“The Horse Rampant” by Captain James Joseph Pearce (1947) and The Comprehensive Nature of Traditional Horse Training

“The Horse Rampant” by Captain James Joseph Pearce (1947) and The Comprehensive Nature of Traditional Horse Training

(“THE HORSE RAMPANT: How to Learn to Train and Ride, A New and Simple Method for the Education and Training of Horses and Riders” by Captain James J. Pearce, Formerly Equitation Instructor: Cavalry School and Weedon School of Equitation. London, Robert Hale Limited, 1947)

Rampant: rearing upon the hind legs with forelegs extended.

When I first saw the title of this book, immediately my curiosity was engaged. The cover image of the rider raising his horse in levade suggested that the reader would learn advanced training methodology. However, the subtitle (A New and Simple Method for the Education and Training) confused the issue for me, since learning to ride and train a levade is anything but simple.  My curiosity was amply rewarded when the battered old book arrived and I read the author’s Preface. It alone was a real eye opener for me.

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“Oliveira Shows His Art of Riding: An Insight into Training Methods” Horse and Hound 1987

“Oliveira Shows His Art of Riding: An Insight into Training Methods” Horse and Hound 1987

[“Oliveira Shows His Art of Riding,” by Elizabeth Polling, Horse and Hound, November 1987.]

SEVEN HUNDRED enthusiasts drawn from all walks of the equestrian world gave a standing ovation to Nuno Oliveira following a day of equestrian artistry at New Hall Riding Centre near Chelmsford, Essex.

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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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La Guérinière’s Square and Doubling Exercises

La Guérinière’s Square and Doubling Exercises

I was taught this riding-a-square exercise on my young horse at the walk 30 years ago by the assistant instructor of Roy Yates, student of Charles O. Williamson, author of the classic book “Breaking and Training the Stock Horse (and Teaching Basic Principles of Dressage)”. For more information about this lineage please see https://www.kipmistral.com/charles-owen-williamson-on-collection-from-range-bred-broncs-to-high-school-dressage/

In these days I had no idea that the exercise was connected to the French classical masters and ultimately to the work of François Robichon de La Guérinière. Nevertheless I was impressed at the time and have been impressed since that horses seem to immediately enjoy this exercise that is quiet at the walk, and gives them a chance to refine their focus to the aids, learning to smoothly turn the shoulders and cross over to the inside, and become more precise in their movements. It is…

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UNCUT: “Up in Heaven” — The Full Interview with Walter Zettl

UNCUT: “Up in Heaven” — The Full Interview with Walter Zettl

(© Kip Mistral 2007. Photo credits unknown.)

[NOTE from KM: Sometimes when I interview subjects, they can be more direct than the publication’s audience at the time might be ready for, so in the past I have erred on the side of caution and eliminated certain content from the final article. However, those honest remarks are the parts I like the best. I asked the charming and gracious Walter Zettl if he wanted to censor any part of our interviews and he said, “No, I’m old…they can think what they want.” So in that spirit, I publish here for your enjoyment the uncut transcription of my recorded interviews, over a weekend clinic here in Tucson years ago. I leave undisturbed the syntax of his speech.]

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