The grail is found!

After four years of intense research I finally have found now the rider’s seat in the old academic art of riding:

(See update 15.Mai 2020)

New: Summary of my most important research results since 2016 on


Research Object Guérinière-Seat: Blog from mid 2016 ongoing


Since March 2016 I have used a slightly customized seat after Guérinière with some success. For this seat the rider's legs shall be held a bit forwards, "before the horse", and hold this place in most situations.
The rider's chin shall be held up and his thoracic spine pushed slightly forward, the shoulder-blades shall wander downwards a little without too much pressing  them together in the back, fairly like a 100m sprinter trying to tear the finish tape as the winner.

Guérinière's basic stance furthermore contains an upright, over the withers held left fist, in which the reins are led one-handed on a sole curb-bit, with the upper rein between 4th and 5th finger and the lower rein running around the little finger.  The  thumb's nail is on top, the little finger at the bottom.  The rein-fist stands nearly perpendicular, seen from the side as well as seen from the front, it is tilted ab. 10° to the left (supinated 10°) and this stance in riding straight forwards will be varied only minimally.

[CORRECTION 2020: At first I had thought, that the thumb always points to the front and lies parallel to the horse's spine column, but now I know that the thumb points 30° to 50° to the switch-side!].

For a bending to the left the switch will be held parallel to the right side of the hores's neck, to push the head to the left, for bending the horse to the right, the switch is held crosswise over the neck: both reinforce the outer, bending away from itself rein).

Sometimes the right rein has to be held by the right hand separately, the switch-hand is positioned lower than the rein-hand, otherwise both hands are kept on the same height and near to each other (Amendment: this only with a snaffle-curb!, see also Update 29.11.19!). To train this special seat-balance, I use the lowered switch-hand very often, even without leading the reins separately. Gueriniere's favorite curb bit was a "simple canon", a snaffle-curb with a broken bit, which allows leading s.t. with separate reins  to be far more exact than with an unbroken mouthpiece.

For collection Guérinière lifts the rein-fist, and for advancing he lowers it.    

My customization is, that for advancing I will push the PIP-joint (joint between proximal and medial phalanx) of the rein-fist's little finger forwards (which I call the "Pinky-Push") and by tilting this way the rein-fist backwards (as if you want to touch the middle of your forehead with an imaginary switch held perpendicular in the rein-fist): in extreme the rider then can see the base-phalanxes of the second to fourth fingers. The result is a radial (to the radius bone) kink of the wrist. In this occurs a strong tendon tightening over (radial) and under (ulnar) the wrist, reaching  up to the middle of the lower arm.

 For collection however I will pull the little finger backwards to my belly and by this tilt the fist to the opposite direction through this motion: in extreme, the rider cannot see the nail of his thumb anymore (as if you would touch your horse with your imaginary  perpendicular held switch in the rein-fist right between the ears). This results in an ulnar (to the ell = ulna) kink of the wrist. The movement in the carpal-joint is similar to the one of the lower hand on the single paddle in a canoe during backwards paddeling,the resulting tension in the rider's back-muscles are similar, too. This movement I call "Pinky-Pull".
In both cases the thumb will hold its place, building the rotating point.

The switch-hand is held on many of his pictures, too (supination is a palm held upwards [imagine eating soup out of your hand] ) (the opposite, holding the hand of the back upwards would be called “pronation”).
Only the supination (or at least upright-standing) of the rider's hands creates the necessary space for the rider's belly to come forward (pronated hands prevent this!): I call this "the belly before the horse".

A Pinky Push of the switch-hand is possible, too, but for that it has to give up the supination and use the upright position.

The gaining in advancing happens very spontaneous: even while pushing forward the little finger it is already starting, continually like one would take pressure off a steel-spring! But the collection happens so softly, that I always need two or three steps to fully register it.

Part A of the research  would initially consist in confirming the following impressions I get:

1. The advancing by the Pinky-Push is not due to bringing it's minimal weight to the forehand, rather it permits the rider's belly coming forward a little, reflexively resulting in a little pelvis-tilt forward.

2. The initiation of collection by the Pinky-Pull is mainly the result of the retraction of the rider's belly as a reflex on the pulling back of the little finger and the consecutive pelvis-tilt backwards.

3. Holding the switch hand in supination results in a little move backwards and a freeing of this side's shoulder, accompanied by an approaching of the rider's right upper-arm to his chest, restoring the equilibrium.

4. Pushing, with forwards held rider's legs, the forefeet down onto the stirrups lets the rider's heels rise up slightly and consecutively lightens the seat through taking the upper-legs' muscles away from the saddle, giving the horse's chest room to rotate freely (this must not be confused with simply pulling up the heels!).

Part B of the Research: If one or more of my assumptions in A will be confirmed by other riders, we would try to define the muscle-movement-chains of the rider's body triggered through these movements (here also orthopedics, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors probably could contribute  a lot):

 Possibly it could be described like this: „The Pinky-Push (tilting of the fist for advancing)  leads, via a tensioning of the ulnar hand-abductors to a tilt of the shoulderblade into the ribs, with a straigtening of the thoracic spine and by this a hyperlordosing of the lumbar spine, which results in a forward tilt of the rider's pelvis: with naming all the involved muscles, their movements and possibly their opponents, too.

 Or for the pronation of the rider's switch hand: „The blocking of the rider's right shoulder through a pronated switch-hand is the result of a tightening of muscle X, which leads to holding fast the shoulder-joint Y and because of that, over a tightening of the right side long muscle of the rider's back to a lifting of his pelvis on the right and with this to a pushing over to the right the rider's body above his pelvis.“

If enough riders will have tested the seat and agree to my assumptions in A, I would be glad to build a discussion platform for everyone willing to contribute to B.

Dr. Daniel Ahlwes, Schimmerwald, July 2016

P.S.: Caution: with legs held forward, you should not use your spurs there: they likely will hit the unprotected horse's elbow bone (very painful!)

Reasons for using  Guérinière's  Basic-Seat:

I agree to the opinion that sees the curb as a most valuable instrument. Also I think the one-handed leading of the curb reins is for most occasions the optimum (I use the two-handed leading only in special exceptional cases). My two-month test with an academic hackamore showed a similar result, so one has to assume that cavemore and even the one-handed led cavecon will be possible, too.

If, while using the single-handed rein-leading one doesn't want to work with only one dominant rein, which touches the horse's neck only on one side (as seen in the Marc Aurel statue) , but wants  both reins to act with equal pressure on the horse's neck, this presets the only possible position for the rein-hand in the middle above the withers : with  Guérinière for the straight or bent straight: perpendicular in the middle above the withers, the thumb pointing forwards,  being parallel to the withers' length.

As now the middle over the withers is occupied already, we have to live with the fact that symmetry for the rider's upper body is impossible: we can only try to find a compensation somehow. The stance of the rein-hand constitutes a minimal supination in the left hand: this effects the approaching of the left upper arm to the rider's chest, were it stays in a relative stable position. 

Supinating the switch-hand compensates this not only through freeing the right shoulder, but also by the approach of the right biceps muscle to the rider's chest, thus offsetting the effect of the left hand's supination: now the rider is sitting straight again (but not symmetrically!).

For turning the horse, the rein-fist will be tilted so, that the thumb (pointing as always to the front) wanders outside with the fist's base staying fast on the spot. The resulting minimal difference of pressure of the reins on the horse's neck results in a prompt and  finely tunable turning! To support the right bending Gueriniere positions the switch supinatedly across the horse's neck and the reins to the left side, pushing the horse to the right. In the left bending, the switch is held at a distance parallel to the horse's neck on it's right side,  pushing it's shoulder to the left. My future plan for self-education (under occasional, regular supervision with the high-value help for self-help by  Marius Schneider, MAAR) is to train at first Guérinière's basic seat for some more months with the goal of riding at least a third of the time of each riding unit in an approximately good basic seat. Only then I will try to approach the extended seat of Guérinière: Guérinière shows on many pictures another feature: to achieve a more pronounced right-bending of the horse's neck, he uses the little finger of the switch-hand to grab the right rein: so in effect he rides with separate reins! For this Guérinière holds the switch—hand held a fists-height deeper than the left and keeps all the above mentioned features of his basic seat: he “simply” adds the grab of the right little finger into the right rein, which now runs considerably lower now than the left. Doing that  the rider needs a very good command of the basic-seat and also of leading separately the snafflecurb-reins, as this very easily produces a hard and unbalanced force on each rein! If one calls his basic seat challenging already, reaching and holding for a certain time his extended seat deserves being called a little mastership, I would say! An intermediate effect is achieved by extending the rein-hand's little finger to the switch-side, pushing with it the rein more pronounced for bending.

