Have you ever wanted to do something that seemed impossible? Claire Alldritt did. She left her home in the east of Scotland and set out on a journey to the west coast with two horses. From East to West by Saddle is Best is a story of exploration, trust and resilience mixed with insightful glances into the history of the land passed through.
Our book of the month for February is 'From East to West by Saddle is Best: A horseback journey across the Scottish Highlands' by Claire Alldritt. Horsemanship Journal book reviewer Rebecca Dorman share's her thoughts on this wonderful book.
I was interested in reading this book as I wanted to hear about the adventure of riding horses over a long distance and what would be involved. I enjoy hacking out with my pony, but not sure I would ever be brave enough to do this solo.
As this author opens her past to us and shares her story there are as many heart-breaking moments as there are heart-warming ones. I cried, I laughed and shared in the joys of many small wars battled and won. Anna is such a stong, brave and feisty woman full of grit and determination but with a heart as soft as butter when it comes to her ever-increasing family, as I journeyed through the chapters I sure gained more understanding of the title 'Stable Relation'.
Each family member was an animal that held a story of their own and it was such a delight to learn about their characters and histories. How they all came to be together and create their roles within this unique family was so beautiful. The dignity and all-knowing wisdom of horses, the dedication and fierce protectiveness of dogs, their examples are portrayed in these pages... and the antics of goats will always amuse me. Compassion for other living souls weaves a web throughout this story and it made me consider how much more humans could connect with other species if only we 'listened' more openly.
The story of Tik’s journey of discovery by being a working groom for different yards across Europe and the United States is a captivating read. He accounts honest recollections of his times good and bad working for some of the top riders in the world from all different disciplines. He sets out with the sole aim to learn from the best and discover what the meaning of horsemanship is, he works with; dressage riders, showjumpers, eventers, and of course, my favourite part was his time spent on a working ranch with Bruce.
Wow-what a title! I had mixed expectations of this book. On the one hand, it promised to be all things to all horses and an answer to all our prayers, but my sceptical side told me it couldn't be that good. It proved to be an excellent and thought-provoking read.
Following my interview with Tik back in the summer, I took the opportunity to take some ‘me’ time and delve deep into the story of Tik’s journey to becoming a true horseman.
What struck me from his writing is how it is no mean feat to be both self-aware, and observational with either humans or horses, but this is something that Tik was clearly committed to doing.
This book goes beyond the technical and shows how a solid foundation achieved through knowledge of the animal we are riding, coupled with a hunger to grow and learn. You may not directly be taught about distances or the best way to jump a parallel while riding, but you will learn so much about how to be better – and not just with horses.