The Academic Art of Riding

When in 2004 I found the book by Bent Branderup, it, or more it's subtitle "For the ambitious leisure rider", totally changed my approach to riding: suddenly it was thinkable even for me, an ordinary spare-time rider, to actually get near the lessons of the high school of riding!

Suddenly there was not solely the way over the traditional academies Vienna, Saumur, Jerez or Portugal, but from now on I could hope to learn some pieces like the best did for centuries myself . Beside my work and all the other duties, in my own limited speed, with the simple means I only had at my disposal! Thus it became for me the most valuable book of my lifetime!

The most important lessons I learned during the last years:

Horses don't show any pain if it is not sheer overwhelming! It would mean sure death for a flight animal to openly show the predators any vulnerabilities!
So we must search consciously everyday for the slightest signs of discomfort, as every time we notice, there will be considerable pain already!

If a horse doesn't understand a softly given aid, it absolutely won't help to give it harder!

The lessons are there for the horse and not the horse for the lessons! They shall make the horse fit in every aspect (psychic and bodily) and so enable it's use in the highest degree.

A very nice saying: Until the age of 6 he is the friend of your foe, after that he is your friend and from the age of 12 he will a horse for kings!”

See also "Research" here




Should I use the Full Potential of My Knabstrupper Horse?

Reading my account of the potential the Knabstrupper owns, one might be astonished that this horse is suitable for nearly everything (naturally only for home-use as a recreational horse as it is naturally not capable for high-end disciplines: he would never win a high-jumping show or a trotting race championship!).

If one owns such a diversely suitable horse, it naturally is very tempting to use it in every direction: one time as carriage puller, another time as show jumping horse, the next for a fox hunt with not to big barriers, next as dressage horse and again as a distance horse (so as a real multipurpose horse).

But in spite of all these theoretically possible kinds of usage, you should always keep in mind, that some of them might bring (sometimes nearly unrepairable!) disadvantages for the others with it.
Should somewhere along the road I might decide the ultimate aim for me will be dressage or even the academic art of riding, I might have to change my horse severely and might regret producing some mistakes hard to correct.

The biggest mistake is a hard hand or bit: any usage with relies on producing great push evocates a massive force of the hand on the Horse's mouth: I don't know of any show jumping or hunting rider who in his way of riding can direct his horse with his seat alone and without significant force in the mouth! Carriage driving creates massive forces on the mouth, too!

A soft and unmolested mouth will enable the rider to reach the desired lightness and comfort in dressage much more easy and earlier!

Even within the baroque types of riding there are (sometimes forever uncorrectible) mistakes:

There is nothing better to attract notice as the controlled rearing of one's horse; the solid built Knabstrupper makes it a fairly safe movement and it is quite easy to train (easiest to a stallion).

But during the last years it became increasingly clear to the riders of the academic art of riding that a horse trained to rear (today mostly called “Pesade”) will render it unable for the future to perform a “Levade”(at least a persistently good one). The rising even worsens the gallop and makes training for a school-halt much harder.

The problem partly arises and is aggravated through the name-switching of the lessons: The (good/deep) Levade derives from the word levieren, which means rising. Whereas the word Pesade derives from posing, originally meaning the deep set lowering of the hindquarter with the forefeet leaving the ground additionally

I think, we should never use the word “Pesade”, every reference to it in future should be simply as “Rearing” which clearly labels it as harmful.

Also, because the word "Levade" produces a totally incorrect inner picture, ich propose a "clean-cut" here, too: the substitution through the word "Posade" , because the inner picture of a lesson a rider has formed  influences the learning and performing of this movement very much. In my opinion this is hippologically the only clean solution, even if it will not be easy for several riders (as "Rising" sounds much mightier than "Setting"/"Posing"...) "

Art of Riding for Cross-Country

A special bonus for the recreational rider is the substantial rise of quality while riding cross-country in form of security-gain, comfort and calmness. A horse which doesn't react on the rider only from fear but is begged softly by his rider to cooperate as the academic art of riding teaches us, will in a case of emergency turn to it's rider trustfully for help and guidance and not give in to the possibly greater fear of other things than the the rider's violence and run away.

A turnable, schooled horse allows the closing of gates from the saddle, is very comfortable to sit, and its “durability” is far higher due to the enormous safety in footing as result of putting more and more weight on the hind legs.

Should in an emergency the necessity arise to overcome a barrier, a high schooled horse has got much more power and precision in the hind legs to perform a jump providedit is not to high or wide for its shape and educational stage.