Update August 2016:

Meanwhile I see the basic Guérinière Seat as a very reliable foundation of my riding seat, of which the most important pillars are my mostly forward held legs, the 10° supinated rein-hand and the 30-90° supinated switch-hand (the upright fist taken as the reference with 0°, from which up to 90° supination to one side and 90° pronation to the other side are possible). Sometimes still necessary bigger movements of the switch-hand can be leaned on these stable elements very precisely.

Most riders will have experienced frustrating situations through the non-reproduceabilty of certain effects on aids: if one, for example, leads the upper-arm of the switch-hand near the upper body, possibly a soft, prompt croupe-out to the opposite side is produced. Having performed this successfully 5 times, one is elated as seemingly a new aid is detected. Then sadly is doesn't work anymore over months !! The reason lies, I see now, at least to a big part in the way of placing the upper arm to the chest: in pronation it has a different, sometimes even the opposite effect than doing it in supination! Because of this I'm now trying to observe always which kind of rotation my lower arm is in: so the thrust of my switch, which I'm using as substitute for a sword/machete, at thistle-heads or bramble-twigs is getting a lot more precise and smoother in supination (like a forehand-hit in tennis or polo: in this movement the considerable capacity for outwards rotation in the shoulder joint enters the game,too!).Also toucheés to the horse's hind on both sides I perform now only with a supinated switch-hand: if ,on the bent side, I do this around my belly to the opposite side, it will work only in this way: would I try it in pronation, my whole spine would contort and tact and movement of the horse be disturbed heavily. This pronounced rotation of the upper body I use also as gymnasticication of my switch-hand shoulder, which comes forward more and easier (and as preparation for using an instrument on the "wrong" side, too!). One has to be careful, naturally, for the rein-hand not to leave it's place over the withers, which is not easy!

The last three sentences show, that I am also still inclined to the utility-riding! The Guérinière-seat meanwhile is pure "L'Art pour l'art". Here the nicest compliment might be, that Baron von Eisenberg (1748) sometime in the future could appreciate my style of riding like he did that of the riding master von Regenthal:" I have never seen a rider sitting more stiffly on his horse or using the advantages especially of the legs better than him! It was a real joy to see him ride,....!" (In the commentary to plate 37
here on page 76).


Update 2:

Gueriniere meanwhile was not as free in departing from the utility-riding as to abandon the right-hander-seat. Nowadays we are not so constrained anymore and allowed to use the left-hander seat, too,  with changing the rein- and the switch-hand.

With this change I can avoid the problems of grabbing the right rein with the right little finger (and thus avoid riding with separate reins), because with changing the reins to the right hand, its little finger becomes much more movable for bending the horse's neck to the right, and also the switch has not the limited range of being put across the horse's neck to the left, as it is used now fully parallel to the left side of the horse's neck to enhance the bending to the right.

This means, if we allow to change freely from right-hander to the left-hander seat on demand, it is possible to carry the switch on both hands on the outside of the horse, if necessary!

Update 15. September 2016:


Meanwhile I'm convinced that for riding one-handed this seat will become the new reference-seat in the academic art of riding, against which every other way will have to be measured.  Coarse, unprecise aids are discarded entirely, many aids are getting unvisible and the horse moves much more free and unconstrained: the horse's grace stays unperturbed!

Through the exactly defined basic-seat the beginner will advance much faster and the developed rider can lean at this structure changes/novelties with ease and evaluate their effects exactly.

Possibly we will reach the excellence of a Baron von Eisenberg or a Gueriniere soon and enable many more riders to execute beautiful schools in the air


Update 26.Sept.:

By applying the Pinky-Push (= pushing forward the PIP-joint of the little finger of the rein-fist) the advancing of the horse gets immensely easier (if need be in combination with a little use of the switch), so that the rider's legs can distance themselves from the horse's belly evermore and ever longer and over time the rider's heels can stay turned away from the horse for ever longer time spans. The latter leads to a turning away of the calves' muscles and to an even easier advancing of the horse (a turning of the calves' muscle towards the horse's belly now occurs only for very short times, when necessary).

Pulling up slightly the rider's heels additionally  leads to a stiffening of his ankle- and knee-joints  and through that to a constant distance from his balls of foot to his buttocks (the rider is standing a tiny bit in the stirrups, comaparably to "sitting" on a swivel stool).

By this a bumping into the saddle is avoided and in trot and canter a constantly comfortable seat is achieved, regardless of possibly stiff horse-gaits or possibly steep fetlock joints. A "wiping out" of the saddle doesn`t occur anymore and the rider always sits on the very same place in/on the saddle. The suspension in the rider is located now evenly in his minimally giving ankle-, knee- and hip-joints and spine-column.

Update 28. Sept. 2016: 

 Meanwhile  the similarities between the Gueriniere-seat, with it's supinated hands, and the Lotos-Seat in Yoga become apparent: The Lotos-Seat produces the best possible posture of the human spine-column for sitting for an extremely long time: The (here nearly maximal) supination of the hands leads to a retraction of the shoulders, an opening of the thorax to the front and through this to a physiologically correct position of the thoracic spine-column (kyphosis). The now correctly upright standing lumbar and thoracic parts of the  spine column allow the neck spine column the best position and so for the head to be held fatigue-free with an elevated chin.

Before my mostly pronated hands had led to a pulling-forward of my shoulders with a tightening of my chest, which produced an unphysiological kink of the throracic spine-column, a "bump" (hyperkyphosis), much like the undesired "false kink" in a horse's neck, and stopped here the swinging-through of my spine's movements: no wonder, that my head often wandered downwards: it didn't have a proper support by the badly placed spine column! My stance became a falling forward of my upper body, producing more weight on the forehand. Additionally this spine-column stance led to a tilting backwards of my pelvis, producing an unintended collection of the horse with a shortening of the stride of the hind-legs.

The Gueriniere-seat produces the opposite: through the slight supination of the rein-fist and the mostly even more supinated switch-hand the rider's shoulders retract, opening his chest and putting upright in a physiological way every part of the spine-column: one can hold his head upright fatigue-freely! The pelvis is put upright in a neutral way, producing neither collection nor advancing.

Update 19.Okt.2016:

Advancing now in big strides: after many years of stumbling around on the forehand, evry week now there is pronounced  advancement: if Paco has seemed to be reluctant  to move forward and had to be driven forward with my constantly tapping legs, now he and Picasso nearly always move forwards much more easily and in fresher tempo, only occasionally a slight use of the switch is necessary, when the Pinky-Push should not suffice. (Because of this retracting seat Picasso notably had developed the habit to start every canter in sort of a Demi-Courbette, from which I always had to push him forward into a proper field-canter!).

Now everything learned in the past is easily integrated and, for me also unbelievable: I'm able now to canter Paco on a saddle-pad without stirrups or reins, only with switch-steering and supinated hands  in the riding arena and on a circle canter calmly and evenly (hands-free, you could call it)!

For 10 days now I'm riding without spurs (for the first time ince 10 years!) and only now I notice, how much their use influenced negatively the rythm and the flowing movement of the horse.

To test the  instruction of Eisenberg for reaching a shoulder-in now I've added a cavecon to the curb again. Eisenberg pulls the inside Cavecon-rein (with loose hanging curb-reins) and by this brings the horse's head to the inside, then he pushes the inside rein to the outside of the withers (this way producing a "around itself bending rein"). If necessary, he uses the outside rein as a "from itself pushing away-rein", shoving neck and shoulders of the horse to the inside, if the seat aides alone are not sufficient. With supinated hands all this is astonishingly easy and precise to accomplish!

