Book Review: Perfect Practice by Mary Corning Article by Wendy Hensley Everything about Mary Corning’s book is different. From the feel of the velvety cover to the inspirational way she uses horses to transform pain into life lessons, when you crack open the spine of this book, you’ll find a world of difference that can transform your personal life and your horsemanship life as well. I had the pleasure of talking with Corning prior to her book launch and she shared with me a bit about her book, her journey, and her inspiration for this new adventure. Corning didn’t necessarily have the easiest start in life and at one point, she was headed down a destructive path. She bought a horse and although she knew nothing about horses, knew she wanted to ride. The horse ended up bucking her off and a trainer at the boarding facility she was at suggested she attend an upcoming Ray Hunt clinic. That was in the 1980s and she credits that clinic and others she attended as the switch that changed her life. These clinics started her lifelong journey of horsewomanship and lifemanship. When Mary talks about Ray she has reverence in her voice. “Ray had such power. He had such wisdom.” she said. Throughout her book, Ray’s teachings surface both in reference to horses and humans. She learned through her work with horses that connecting pain to knowledge was key to progress in her life and in her horsewomanship. “Don’t let pain operate behind the scenes,” she said. “Pain goes dormant but it still operates underneath.” Acceptance brings change and that’s the key to Corning’s book. Using foundation horsemanship as the groundwork for her book, she shares how the lessons she’s learned in working with horses have helped her move forward in other areas of her life. But Perfect Practice isn’t about being perfect. It’s about what you practice and being focused on what you do all the time. “The work is within,” she said. “You have to become aware of what you practice.” Hunt said: “I’ll never be perfect, but I won’t settle for anything less.” This philosophy is the underpinning of Corning’s work: learning from mistakes and building on successes. 26 | www.NWRiderMagazine.com
There are many themes running through Corning’s book. She writes about the importance of being dedicated rather than feeling obligated; dedication is positive and life-enhancing, whereas obligation is a negative feeling. Her other messages include observing personal patterns in order to heal; working from success to success by consciously correcting small problems as they occur; and abandoning the judgmental concepts of right and wrong. Finally, Corning counsels readers to educate themselves about their lives in order to learn from their experiences. And she wisely encourages self-care, believing that in order to care for others, we must first care for ourselves. Perfect Practice offers a simple philosophy for living that reunites us with our own authenticity so we gain acceptance for ourselves and for others. This is an excellent book for horse lovers as it gives practical application to the lessons we all learn from our horses and applies them to our own personal lives. As a side note, the horses on the front cover of Corning’s book are in the book itself and through their stories, we learn much about the author, her journey and our own personal journey as well. If you’re looking for a book you’ll keep in your library for years to come, underline, highlight, and reference, then you won’t want to miss this wonderful book by Mary Corning. It launches June 10th and is available in most bookstores and on Amazon. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary S. Corning lives in Newberg, Oregon with her husband Magnus Bergroth. She changes lives by defining the transformative power of pain. As a mentor, speaker, consultant, and writer, she clearly and compassionately models this process through her messages and stories. Mary extends her philosophy into the world of horses, where both people and horses benefit from realizing a different way to interpret challenge.