Paul Belasik: Why are Fundamental Problems Persisting in Modern Dressage? (Part I of II)

Paul Belasik: Why are Fundamental Problems Persisting in Modern Dressage? (Part I of II)

(© Paul Belasik 2017. First published in www.horsemagazine.com. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Photographs courtesy of Paul Belasik.)

After working with, and observing the work of so many up-and-coming modern riders, it is perplexing to see that there are still so many fundamental faults in the performances. At first I thought it was endemic to a particular national style that had proliferated through the exaggerated effect of certain teachers. Although this may not have been the case initially, I believe these problems are now universal among many modern dressage riders, regardless of country. I have chosen three areas of concern that, if addressed, could make a huge difference in the overall performance of dressage. In this series of articles, I will discuss 1. bend, 2. hollowness, and 3. the inattention to deviations in limb patterns.

View Post

Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part III of III) Introducing the Canter Pirouette

Manolo Mendez on Pirouette (Part III of III) Introducing the Canter Pirouette

(© Manolo Mendez and Caroline Larrouilh. First published Baroque Horse Magazine, 2013. Image Courtesy Manolo Mendez Dressage.)

The canter pirouette is a high level movement, a very difficult exercise that requires balance, suspension, suppleness, listening and collection from the horse. To have a good canter pirouette, we must have a good…canter.

We must have a pure three-beat canter and be able to collect and lengthen the horse’s body without struggle. We must be able to go from gallop to medium to collected, to very collected canter and out again without the horse losing power, balance or willingness.

Defining the correct canter pirouette

In the canter pirouette, the horse has to bend through his entire body and spine in the direction of travel for six to eight strides. He has to turn on a small diameter circle and his inside hind leg has to act as a pivot, lifting and dropping in the same hoof print with every stride. His outside hind leg has to travel on a bigger diameter circle around the inside hind leg.

View Post

Sylvia Loch on the Iberian Horse: Generous Beyond Belief

Sylvia Loch on the Iberian Horse: Generous Beyond Belief

(© Kip Mistral. First published in the Spring 2004 issue of Horse of Kings magazine, and in May 2008 in the Equine Journal. Photograph of Sylvia and her beloved Lusitano stallion Prazer, courtesy of Sylvia Loch.)

“The Lusitanos have taught me everything,” exclaims Sylvia Loch warmly, when asked what she has to say about the Iberian horse. Being an internationally-recognized classical rider, trainer, and judge and internationally published author of numerous books and videos on classical riding, she is considered an authority in matters of the Iberian horse and particularly of the Lusitano from Portugal. And the glow in her voice emanates not just from her knowledge but from the depth of her love for these fine horses that she just cannot live without…

View Post

John Richard Young: Shoulder-in technique requires time, attention

John Richard Young: Shoulder-in technique requires time, attention

(© John Richard Young. First published in Arabian Horse Express September 1990. Thanks to Yvonne Welz and her archives at www.thehorseshoof.com. Image of François Robichon de La Guérinière and student, “L’Epaule en Dedans” (Shoulder-in) by Charles Parrocel.)

Last month I expressed my negative opinion of the shoulder-in as an efficient schooling exercise, particularly when attempted by the average, semi-skilled rider. I gave reasons for my opinion and quoted other horsemen who agree with me.

However, I do not expect everybody else to agree with me, nor would I presume to force my views on those who prefer to think differently. I would rather help them, if I can, in pursuing the way they wish to go with their horses. Therefore, the following remarks about the shoulder-in are addressed to fledgling trainers who, for whatever reasons, elect to follow in the footsteps of tradition regardless of what I think.

View Post

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

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