With  3:1 or 1:3 leading of the reins now the problem occurs that one has to decide: either to use the switch along the outside of the horse's neck, which makes the cavecon-rein on this side useless, or to use ths rein, which impairs the use of the switch.

The solution of this problem can be the use of the 4:0 or the 0:4 leading of the reins: with this the shoulder-in after Eisenberg is possible, too, and now the switch is fully operative additionally.

For straightening the horse in riding straight forwards cross-country a wonderfully supporting lesson!

25.10.16. Discovery of the day: Blockades of the Pinky-Push found:

In the rein-leading 1:3 or 3:1 it was recommended always to lead the single rein of the switch hand between 4.and 5. finger. Today it has occured to me, that this effects a retraction of the rider's belly, exactly the opposite of the desired result of the pinky-push! If you want to avoid this, you must let the single rein run around the 5.finger, too! ( I have mused for a while why  in english-riding (with its mostly recommended holding upright of the rein-fists) no one ever had found out about the pinky-push: now we have  the answer!).

The pinky push of the rein-hand also gets more difficult with 3 reins in hand: now one has to push forward pronouncedly the 4th finger, too, for a good effect.

26.Okt.16: Two more Pinky-Push-blockades found:

If  you hold the switch (Fleck Dressage-Switch) like I always did before, holding the lower olive within the fist, the Pinky-Push is severely impaired: one has to hold the switch at the shaft between the two olives.

Also holding the thumb pressed against the switch's shaft is contraproductive in the same degree: you may lay your thumb only on top of the cavecon-rein!

Result: The switch wobbles a bit more in your hand, as you hold it like you would a bunch of flowers, but the advancing by applying the Pinky-Push now equally with both hands makes it more equal and more effective (although the switch approaches the rider's middle of his forehead somewhat more!).

Update 04. Nov.2016:

Among the Art-of-Riding depictions in the stair-turret of Rosenborg castle (all shown in Bent Branderup's "Royal Danois")  we find at least three pictures with a pinky push of the switch-hand:

Passetemps in the Terre-a-Terre,

Fanfaron in the Ballotade,

Pompeux in the Capriole.

The strongest, you could say the "Pinky Push Maximus" is used by his rider to effect the capriole of Pompeux. (Regrettably I'm still not advanced enough, to test it myself!).

So there probably is more than only a little bit of truth to Bent's assumption, that the danish horses of that time to no small part have been desired so much in all the world, because their riders could present them with this extraordinary brilliance! 

5.11.16.: Insight of the Day:

Even Pluvinel held his switch nearly always in the "Bouqet-Grip" (as one would hold a bunch of flowers).

The opposite, the "Rod-Fisher's Grip" (thumb standing upright against the rod's shaft to stabilize the throwing-out of the fishing-line) we riders often use, too, for stabilizing the switch in our hand.

As I found out on Okt. 26. the rod fisher's grip blocks the Pinky Push massively. Today I noticed that one can increase the force of the Pinky Push considerably by righting up the thumb behind the switch and pressing the thumb against the switch (towards the rider) from behind! 

After that I tried again the rod fisher's grip and found out, that pressing the thumb now against the switch to the front (away from the rider), tilts the rider's pelvis back (supporting collection).

So the Rosenborg depiction of the stallion Recompence suggests an initiation of collection in this moment, possibly starting a walk-passage.

Also the levade of the stallion Mars is supported bis the rod-fisher's grip.

No wonder, that Paco in the beginning of canter always elvated himself Demi-Courbett-like (once he even jumped a Vienna-style courbette with me) and Picasso, too, always started a canter with a Demi-Courbette: Not only had I been sittting heavily on the forehand by my pronated hands, I even pressed my thumb forcefully to the switch in the rod-fisher's grip!

Depicting the rod-fisher's grip in the "Royal Danois": Svan, Mars, Imperator, Tyrk, Recompence.

Pinky-Push und Pinky-Pull: Biomechanical Relations

31.11.2016: Tips for Co-Researchers:

Those wanting to co-research the relations (the free I-Phone APP "Muskelapparat 3D Lite" is not bad) is better off understanding the following terms:

Abduktion: movement away from the body(-center),

Adduktion: movement towards the body(-center), as (in: Adverb)

antero- : towards the front,

retro-: towards the back,

carpi: belonging to the hand.

To fully understand the possible movements in the information of the IPhone-App one has to undertand the Neutral-Zero-Method (engl.Range of motion (or ROM)).

The Neutral-Zero-Method is used internationally to document impairments of joint moveability and describe them in degrees; the name refers to the reference model in which every joint has 0°.

Every deviation is noticed in plus- oder minus-degree numbers. If you look at the wikipedia picture, you will notice that the hands are depicted in full supination, despite the normal position is "along the trouser's seam". This unnatural reference-position is necessary to give the carpal-joint-movements an abduction and adduction.

(For the upright standing fist in the Gueriniere-Seat (basic position) the correct NN-description would be "-90° supination" or, seen from the other side,  "+90° pronation").

For us it it is much better to refer not to the NN-Refernce position, but to the normal position, which is the upright standing fist, from which a pronation of max. 90° to one side and a supination of max. 90° to the other sides are possibble, thus eliminating the use of minus degrees..

Example 1, rein-leading one-handed left: in riding a straight Straight without accelerating (rider's pelvis in mid-posture) the (left) rein-fist will be held in a supination of 10°, the (right) switch-hand in a supination of, say, 50°.

Example 2, rein-leading one-handed left: for advancing while riding a straight Straight with Pinky Push (rider's pelvis in forward tilt) both hands have to be held in 0° .

Example 3, rein-leading one-handed left: for turning the horse to the left, the rein-fist will attain for a few seconds a pronation of 80°.

At the moment I suspect the following relationships: the Pinky-Push is started by a radial kinking in the carpal joint (abduction of the hand) through the tightening of the radial hand-bending muscle and the radial hand-extension muscle  (musculus flexor carpi radialis und musculus extensor carpi radialis).

The desired masive conduction is reched by a strong tightening of their opponents: the ulnar hand-bending muscle and the  ulnar hand-extension muscle (musculus flexor carpi ulnaris und musculus extensor carpi ulnaris).

Through this reflectively a tensioning of the long head of the Triceps-muscle (M.triceps brachii) occurs, which leads to a forward-downward movement of the lower rim of the shoulderblade, which pushes ribcage and thoracic spine to the front.

The result is a flattening of the thoracic-spine's curve (>hypokyphosis), this in turn to a prounouncing of the rider's lumbar curve ( >hyperlordosis). This movement effects a tilting forward of the rider's pelvis which leads to an advancing of the horse.

(It is still unclear to me, if the m.subscapularis is involved or how the other relationships are.)

  The Pinky-Pull, the opposite movement with leading backwards the little finger to initiate the collection would lead then over the flattening the lumbar spine to the tilting back of the rider's pelvis. The reason for it's weaker impact might be that a retreating of the shoulder-blade produces much less force than a pushing forward into the ribs....

Update 22.12.16 and 04.02.17:

After successfully testing Eisenberg's way of inducing a shoulder-in and  including it sometimes in my aids repertoire, I tried next his way of croupe-in with an 80° angle to the wall: disappointingly this was not possible in a soft way and I had to give up this stressful project after 2 days.

  Reading up afterwards in Gueriniere's text, I found his sharp rebuke of this method, criticizing  hereby also  very good riders as Pluvinel,  Newcastle(S.234), Eisenberg (S.38) and Ridinger! So even for these grandes of the art of riding sometimes we have to realize: "Nobody is perfect!". (See also Branderup/Kern p.73 [where this critique is interpreted only regarding the counter-shoulder-in = shoulder-out]). 

I was lucky, that I (in reality more my horses) had recognized very early on, how dangerous and harmful this lesson might become!

   Since then I'm using mostly the croupe-out and have begun to use Gueriniere's much  stronger "croupe-au-mure", which he calls a leg-yielding with the horses's head bent into the direction of movement,  with an 80° angle to the wall. In the longer, younger Picasso this is produced more or less easily, but with the older, shorter, strong backed Paco it's considerably harder to achieve and maintain!     

