Jim Reilly on “The Elements of Synergistic Riding” (Mechanics of Lightness)

(© Jim Reilly 2007. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Artist Carle Vernet, 19th century lithograph by G. Engelmann, 18 Rue Cassette in Paris)

Our horses will do everything for us when we show them through the correct aids, given at the right moment. The best aids will not be successful if they are not given at the right moment. ~ Walter Zettl

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Manolo Mendez on “The Importance of Riding the Whole Horse: Supple and Tension Free”

(© 2011 Manolo Mendez Dressage. “The Importance of Riding the Whole Horse: Supple and Tension Free” by Manolo Mendez with Caroline Larrouilh. First published in The Baroque Horse. All photos by Kate Barber, artistic rendering of feature photo by Danielle Skerman).

“Bring the back up, bring the back up!!!”“Drive the hind leg under, more, more, MORE!” and “Make him more round, rounder” appears to be considered by a lot of riders to be the three keys to dressage. To achieve these goals they are taught to put the horse in a frame by pulling on the outside rein while kicking with the inside leg, often while keeping the horse in endless shoulder fore or shoulder-in. Instead of a flexible, supple and tension free horse, this approach creates stiff and crooked horses, with little enjoyment for their work, and eventually leads to soundness issues.

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Horses at Work: What would we have done without them? International Day of the Horse – April 10, 2018

Where would we be without the generosity, courage, and friendship (and sacrifice) of the horse?

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Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie Takes Us On An Afternoon Ride Around Château Versailles

(© Kip Mistral 2018. All rights reserved.)

Bienvenue, welcome to Château Versailles! I am Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, Duchesse de Bourgogne, wife of Louis, Duc de France (and the adoring mother of a handsome little boy who will be the future King Louis XV!). It is such a lovely afternoon that we are gathering to ride a promenade around the Château. Our horses will be brought up to the Cour Royale (courtyard) in a moment. As always I will ride my beautiful white Spanish mare, La Colombe. She is sweet and soft like the dove for which she is named. Since you’re here, you must join us!

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Herman Melville: the Noble Truck-Horses at the Quay

(© Herman Melville, Redburn: His First Voyage (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976), pp 271-2. Photograph: Roadway and quay at Regent Quay West, Aberdeen, Scotland. More information at bottom of post.) 

“Among all the sights of the docks, the noble truck-horses are not the least striking to a stranger. They are large and powerful brutes, with such sleek and glossy coats, that they look as if brushed and put on by a valet every morning. They march with a slow and stately step, lifting their ponderous hoofs like royal Siam elephants.

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