Paul Belasik: “The Grand Silence”

(© Paul Belasik, from “The Songs of Horses,” first published 1999. Reprinted with permission of the author and The Crowood Press. “Louis XV hunting deer in the forest of Saint Germain” by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. This story was inspired by the 18th century écuyer to King Louis XV, Louis Cazeau de Nestier, also called The Grand Silence. It is said that the rider on the grey horse on the left side of this painting is Nestier.)

Somewhere in the countryside near Paris, 1735…

It is ironic to say that I had heard of his great horsemanship, since he was known as the Grand Silence. I had seen him hunting near Paris, where I once had lived. I have to say that I thought of him then more as the Great Arrogance or the Great Pomposity. It was through the following twist of fate that I met him.

View Post

News! Official Author at Equus Film Festival Los Angeles Tour Stop in June!

The director of the Equus Film Festival, Lisa Diersen, and organizer of the Equus Film Festival Los Angeles Tour Stop 2018, Naomi Boinus, have been so kind as to invite me to the Los Angeles Tour Stop (June 15-17 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center) as the “Official Author”. This is an surprise and a real honor. I will have a table, so if you will be in Los Angeles that weekend, come on by! This will be great fun and I’m really looking forward to it!

View Post

John Keats: “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”

(© John Keats (1795-1821), “La Belle Dame Sans Merci, 1818, 1821. Painting “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by Sir Frank Dicksee (1853-1928))

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

View Post

John Richard Young: “The One-Sided Horse: Riders Make More One-Sided Horses Than Nature Does”

(© John Richard Young, “The One-Sided Horse” first published in Arabian Horse Express, January 1992.)

A reader of this column writes: “How come you have never mentioned horses that have one-sided mouths, horses that just won’t take an even feel of the bit on both reins? They give easily to the rein on one side, but stiffly resist the opposite rein. They move forward with their necks more or less curved to one side, always the same side, and their heads slightly tilted so that their ears are not on the same level. What makes a horse move this way? What can be done to correct such a horse, beyond riding with the reins completely slack?”

View Post

“A Good Seat: Three Months at The Riding Institute von Neindorff” by Lynne Sprinsky Echols, Part I in a Series

(@ 2003-2018 Lynne Sprinsky Echols. This excerpt from Chapter One is used with the author’s permission and and the entirety will be posted in a series. The author describes in fascinating detail the three months that, along with her friend Meredith, she spent in intensive training with Herr Egon von Neindorff at his world-renowned riding school in Karlsruhe, Germany…in search of “a good seat”. Feature image “The Imperial Riding School” (1702) by Johann Georg Hamilton.)

Saturday, February 1, 2003

We arrived in Karlsruhe at almost midnight yesterday. We’d been up for 48 hours straight and were cold, tired and hungry by the time we finally got to bed. The trip did not go smoothly – and that’s an understatement!

View Post