This "angle to the wall we are moving along" could also be expressed as "the angle to the wall we are moving towards", which is 10°. This 10°-angle appears everywhere with Guerieniere: he uses it in the Traversale, in the Karree, the Demi-Volte and the Pirouette, too.

The most important sign for a successful, healthy croup-au-mure, besides the maintaining of the ever steady angle to the wall, is a beautiful arc of the outer front leg over the inner one, as this shows it is not on the shoulders.

Under no circumstances the inner front-leg should be permitted executing a wide, spectacular lunge step, as this brings the horse onto its shoulders and additionally often leads to a falling out of the hind, and thus to a falling apart of the horse. By this all the three most important goals of this lesson are missed: The higher erection of the forehand, the increased treading under of the hind legs and the preparation for a canter sideways in the same posture and angle.

After only 10 times I got the impression of a real improvement of the shoulder's lightness.

 Croupe-in along the wall I'm using only rarely now, and if, only with a distance of at least 1.5m to the wall, as de la Broue and Gueriniere just find acceptable (and only for exceptional horses).

Update 08.01.2017:

If the rider carries the Fleck Dressur Switch between the olives, a far too long protrusion of its end results; Gueriniere recommends the vanishing of the switch's end within the fist anyway. 

After changing to a natural switch today I noticed a possible blocking of the Pinky Push, which occurs when the switch ends centrally in the palm. If one wants to use the Pinky Push, the switch's end has to rest on the ground phalanx of the little finger!

28.Jan.2016:  400 years old confirmation discovered:

While browsing the La Broue today I discovered that he (apparently as the only one of the old masters) described a direct correlation between a drawn-in belly and rolled in shoulders: the seat should be: 
"pushing the belly a bit forwards to avoid a vaulting of the shoulders" ("L'estomac un peu avancé pour ne paroistre avoir les epaules voultees").

Update 05.02.17:

Meanwhile it's become clear to me, that the reason for supinating the switch hand is not only to let the rider's belly come forward a little: a profit occurs also through the neutralisation of the switch hand's thumb despite it is lying upright at the switches shaft,same as in the rod-fisher's grip: as in a supinated hand it can only press sideways, which doesn't have any effect on the position of the rider's belly. So nothing happens, if the rider gets rigid and presses his thumb against the switch!



The older people get, the more often a rounded back occurs. This means a hyperkyphosis (a rounded hump) of the upper part of the thoracic spine has formed . This spine deformation leads to a bending forward of the shoulders which are permanently rolled in and held forward, and thus producing more or less fixedly pulled up shoulder blades.

In this case the pinky-push doesn't come through or if, then only in a diminished way: so the rider must try actively to push his belly forward for tilting his pelvis forward, if he wants to accelerate his horse. Additionally he can hold his upper body somewhat backwards, to minimize somewhat the falling forward tendency of his head.



Holding his legs „before the horse“ seems to be equally important, too.

Though supinating his hands in this case doesn't bring a maximal effect, too, nevertheless a little and palpable effect occurs.

Every human constantly has to take care of his body posture and to correct himself at least 50 times a day: in sitting, walking, lying, at the desk, at the computer (vertical-mouse), driving a car,etc.

The German chancellor knows this, too: her Merkel-rhombus doesn't only give her a good standing, but is a little therapy, too.There are many websites showing very good exercises of Yoga, physiotherapy and breathing techniques to be found on the net.As two thirds of the patients don't feel pain through many year's, the suffering is not great:  maybe the wish for a good rider's seat might here work like a forehand-erecting curb?


Update 19.02.17:

Not only the nearly maximal supination of the switch-hand is neutralizing the pressing-thumb: the same importance has a strong extension of the index-finger along the switch-shaft : So I assume that the extensor- or the flexing-tendon of the index finger  blocks the upper-arm muscle, which pulls the lower rim of the shoulder-blade backward (leading to a tilting back of the rider's pelvis).

Knowing this, the rider gets an exquisite additional incentive to observe the correct holding of the hand.

In my case the croupe-au-mure to the left in the left-hander seat is especially hard: as most will do, I trained the Gueriniere-seat first in the right-hander seat, and only after some months in the left-hander seat, too, so the latter always remains a little weaker.

On top of that, Picasso's worse bending side is his left.

So here my seat is falling apart most easily and I get rigid which often causes the horse to go backwards in the croupe-au-mure. Here a pressing-thumb would disturb massively! Noticing this now, I will put the switch-hand so low that the experimentally sideways pressing of the thumb to the switch creates not the slightest muscle-tensioning in my back: then I will be able to correct the horse significantly better: a palpable lightening occurs!

Holding the switch-hand (now left) a fist's height lower and hooking in the left curb-rein to the little finger it acts now with a previously unknown lightness and precision and I'm able to lead this rein in the same easy, slightly hanging-through way as in riding one-handedly.

The same applies to the training of the 80°-sideways (see my commentary to Saunier on Fundstücke/Finds) on the carree on one hoof-beat at the turnarounds on the haunches in the corners, or at the demi-volte in the carree (volte inside the volte).

Update 02.03.17:

 New terms necessary!

If the rider uses a non-symmetrical seat and also intermittently wants to change the way of seating, the terms "right" and "left" loose their definite meaning, at least if one doesn't want always have to add: "in the left-hander seat" or "in the right-hander seat". 

Therefore now I am using the following definite terms:


  • the "switch-hand" or " the "rein-hand";

  •  for the direction of riding in a manege: "riding on the rein-hand" / "riding on the switch-hand";

  •  for the reins: „switch-hand-rein" (also: "switch-rein") / "rein-hand-rein";

  •  for the type of bending: "bent to the switch-hand" (with the switch held crosswise over the mane) / "bent to the rein-hand", also: "bent away from the switch-hand", both with the switch parallel to the horse's neck.


Saunier's hand-positioning deviates a little from Gueriniere's, the description thus would be:

  • Is the horse bent to the switch-side, the switch-hand always is kept lower then the rein-hand, to be able to grab the rein with the little finger should the need occur.

  • Is the horse bent to the rein-hand, the rein-hand is the one kept lower.

  • While riding a straight Straight without any bending, both hands are kept on the same height, near to each other.

Interim-Report 02.March 2017:


One year has gone by now, since I began to make the first tentative steps in the direction of the Gueriniere-Seat: it has fascinated me increasingly and I have succeeded in finding out the following:


  1. My initial goal of always holding theright arm lower has not proved to be good: though in the switch-hand bending it helps much, in the rein-hand bending and in riding straight it is a hindrance for horse and rider: and so in the latter cases the hand tends to move upwards anyway. But for my researching the impact of supination, it was an invaluable tool for teaching myself!

  2. The goal: Hands never in pronation has proved to be very effective, though I soon had to concede to one exception: if you want to turn the horse to the rein-side, you have to pronate the rein-hand distinctly, so that the thumb points to the outside.

  3. The goal “The thumb always points straight ahead” has proved very valuable,too( a small deviation of ar. 20° tin the direction of the switch-hand seems not to harm its effect).

  4. My discovery of the Pinky-Push during this research year is my greatest pride and had been possible only by the change from pronation to supination. I see it as a big step forwards and hope to abolish my use of spurs completely ( or at least to only 10%), just as the old proverb, cited by Newcastle, says:”A free horse doesn't need spurs!”

  5. The third column of my Gueriniere-Seat should be the always held forwards legs. This was very difficult at the beginning, but got, after polishing the use of the Pinky-Push, easier and easier. The terming: “Legs at most times held before the horse”, having been a mis-translation originally during my agonizingly slow word-by-word translation of Broue's, I will keep it unchanged nevertheless, as it very clearly expresses my seat-feeling. By this position of my legs the effect of my seat and my body-posture have improved considerably.

  6. Since finding out the effect of the pressing-thumb, I have worked for a long time mainly on preventing the unintended collection by it. With stretching the forefinger along the switch-shaft this gets fairly easy now and in the last days I have even begun to apply it again sometimes.


