strength and conditioning), as well as how injuries develop due to the interaction between internal and external factors, such as genetics, conformation, management, and training.
Relying on her veterinary background, in-depth research, and dozens of interviews with top riders and trainers from around the world—including Beezie Madden, Kyra Kyrklund, Carl Hester, and Pippa Funnell, to name just a few—Lönnell provides guidelines for nurturing a happy, healthy equine athlete. With special focus on conscientious pacing when building the horse's physical capability over time, diversification of schooling practices, detail-oriented management and care, and putting the horse's needs above competitive ambition, readers are given a solid grasp of what it takes to truly reach the pinnacle of equestrian sport—and remain there—on a consistent basis. Throughout, gorgeous color photographs of world-class horses and the people who work with them visually demonstrate the success of these methods.