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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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What We Can Give…

What We Can Give…

(© 2021 Kip Mistral. Image by Langer Zugel 1930-1950)

Classical riding was and is an aristocratic pursuit, both literally and figuratively. Someone who understands this knows that we can’t add water and stir to make a schoolmaster horse…it takes many years of patient work and experience-building to create an equine artist, and some horses definitely are that. It is a journey for the horse as well as for us humans. Smart horses understand the importance of their education and they will employ what they learn for their own purposes. Horses are incredibly generous when treated with kindness, tact and appreciation. And love! And the more they learn, the more they can and will offer their rider. “Do you want this? This? Or this? I have all these things to give!”

Something classical is something so fabulous, that it never gets old. Beautiful riding happens when the horse can be proud and not tyrannized. It doesn’t matter what discipline it is. Now you’re talking classical!

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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This is a School for Princes

This is a School for Princes

Ferdinand II of Spain in a letter of May 23, 1498 to the Marquis of Mantua:

“To answer here what you asked me, that is to say, whether it is necessary that a well-trained horse should obey both the leg and the hand as if, without the repeated action of the hand or the leg, one could not direct all the operations decided by the Cavalier; while you have also seen horses evolve without any help with the firm legs of the rider which seemed immobile, and still others who guided their horse very well without the help of their legs.

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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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