John Richard Young: The Key to the Horse’s Mouth is Hidden in the Rider’s Hands

(© John Richard Young. Article first published June 10, 1991, Arabian Horse Express. Thank you to Yvonne Welz at https://www.thehorseshoof.com for this article via her John Richard Young archives. Painting, detail, Anbetung der Heiligen Drei Könige, Gentile da Fabriano (1370-1427 ).

One of the most skilled horsemen I have ever known schooled every horse that passed through his hands in a double bridle from the very first lesson under saddle. It made no difference whether he was starting a green colt or reforming a spoiled horse, or what the horse’s ultimate specialty was to be. He started and finished the training in a Weymouth bridle.

View Post

Tressa Boulden-Linsley: In Tribute to Melissa Simms 11-19-52 – 2-14-18

(© Tressa Boulden-Linsley 2018. After meeting Melissa Simms in 1996, a pure form of classical dressage resonated with Tressa Boulden and especially her horses. From that time Melissa became Tressa’s mentor and a continual source of inspiration. At the point of Melissa’s recent passing, Tressa had studied with her over the course of more than 20 years. Here is Tressa’s tribute to her late teacher. Photographs Courtesy of Melissa Simms and Tressa Boulden-Linsley.)

On February 14, 2018 the equestrian world lost another “Keeper of the Grail” of classical horsemanship, Melissa Laura Simms. Heiress of Riding Master Herr Egon von Neindorff, Director of Training of his Reitinstitut for over 24 years, and English translator of his German book “The Art Of Classical Horsemanship”, Melissa passed away in Carlsbad, California after battling cancer for a good portion of a year.

View Post

Conversations with Kim Walnes: On Talking with Horses

(© Kim Walnes 2018. Photographs are captured from the documentary film Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team, directed by David Hoffman. NOTE FROM KIP MISTRAL: Please see details about the proposed new documentary film project about Kim’s remarkable career “The Mother Goose Project” on its Kickstarter campaign page. Only 15 days to go to successfully fund the campaign by Monday February 12, 2018! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/932529734/the-mother-goose-project-wrkg-title-for-film-stage)

Whenever I sit down to watch David Hoffman’s brilliant and still applicable documentary Riding for America: The Olympic Equestrian Team with other folks, I always have them pause the DVD at the point where we are beginning Phase A. In the YouTube clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgPuXg75ISk&feature=youtu.be ), it is the opening scene. I feel it’s essential for people watching to understand what is taking place when The Gray Goose dances during the countdown and I begin to talk to him as we cross the Start Line upon the word “Go!”.

View Post

The Pleasure of His Company: On the Rider’s Journey

(© 2108 Kip Mistral. All Rights Reserved.)

One soft spring morning long ago, air perfumed with the fragrant blossoms of our home’s citrus orchard, I stood with my back to the living room screen door I had left open as I concentrated on a phone conversation with my mother. Yes, I assured her; I had finished vacuuming the house and was now shaking rugs on the back porch. Suddenly, I felt warm breath on the back of my neck. I froze in fear—I knew I was alone in our house! Dropping the phone, I shrieked as I whipped around to face the intruder.

View Post

The War God’s Horse Song: I Stand For My Horse

(The Rainbow Trail by Woody Crumbo, 1912-1989)

I am the Turquoise Woman’s son.
On top of Belted Mountain,
Beautiful horse–slim like a weasel.
My horse has a hoof like striped agate;
His fetlock is like a fine eagle plume;
His legs are like quick lightning.
My horse’s body is like an eagle-plumed arrow;
My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud.
I put flexible goods on my horse’s back;
The Little Holy Wind blows through his hair.
His mane is made of short rainbows.
My horse’s ears are made of round corn.
My horse’s eyes are made of big stars.
My horse’s head is made of mixed waters–
From the holy waters–he never knows thirst.
My horse’s teeth are made of white shell.
The long rainbow is in his mouth for a bridle,
and with it I guide him.
When my horse neighs, different-colored horses follow.
When my horse neighs, different-colored sheep follow.
I am wealthy, because of him.
Before me peaceful,
Behind me peaceful,
Under me peaceful,
Over me peaceful,
All around me peaceful–
Peaceful voice when he neighs.
I am Everlasting and Peaceful.
I stand for my horse.

The War God’s Horse Song (Navajo)