Update 14.03.17: The "protruding lower neck" as a sign of quality with Gueriniere

Through my work in the Croupe-au-mure I became suspicious of his many depictions with a so-called "protruding lower-neck". Up to today I had believed this to be a sure sign of a pushed-down back of the horse. We all know the pictures of horses with highly elevated forelegs and a dragging hind, the latter causing a tilting upwards of the horse's pelvis and with this a shoving back-out of the hind-legs, a lengthening of the horse producing a pushed-down back and kissing spines. Only: with Gueriniere to the contrary the hindlegs are pushed forwards under the horse, the pelvis tilts down and so a vaulted-upwards back is produced: by this no pushed-down back should be able to occur!


Here the ocurring visibility of the lower neck by taking backwards the upper neck with the horse's head means that the forehand is maximally erected, and the weight of the forehand is pushed to the hindlegs as much as possible: the forehand becomes free (of weight) and by this can move much more freely!

 Seen in this light the  depictions on my Finds-Page , it becomes clear, that a slightly visible lower neck   was proudly shown on the best horses of their times.


Update 22.03.

During the last week my horses have corrected me by actually showing a sinking of their back as a result of a too far retracted neck and head: so I have to shrink the usefulness of my gradient of collection to a much shorter range.

Should I find a suitable PC Software showing the weight on each hoof and processing my gradient of collection in real-time, I hope to find out the exact borders of "Anti-Collection" (with shoving back of the hindlegs and the striving away of forelegs and hindlegs from each other, on one hand, and on the other the exact point of pushing back the  upper-neck of the horse too far. Until then I can rely only of the feeling in my seat again, hopefully telling me in time if one or the other occurs.

Maximally well erected forehand with a visible lower neck:

My impression is, that the old masters took back the upper neck only to the line perpendicular  to the axis of the horse's body, and thought only of more than this as harmful. So a visible lower neck should be judged a mistake only, if the upper neck is retracted behind this perpendicular line.

The definition of this Angle of Up-Straightness then would be: Angle of the frontal rim of the neck to the body's longitudinal axis.









pushed-down back:

In the sketch by Pablo Picasso a pushed down back is produced through "Anti-Collection", wherein fore- and hindlegs are striving apart: a sinking back is the result, with a much reduced bearing-ability.


Too far retracted upper-neck:


With the Lecomte Hippolyt and in the east-indian school-halt we can see the second type of mistake in collection: the upper neck is retracted too much.

Gradient of Collection

The angle of Up-Straightness alone doesn't say everything about the degree of collection, we have to include the effect of increased load-bearing of the hind-legs, too.

In the standing, highly collected horse we can see very well, and even measure to a little extent, what is most important to La Broue,Newcastle, Gueriniere and Saunier; from this I have developed my “Gradient of Collection”: If we draw a straight line from the highest point of the horse's neck (the atlantoaxial joint) to the farthest back standing leg (which is bearing the highest load), this line is the steeper, the nearer these points are to each other. This gradient (= steepness or tilting angle) is variant due the different shapes of horses: the type of frame, the length and form of the neck, the degree and way of the bending of the haunches, but also due to the lesson: School-Halt or Courbette (Levade) in standing, Piaffe, Walk-Passage, Trot-Passage etc. in movement, and is only applicable if a.) there is no anti-collection and b.) the angle of Up-Straightness doesn't exceed 90°.

In the School-Halt we can see very well how the freeing of the shoulders (of weight) increases with the steepness of the gradient of collection: in the bent School-Halt at first only one shoulder gets completely free of weight and lifts up first, and only when the complete weight of the horse is fully on the hind-legs, the second foreleg lifts up, too.

Measured Values: Most of the horses on my Finds-Page are standing in the square type, so in the following I won't indicate the type of frame. All values can only be approximations, as many horses are depicted somewhat obliquely!

The Grecian school-halt statue shows a gradient of collection of 70°,

The Saracen from the neapolitan. crib: 69°,

Roman seal-staone: 65°

Etude pour la course des Barberi: to the forward hind-leg, which ids the loaded

one: 72°

Vendome: 68°

Riding lady in the Bois de Bologne: 62° (here the weight of the rider lies more

backwards, due to the side-saddle)

The mesopotamian school-halt:: 58°,

Napoleon on the white horse: 59°

School-halt in the Parthenon-Freeze: 70°

Broue,Newcastle, Gueriniere and Saunier use a high angle of Up-Straightness and a steep gradient of collection for many lessons: in the shoulder-in, croupe-au-mure, the Traversale in Passege (and Passage?) and in the Demi-Volte and Pirouette.

Maybe one day we will find out that a definite gradient of collection is the best one for the fatigue-free skipping in courbettes ?


Ideal Levade/ then Pesade with Gueriniere,

(the head-turn of the rider is depicted wrongly: artistic freedom of the painter)

Update 12.April 2017

Yesterday I found in La Broue's "Cavalerice" that it is necessary for a good 85°-sideways movement, to not bend body and neck of the horse! Now this cleared up Saunier's words regarding the holding lower of the inside hand: by this he achieves positioning the horse's head without executing an "around-itself-bending inside rein"!

Gueriniere, too, writes that body and shoulders have to be straight in the 85°-sideways movement!

Thus I have possibly solved  the riddle about Guerinere's hand positioning completely:  
      1. He puts the switch-hand lower, to minimize the effect of the inside rein on the horse's neck, to prevent a neck-bending (with the inside rein of the snafflecurb) while positioning the head to the side he is moving to.

       2. He supinates the hand to achieve an upright and free rider's- seat.

       3.He extends his index-finger along the switch-shaft to avoid using a pressing-thumb inadvertently.    

Update 16.April 2017:

Having trained the 80°-sideways-walk over four months now in the Croupe-au-mure (for which Gueriniere demands, to put the horse's outside shoulder  onto one line with its inside hip), the Renvers-Karree (with ¼ pirouettes on the forehand in the corners) and the normal Karree (with the croupe to the centre and ¼ pirouettes on the hindlegs in the corners) and after some tries to hold this angle in the sideways-canter in the field, I've succeeded today for the first time in closing the Demi-Volte, which I had started in the Sideways-Walk, by two jumps of Terre-a-Terre while performing a Trot-Passade. Broue calls this sideways-canter at the end of a Demi-Volte „Terre-a-Terre“; (see Vol. 2, p.43).

Newcastle sees the diagonalized walk as a result of the sideways-walk (with him for example with the croupe towards the pilar, which he calls "half a shoulder forward"). He writes, that when the forelegs are crossing, the inner  hindleg moves to the side, and when the hindlegs are crossing, the inner foreleg moves to the side, so this is the action of a trot.(= two-beated)

Also about the Sideways-Walk, that when the forelegs are crossing over, the forehand gets narrow and at the same time the hind gets large, as the inner hindleg moves to the side. At the next movement, when the hindlegs are crossing over, the hind gets narrow and the forehand large, as the inner fore-leg moves to the side.

So in the Sideways-Walk the horse is always in half a Terre-a-Terre: the Terre-a-Terre of the hindlegs, when thess are large, and in the next moment in the Terre-a-Terre of the forehand, when the latter is large. 

Update 23.04.2017:

Wanting to ride a traversale in walk yesterday, my horse took it for granted to start going sideways: I was very astonished! But no wonder, after all this months of work in the Sideways-Walk! So I had to tell him explicitly how much forward I wanted him to produce. At this point it became clear to me how wrong I had been over all the years in my thinking about producing a traversale in working-trot.  

The explanations of Gueriniere in the chapter:„Passage“ are also (possibly mainly?!) meant for the walk-passage as here again he writes: "As we have said in the chapter "artidfical gaits" the Passage is a restrained, measured and cadenced Walk or Trot, wherein the horse lifts up a foreleg and a hindleg crosswise at the same moment, as in the normal trot, but much more shortened, determined and cadenced as the ordinary trot, and with every pace it is doing, the hoof in the air not more than one foot (ab.30cm) moves foward than the hoof still on the ground.“

Very difficult is to rethink the traversale from the space-expansive (on the forehand) one used today, to a slow Walk-Passage-traversale with erecting the forehand highly!

