To Become a Great Rider, You Must First Become the Horse

To Become a Great Rider, You Must First Become the Horse

(Horsewoman with a Red Horse, Marc Chagall)

“To write a great book, you must first become the book.” ~ Naval Ravikant

When I read this quote this morning, immediately my horse-loving mind turned it around into something about the horse, because really, what Ravikant said is true of anything.  So this is a great thought, to me…”To become a great rider, you must first become the horse.”

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The Lively Equestrian Art of Eugène-Louis Lami

The Lively Equestrian Art of Eugène-Louis Lami

[© 2021 Kip Mistral. Eugène-Louis Lami (1800-1890) “Un Manège”: gouache, 1878] 

Since it first floated by me, I have loved this charming painting of riders and noise-desensitizing helpers carrying on in a small manège somewhere in time. The drummer is taking a rest, the trainer is comforting his horse in the pillars. A young couple are managing to court in the middle of it all as the amazones and cavaliers continue their tight circles together on their supercharged horses. I had the brilliant idea of doing a reverse image search for it, and found one instance of it on the entire internet. Yet that was enough to find the artist’s name and further search unexpectedly unlocked a whole treasure trove of equestrian art.

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Language, Literacy and Other Ideals…

Language, Literacy and Other Ideals…
I was reviewing my website analytics and wanted to remark on a trend that I know is growing in internet usage…that is, people are using their mobile devices more (it’s now predominant), and their tablets and desktops less. I thought it might be a good idea to point out that my website, though fully internet-optimized, is purposefully image-rich and contains longer, more expository types of post than the more typical “How to do something 5 different ways” post. It is not really meant to be accessed from a mobile phone, in the same way that you can’t drive by a physical library or museum and think you’ve seen them. You actually have to park your vehicle and walk into the library or museum and spend some time there looking around, to say you’ve visited the institution or seen an exhibit or attended a lecture or a reading.

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UNCUT: The Vanishing Point of the Eighth Art; 2005 Interview with Michel Henriquet

UNCUT: The Vanishing Point of the Eighth Art; 2005 Interview with Michel Henriquet

[© 2020 Kip Mistral. I recorded this uncut interview with Michel Henriquet at his estate, Fief de la Panetière, Autoillet, France, Sunday, February 27, 2005. The internationally well-received article “The Vanishing Point of Lightness” I wrote based on this interview and was first published in the Equine Journal, reprinted in L’Annee Hippique and multiple other publications. Photo courtesy of Catherine Henriquet.]

“Marvellous animal, the horse deserves of his rider the understanding of his character and potential. The art of riding is the school of surrender and humility. Its practice, if well executed, makes of the human a greater being.” Nuno Oliveira

Is there a “glass ceiling,” an intangible barrier, for classical equitation, the fine art of riding?

Master Oliveira considered that it was impossible to reconcile the classical equitation, meaning the equitation of the School of Versailles, with the modern dressage.

And I think the same thing.

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François Robichon de La Guérinière – An Insightful Analysis of “L’Ecole de Cavalerie”

François Robichon de La Guérinière – An Insightful Analysis of “L’Ecole de Cavalerie”

(Camins, Laura. “The Art of Equitation.” Glorious Horsemen: Equestrian Art in Europe, 1500 to 1800. Exhibition catalog published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA, 1981. P. 44-45. Excerpt published with the permission of the Springfield Museums.) [Images added here did not accompany the original text. Feature image of La Guérinière by Louis Toque, circa 1750.]

With the accession of Louis XV to the French throne in 1715, François Robichon de La Guérinière was named Ecuyer Ordinaire by royal appointment, and founded a new academy for riding in Paris near the Palais de Luxembourg. In 1730, under the patronage of Charles de Lorraine, Comte d’Armagnac and Grand Ecuyer du Roi, La Guérinière moved his entire operation to the old Manège Royal of the Tuileries. The school in Paris thus coexisted with the Grand Ecurie du Roi at Versailles, directed by Louis Cazeau de Nestier from 1734. It was La Guérinière, however, who was the greatest innovator of the eighteenth century. Although [The Duke of] Newcastle’s teachings at first were generously received upon his return to England, as representing a new perfection of riding technique, they did not really develop in France. La Guérinière is thus the true heir to [Solomon] La Broue and [Antoine de] Pluvinel. His work represents the ultimate refinement of a technique.

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