I am a lifelong horsewoman who found an avocation in exploring classical equestrian traditions through research, writing and publishing. I hold an MA in English, taught composition and technical writing at the college level, and worked as a technical writer in the software industry for almost 15 years. My “avocational” projects have included over 100 published articles, editorship of an equestrian magazine, co-authoring a bestselling training manual, and blogging here on the website.
My powerfully formative influences in my young years were my city’s very beautiful public library and museum of art, located next to each other. The library seemed vast, with its high ceiling, massive windows, multiple floors, and highly polished floors. It was kept so quiet by the eagle-eyed and rather cranky librarians that you could hear your heart beat. I was told this quiet was maintaining to respect the concentration of those browsing books, researching or studying. I found the sacred respect for scholarship very uplifting. The librarians always knew everything, and they could help you find anything. You were in good hands, albeit cranky ones.
In the museum, equally silent essentially for the same reason, a person could wander the rooms of examples of human creativity of all kinds, carefully curated by the museum’s highly educated director, and be escorted by docents who interpreted the works. It was another place to find inspiration, and another place to be in good hands.
Looking back at the importance of those institutions, in term of this website I like to think of myself as part historian, part philosopher, part librarian and part museum director and docent.
What draws me toward classical equitation, where correct training and riding were codified across Europe for hundreds of years using methods that have stood the test of time? I love studying and contemplating the tangibles and intangibles of the legacy of the old Masters who dedicated their lives to a passionate study of horses and elegant riding that puts the beauty, intelligence and nobility of those horses on display. I see this perspective as being ideal, a standard of perfection, beauty or excellence, as opposed to idealized, viewed as being glamorized, glorified, romanticized, not realistic, out of reach.
With my work, I hope to inspire interest on the part of modern riders in this classically-informed approach which is the most nourishing foundation for horses and riders of any discipline.
My “Spanish gentleman,” Valentín, has been my equine inspiration in my “rider’s journey” for the last 19 years.
The horse is not the way out, it is the way in.
~ Joseph Berto