When Gueriniere at the changement through the manege on two hoof-beats speaks about Broue saying, that the rider needs to be very careful in supporting the crossing outer foreleg in a certain moment, I'm reminded now of the way, I'm trying to support my horse during the 80°-sideways.

At the moment  I prefer to execute a steep, but shorter sideways-walk-traversale, as I'm still much to impatient for a long and slow changement.

Update 29.04.17:

Since finding Saunier's term „Walk-Passage“ I have suspected, that the passage, which in some old texts was reserved for kings and high nobles, often meant a walk-passage and not a floating-trot. Now I have found a text confirming this: in the chapter "About passegeing straight-forward and where and when", where Nicolas di Santa-Paulina (1696) writes in the L'Arte de cavallo, S.96:

"There are four ways to passage a horse:

The trot-pasage is suitable for young and for bizarre riders [...].

 To passege in walk means that the horse elevates his foreleg and hindleg as in the trot, but not in the exactly very moment as in the trot, merely with a not perceivable pause before moving the other leg; the horse lifts the forelegs higher than the hindlegs, and when the horse lifts the legs equally high on both sides, it is called a Passegio, which, despite not being as gracefully as in the trot, is majestic nevertheless and appropriate for a prince." 

So the walk-passage straight-forwards was a dignified, calm way to present themselves for noble and powerful persons, too.

Update 21.May 2017:

Having achieved some nice Terre-a-Terre jumps at the hand some days ago, Paco today, after an accidently triggered Terre-a-Terre jump backwards during the Croupe-au-mure at the hand, let himself stopped during the next one so far, that he had only set his hindlegs far under his belly, but didn't let his forelegs leave the ground: so he stood in a posture with a very much lowered croupe, and succeded even in taking 2 steps sideways in this posture; maybe this will be my way to achieve a good gradient of collection during the sideways?

My training program (in the arena) always starts with a school-halt at the hand, continuing à la Gueriniere (though at first in handwork): shoulder-in (35°) in walk on both hands, then croupe-au-mure (80°) in walk on both hands, then mounting the horse and in a fresh trot straithening him on the middle line through the length of the arena, then  from the saddle shoulder-in and croupe-au-mure in walk again.

 For the 80°-sideways I place the switch same as in the woodcut in the    Sébillet:   obliquely forwards down before the inner shoulder (at the ground I lead the horse from the outside).


Update 07.Juni 17:

Meanwhile is has become clear to me, that in the Gueriniere-seat  I don't only have my legs before the horse (sometimes only a little bit, but always palpable!), but also my belly, and, because my upper body is not tilted foward anymore, this part also is carried before the horse's movement: the rider feels carried like a ship before the wind! Now I call it: The rider is sitting before the horse.

Looking back now my old seat had the feel of pushing a wheel-barrow: the rider's legs and belly behind, the upper body fowards und the rider's head forward down.

Update 07. Juli 2017:

Whilst researching the pulling-up of the rider's heels, another important benefit of the "legs before the horse" became clear to me: testing, after many months, once more the wrong pulling up of the heels during the "legs behind the horse" I got reminded, that the rider sometimes gets hit against the front part/the gallery of the saddle; long had I forgotten this uncomfortable side effect of the customary seat!

Update 24.July 2017

After the last supervisory lesson by Marius it became clearer to me that Guerinieres invention of the term „Croupe-au-mure“ is wonderfully suited to prevent  riding the sideways with the head to the wall, but as the wall is very long, the rider tends to do it far too long far too early. Better might be de la Broue's approach: at first only one or two paces sideways, still combined with a little forwards, then four or five paces straight forwards, increasing this only incrementally over weeks.

Because this training starts traversale-like, it is easier to think (as in a traversale we are always supposed to do) of the desired 85°-angle to the wall along which one moves along (here the short side of the riding arena) as a 5°-angle to the wall the horse is moving towards (here the right side).

Update 12.Aug. 2017:



During my holidays I had ample time to think about Nestier's school-halt in it's wonderful easy manner and to analyze the aids he is giving.

He uses the Gueriniere-seat: the rein-hand standing upright with the thumb pointing forwards (assumingly the hand is supinated slightly ab. 10°); the switch ends within the rider's palm.

The rider holds his legs before the horse.

To produce the school-halt he pulls his shoulder-blades even more together and more downwards, by this the rider's breastbone advances forwards significantly; the horse's mid-back is somewhat relieved  by slightly raising the rider's heels and, additionally,the upper thorax of the horse gets unburdened by a stirrup-tread on both sides because now the rider's thighs gets wider.

He exerts a slight pinky-pull with the rein-hand which leads to a backwards tilt of the rider's pelvis. So the rider's back comes to be a mirror of the horse's back: Erection of the forehand coupled with a tilted pelvis.

In this picture he presents a special, very complicated situation for the support of the right-bending in a not very far educated horse: leading the right curb-rein with the right hand in a lower position, just as Gueriniere described 20 years earlier in his “Ecole de cavalerie”. (A rider with only some years of academic training better should use the left-hander seat if having problems with the right-bending!).

The curb with a very short lower branch makes the rein-action even more difficult, as with this even a small rein-displacement leads to an impact.


Deviating from Gueriniere's depictions he holds the switch downwards (in the ski-stick position) and leads the right curb-rein between ring- and middle finger. The switch lies fast at the right thigh, to prevent as much pronation of the switch hand as possible and to give the hand as much freedom of movement over the switch's end. Holding the hand this way makes the right-bending even more difficult to achieve, as the rider cannot try inducing the horse to it by laying the switch parallel to the left side of the horse's neck. 

The rope, which serves as a second pair of reins is not used at the moment; its inserting point is too high for a normal bridoon: if it is a nowadays unknown bridling stays unclear still.

The chainette at the ends of the lower branches  indicate a snafflecurb.

With kind permission of the British Museum

Update 01.Nov.2017:

The stable Gueriniere-seat enables the following very fine and light giving of aids to bend the horse:

Holding the switch in the upright fist in the semi-bouquet grasp (the end of the switch vanishes completely within the upright standing fist) with a foward tilt of the switches tip of only 10°, while supporting it on the basic phalanx of the little finger, one can by bending and hyperextension in the carpal joint induce finely calibrated a bending of the horse. 

At the start, to sensitize his body and that of the horse, one begins with the strongest bending and extending in the carpal joint: for bending the horse to the switch-hand side one uses a hyper-extension and holds the switch-hand behind the rein-hand. For example, to get a shoulder-in to the right, being in the right-hander seat, the fist is rotated so far out that a maximum of hyperextension results: the knuckles (MCP-joints) of the switch-fist point as far to the right as possible, the switch-hand stands farther back than the rein-hand, and the rider allows his left thigh to press a little more against the left forward part of the saddle. With this the left shoulder comes a little forward.

Wishing to change into a right croupe-in, the rider simply needs to take his left shoulder a little back and lift the left thigh somewhat from the left side of the saddle, which leads to a turning of the horse under him into the croupe-in.

For the bending to the left (the rein-hand side) he shoves the switch-fist farther forward than the rein-fist, turns it from hyper-extension into a strong bending, so that the knuckles of the switch-fist now point to the left side, and allows again additionally a little more pressing of the right thigh against the forward part of the saddle for the shoulder-in; for the croup-in to the left he again turns the horse under himself.

Also a very smooth change from shoulder-in right to croupe-in left is finely possible .

Training is done best on a long straight way outside, or in a big riding hall on the middle line (because only here the pressure produced by both walls are equally strong on the horse)

Naturally the same applies for the left-hander seat, inversely.

After achieving the feeling for this aid, and some routine, you will recognize that for the most time there will be no need for a strong rotation in the switch-hand's carpal joint, which can even be far too strong during canter, where the horse can easily feel overstarined by this light aid and begins to throw his head oder actually stops the canter! Here one is learning speedily, how little is needed to hold the horse in shoulder-in or croupe-in while cantering!

A straight Straight between these aids, exerted minimally, is achievable more easily!

