Book Review: A Good Seat: Three months at the Reitinstitut von Neindorff By Lynne Sprinsky Echols (Foreword by Walter Zettl)

***If you’ve been with me since the start of this blog in January 2020, you may recall reading that when I was the tender age of five, my Aunt introduced me to horses. It seems fitting that a review of my Aunt’s new book be featured as the first post of January 2022, the blog’s two-year anniversary month.***

“A Good Seat: Three Months at the Reitinstitut von Neindorff” is in equal measure memoir, travel diary and dressage handbook. Set in Germany in the early 2000’s, it is based on the American author’s journaling of her experience as a riding student at the Reitinstitut von Neindorff. Many dressage riders dream of studying in Europe. Few get to realize their ambitions as did the author.

“It was not without trepidation that I packed my bags for Karlsruhe. Herr von Neindorff’s reputation as a stickler and a perfectionist was well known to me. However, it was precisely that unwavering insistence on correctness in the rider and consideration for the horse’s nature that drew me there. And those qualities were certainly abundantly in evidence during my stay, although there were some big surprises along the way . . . as you will see.”

– Lynne Sprinsky Echols

All events take place before the rise of the Smartphone, Facebook or Instagram. The writer details the charm of living in a German town, and studying riding, while using the devices of the time to keep in touch with family and friends back home. In this way, the book acts as an interesting time capsule.

While technology has changed in the last twenty years, the principals of effective riding have not. Readers will ride along with the author as she tries to master her then fifty-something body during her improvement quest.

Modern day riders will find nuggets of equestrian wisdom weaved throughout the tales of daily living in Europe. “A Good Seat” emphasizes how important a rider’s own self-carriage is to the horse’s way of going.

“Remember, we want a steady “zzzzzzzzzt” connection, as though our seat bones were the metal prongs of an electric plug and we were plugged into the saddle. This is achieved by slightly toning the abdominal muscles. If the pelvis were a bowl full of water, water would trickle out the back. This is not an extreme tucking-under of the pelvis, which constitutes a forceful driving aid. Instead, it is so subtle that it is almost more of an “attitude” than a physical manifestation.”

– Lynne Sprinsky Echols

Ideas from the book such as how to rotate one’s hips for better leg alignment, how to stabilize the pelvis and how to use the shoulders as part of the seat aid can all be put to immediate use during the reader’s next ride.

Through absorbing the writer’s journey, “A Good Seat” readers will find inspiration to better their skills in the saddle and pursue their own riding dreams.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy, please contact the author, Lynne Sprinsky Echols, directly.
Use email: lynneechols50@gmail.com
OR
Private message via her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RiderSeatMD/.
Email or PM her on Facebook with (1) the email address you use for PayPal and (2) your mailing address. She can then send you an invoice via PayPal where you can purchase the book with one click. The book is $27.95 plus shipping via Media Mail (USA only).

On a personal note, I want to say congratulations to my Auntie Lynne for publishing “A Good Seat”! It’s been a long road for her, and I admire her tenacity in “gettin’ ‘er done.” Just as I followed my Aunt into the saddle so many years ago, I hope one day to follow her into the self-publishing world too. Cheers to mastering a good seat and crafting a good book!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Good Seat: Three months at the Reitinstitut von Neindorff By Lynne Sprinsky Echols (Foreword by Walter Zettl)

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