Sherry Ackerman: Dressage in the Fourth Dimension-Transcendental Union: Contact, Relaxation, Rhythm

(Copyright © 2008 Sherry Ackerman. Published by New World Library. Used with permission of the author. Image by Anthony van Dyck, detail of Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso Francesco of Savoy-Carignano.)

Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you…Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. ~ Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan

Western social norms, so strongly influenced by the Puritan ethic, have traditionally offered a distorted view of sensuality and body communication. Nudity is regarded with suspicion, touching is associated with lust, and sharing sensual experience is considered inappropriate. In general, appreciation for the body has been considered pornographic. I recently entered some of my artwork in a gallery show. In an attempt to decide which pieces might find favor with the jury, I called the show organizer and asked some questions. I told her that I had a couple of “risky” new works that I would like to enter but was uncertain how the jury would receive them. She asked me what I meant by “risky,” and I told her they were abstracts with extremely bold colors and lines. “Oh,” she replied, “as long as they’re not nudes, I don’t think there will be any problems.”

View Post

John Richard Young: Too much circling in basic training is a common error

(© John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express, April 1990. Thanks to Yvonne Welz and her archives at Illustrations by Johann Elias Ridinger, “Trot on the line to the left” and “The School Trot on the line in the circle to the right”.)

A common error in basic training is riding a young, green horse too much in circles. Some western trainers in particular believe that “circling never hurt a horse.” But it can, if it is not interspersed with a lot of work on long, straight lines.

View Post

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 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