Update 25.Nov.17:

Having translated the Chapter 33, Vol. II accurately now, in preparation for my La Broue book, I'm training the full halt from a lively gait after his fashion: but customized in the way, that I use the school halt instead of going backwards (as the horse is not able or willing to decide reliably which one I want, and will prefer to go backwards, because this is much easier). I would never have expected, that this heavy type of halt would leave the horse so calm: but the 4-5 steps in a very collected walk , which thanks to the sideways training gets more and more unhurried and relaxed, and the 2-3 turns afterwards are pacifying the horse completely, and nevertheless it shoots forwards promptly in the next try. Already this lesson seems to improve all the other lessons, as he wrote, and the horses get more assured and courageous every time.

L'Arrêt avec le Cavesson (The full halt with the cavesson), Lithographie by Charles Motte, ar. 1830, after Eisenberg

„To form the full halt with grace, the horse must bend its haunches, it shall not traverse and not press against the hand, it shall hold its head still, the neckline high and before the rider. With young horses one is not allowed to make the full halt too short or to suddenly, so as not to ruin his hocks or his mouth. At the inducing the rider has to approach his calves to the horse to animate it, he brings his body back, brings the hands with the cavesson and the reins higher, and after that extends his knees vigorously and steps into the stirrups and at the same time lowers the switch ."


During the translation of Chapter I-34,  immediately I thought of this picture from Delft: this rider might have been influenced by the Cavalerice, holding the hind legs of his horse wide apart.


Tile from Delft, around 1650, the Rider is hollding his legs before the horse


18.12.2017: Positioning the rider's legs: Interim report after 21 months 

The art-rider's seat I had named after Gueriniere, because I found in his book very clear pictures which regrettably cannot be found  in Grisone's and La Broue's; because I feel Pluvinel's seat not correct and Newcastle's to far in front of the saddle.

The expression "Legs before the horse" fell into my lap by a translation accident und is used by me nevertheless since then because it hits the mark correctly.

If he holds his legs before the horse the rider can feel the power he is treading into the stirrup travelling through the whole length of his legs straight into his complete spine, without losing his seat, not even when he pulls up his heels. The  musculus gastrocnemius (the dorsal thick belly of the calf muscle, which while lifting the heel would lead to an additional bending in the knee joint) is then little or complettely not in use. but more or only the flat calf muscle musculus soleus: the rider often gets the feeling of a tightening only of the calf's sides.

Are the legs but behind the horse, this line of force will be broken at the rider's knees and then the lower legs become merely appendixes of the knee joints: the rider looses stability significantly in the longitudinal direction of the horse, but also sideways stability, falls forward and often hits the forepart of the saddle unpleasantly: here the dorsal thicker part of the calf muscle, which is used to drive the horse forwards, is tensioned more.



Delft Tile, ar. 1790, the rider has his legs far behind the horse


A middle postition I couldn't find out yet, it seems there is only before or behind the horse. So my aim is always to as soon as possible return to holding my legs before the horse again after having them put back for a short time, be it out of old habit or for using them more behind as an aid.

The line of force can also get broken completely through bringing the legs far forwards, as in "legs over the horse" [see Marc Aurel or the mesopotamien school-halt]; here also the lower legs thighs are merely appendixes of the knee, additionally now the feet have no or only very little contact with the stirrup plates.  Here no muscle on the calf's back is tensioned. (Riding completely without stirrups, naturally there is no build-up of this line of force possible: one either lets his legs hang downwards straightly or puts them over the horse).

Holding the legs before the horse, the rider always treads a little bit into the stirrups and uses a force between 20grams and many kilograms, depending on the need.

Here develops a far increased fundament for the rider's equilibrium than that of the englisch seat, one could call it a tripod by bottom and both feet: the rider stands and sits simultaneously like on a one-legged standing-stool.

A very important benefit is that the rider can dampen very finely the shocks, which the horse's back gets by the rider's weight,  depending on the degree of tension in the flat calf muscle (m.soleus).

The distribution of the rider's weight I guess is: ar. 60% on his bottom, 15% each on every thigh and ar. only 1% to 5% on every stirrup plate (except during a stirrup tread).

But in the stirrup tread there can arise sometimes a load of ar. 50kg on this plate (as my horse have a wide fundament, the don't sway hereby).

The difficult situation regarding trhe equilibrium in the englisch-seat costs the rider much of his concentration, whereas in the Gueriniere seat a lot of this gets freed: the rider can put it to work on other tasks (in the first days actually something seems to be amiss!)

What the old masters told us:

Grisone 1550: The rider shall let his lower legs hang down in the way, that they position themselves on their own in the stirrups, as if one would be standing on the ground; the points of the feet turned so, that at turning the horse on the resp. side they point into the same direction as the rider's nose.

La Broue 1593: The back straight and firm, the thighs fast at the saddle like glued on. The kness closed and turned more inwards than outwards. The lower legs as near by the horse as necessary, firm and straight, as in standing upright on his legs on the ground, if the rider has a big or medium stature; if he has a small stature he shall, when possible, hold his lower legs forwards adjacent to the horse's shoulders. 

The heels lower than the points, neither turned inwards nor outwards [means ar. 30° outwards rotated as in normal standing], the soles of the shoes shall lie straight and with safe dependence upon the stirrup plates and so, that the point of the shoes surmount about one thumb's breadth the plate.

Pluvinel 1626: The rider has to keep himself upright in the saddle as in standing on the ground, the lower legs far forwards und shall be treading fast into the stirrups, holdings his knees closed always and with all his might. With the point of the feet coming near the horse's bow, his heels pushing downwards; his soles shall be visible from the ground.  Picture from: "Le Manege Royal":

Newcastle (frz.1.Buch) 1657: The rider shall sit in the front of the the saddle as far as possible, letting his legs hang down as if standing on the ground, thighs and knees as glued to the saddle, the legs put firmly  into th stirrups, the heels somwhat lower than the points.

Gueriniere 1733: Holding the lower legs unconstrainedly straight downwards, not too far forwards, because one has to use them sometimes behind, but not too far behind, because one would come with his aids into the flancs, which are too ticklish and sensitive to work there with the spurs. The heels not too deep down, to prevent the lower leg from getting stiff, the points of the feet turned not too far outwards, for the spurs not to touch the belly, and not too far inwards, to prevent the paralyzing of the lower leg. But rather one has not to rotate the lower legs inwards, but the thighs. In his book also these pictures can be found:


Prizelius (1777) shows on nearly all his depictions a wrist-flexion of the minimally supinated switch hand, together with the "legs before the horse":

Looking at the old pictures one realizes that the advice to let hang down his legs straightly can be meant in two different ways: a contemporary show-rider, grown up in the englisch seat, with his legs behind the horse, wants to say: so that still at least a little angle in the knee joint occurs, with tightening of the thick m.gastrocnemius ( = "not treading into the stirrup!"); and on the other hand the art-rider before 1800, who is holding his legs just a bit before the horse, without an angle in the knee joints, ( = "always at least a minimal tread into the stirrup!"), except for short aides.

While holding the legs before the horse at the beginning is quite difficult for the rider to uphold, for the horse it is even harder: during riding english the relaxation of the rider is signalled to the horse by throwing away all pressure in the rider's seat and body, sometimes relaxing the legs by putting them fowards, meaning pause for the horse, but  now the real, loose work shall start with exactly these signals!

The horse has to adapt greatly, as the rider tries to hold his legs forward as often and as long as possible, by which from him are stolen not only the spurs (Pluvinel) but also the calfs and the heels for driving the horse!

Here he must find other means and learn to use them: at first one thinks of the switch, but it alone often will not suffice: he also has to dismiss the sitting on the forehand, which is used in the Englisch-/race-/jump-/hunting seat, in favour of a forehand-unloading seat, which consequently will be a hindquarter-loading seat, which is an important gaol of the academic art of riding, by bringing back his upper body a little, by not pronating his hands, by letting his belly come forwards slighthly, by not rollig in his shoulders, and so on.

Additionally he has to allow the horse to step forwards freely by tilting his pelvis forwards (or at least not letting it stay tilted backwards) and, if appropriate, use the pinky-push; and instead of driving the horse by heels/calfs/spurs using a stronger or weaker loading of the stirrup at the time when the horse rotates downwards its ribcage on the same side, to increase the forward stepping of the hindlegs.

Increasingly in the lessons known to him and the horse, the clutching of the lower legs behind the horse will vanish, but in a new lesson easily occur again, which is not always to be seen as a mistake, as the horse can agree only to a lesson it understands, and the rider also has to get a feel for the new lesson, which all can be achieved often only by  increased driving with the legs. Thes "false" aides can be abandoned or at least reduced in the later training.

Update 23.12.17:

The horse-scales have been here: Paco's weight combined with mine and saddle is 660kg.  Only the forehand on the scales it shows 330kg, the scales is 20cm higher than the surrounding ground where Paco's hindlegs are standing: that means some weight is already shifted to the hind already. We had only very little time and could only use our standard school-halt once: the scales showed then only 240 kg for the forehand: 90kg less on the forehand means 90kg more on the hindlegs =  420/240kg. Described in another way: the forehand was unloaded from normally about 60% to 36% of the weight! So in this medium school-halt the haunches had instead of normally ar. 40%  now  64%: a  real, slight "arret sur les hanches"! 


Update 19.01.18

To train once in a while a whole halt on the haunches from the lively trot or from the canter produces actually the effect La Broue predicted: all collecting and higher lessons get much better, from the school halt and the very collected trot onwards!

Since having begun very cautiously to test his instructions for the Courbettes, I have begun again, after many years, to levade my horses, which I avoided for a long time out of fear to produce a harmful Pesade: As La Broue describes, we should begin with Levades out of the forward movement.  With me, it developed into somewhat else, so at the moment I can elevate the forehand of my horses somewhat during a slow canter uphill at every second leap (my inner picture for this is the tile from Delft of 1650, which may show exactly this movement, and Ridinger's pictures "A strong halt out of the canter" or "The relevated canter").

While doing this, I think of La Broue's comparison with the "Jeu de paulme" and the result is a body stance of the rider similar to the forearm pass in volleyball: the rider's legs then are so far forward and a little bit up, that one has to speak of the "legs above the horse" here, all the more as the rider's knees are bent a little bit, too; additionally the rider's hands come forward, too. On top of that, I reinforce the lifting of the horse's fore-hand by a pronounced pinky-push, and for now I achieve (perceivedly) sometimes a distinct elevating of the forehand. This elevating of the forehand leads to a distribution of much more weight to the hind-legs, which then bear the weight more under and more forward under the horse.

At last the Terre-a-Terre straight forwards (=Mezair?) develops further, as the horses now understand better that I want them not to move forwards much. Yesterday on the way back to the stables, where the horses always quicken up a little bit, Picasso offered me of his own volition in this gait in a 45° degree angle to his "good" side, very calm and leger, eight leaps sideways, holding his body and neck straight: probably for avoiding me to get the idea to let him leap sideways on his stiff side, as he doesn't move well to his stiff side when wanting to reach a place fast.  Trying afterwards to do this on his stiff, left side, he became very entier, went against the right heel and switch and became on the right side very constrained/tight (= bent the whole body and neck maximally to his right side). So in this gait anew a lot of gymnastication awaits us!

Update 03.03.2018: Tambourine movement

The Semi-Boquet grip of the switch-fist (see 01.Nov.17) gets finer more and more: For the swinging out of the horse's hind it's not necessary anymore to put the switchhand before or behind the rein-hand: now I can leave it beside the rein-hand, it works solely by the rotation of the fist in the carpal joint. To swing the horse's hind to the left, I swivel the switch-hand to the left, so that the knuckles of the switch-fist point to the left, to swing the horse's hind to the right, I swivel the switch-fist to the right, so that the knuckles point to the right: the movement is simialr to that of hitting a tambourine against the other hand for sounding it's jingles. Thus I initiate a volte to the left by turning the switch-fist to the left for one to two steps, holding this stance if I want the horse to hold the haunches within the volte. If I want to lead the croupe back onto the circular track, I turn the fist shortly to the right (held longer to the right, a slight renvers occurs). During Canter on circular lines this proves to be very useful: Start with a turn to the inside for one to two canter leaps, then a short turn to the outside for stabilizing the circle-movement, then inside again for a better stepping under of the hindlegs, and so on.

It makes a very good support in the 80°-sideways, too: sideways to the left: knuckles to the left, and vice versa.

The chain of transmission from lower arm>shoulder>muscles of the back>rider's pelvis>seatbones is palpable (maybe sometime someone finds out the different participating muscles?).

Update 06.03.18: Same level as Newcastle?

 At least regarding the switch wastage I feel coequal to Newcastle meanwhile: My current natural switch (an apple shoot, dried according to Bent's tutorial) I have in use since more than four months now.  Newcastle/Cavendish proudly reports in his first book, that his switches last up to three months, as evidence for his gentle treatment of his horses. One could argue, that he  surely has worked more horses per day than me, on the other hand he writes, that he not seldom works 5 horses within 60 minutes, so the duration of use might be comparable, after all. AND: he always wore spurs additionally, which I have never put on for 17 months now!

In his second book,nine years later however, he writes that his switch endures 6 months, and at the end of this book he even mentions a duration of one year.... I wonder, if my little stick will keep this long?

Update 10.03.18

During my night-duty yesterday, just as I passed Remlingen, the village where Loehneysen wrote his „Della Cavaleria“, it occurred to me that the chapter 7 of book II of „The Cavalerice Francois“ I'm translating currently, is actually the one Gueriniere refers to in his chapter „Passage“!

Update 18.03.2018: The long awaited snafflecurb has arrived!

I had needed several months to realize that La Broue’s and Gueriniere’s “Simple cannon” (ital. translation:”simple thick pipe”) in reality is a curb with a broken mouthpiece, and some more months to realize that this was the most favored bit of La Broue and Gueriniere, then several weeks of planning and scale drawing with making adjustments to my horse's mouth-width, then some weeks of interchange of ideas until it was ready.

This snafflecurb is made with a broken mouthpiece exactly after my wishes. From now on I will be able by twitching at the inner rein to push the horse's lower jaw to the outside (which is the main use of a snaffle) and just after that use the uprighting curb function.

The mouthpiece gets thicker to the outside conically, to be sustained by the side lips of the horse, too,so that a pull on the rein first reaches the lips and only a stronger pull the tongue and the bars.

It was made hollow for a smaller weight, as the old did, during the golden age of academic riding (Löhneysens called those „Hohlbiß“). As its diameter in the region of the bars is bigger, it is less hard on them.

Being my first bridling of this type, I didn't dare for now, to let the lower branches be made as long as Gueriniere and La Broue recommend, instead I tried at first 18cm. To let the leverage not grow too great, I let the upper branch elongate to 7cm, just as Gueriniere's (correction half a year later: they used only 6cm).

 Thus the leverage grows only from my former curb = 1:2, to 1:2.5 (with Gueriniere and La Broue 1:3 is a normal value).

 By this I gain an 1.7 times longer rein way, which means for example: from 4.4cm to 6.3cm. That means my horse has much more time to sense a tightening of the rein before the curb is fully engaged and also that I could ride with a more unsteady hand.

The weight of this prototype is, despite the longer branches, the same as that of a short dressage curb plus snaffle-bit, or of one of the heavier El-Mosquero curbs.

The curb tells the rider similarly as with the Renaissance-curb exactly the moment it begins to take effect, and after short probing I had learned how to twitch at the inner rein. The positioning of the head then is actually as La Broue describes: nearly only the head is positioned, with only a slight bending of the neck. Showing the horse additionally the switch on the outside led to a more rounded neck as before with my old curb, and the muscle bump behind Picasso's atlas was gone, and I hope very much, it stays this way!

One drawback: the little chainette, holding the lower branches together to prevent the upper branches leaning into the teeth of the horse and also the long lower branches, both forbid me from now on, to let my horses nibbling twigs from bushes and trees along the roadside..

Update 04.April 18 : Good out of bad:

As the long lower branches of my snafflecurb are in danger to touch the ground and engaging the curb by this, and also the danger exsits, that the horse's hooves could touch the lower branches, I'm forced now to position the horse's head significantly higher.  With the old curb I often had let the reins hang through while strolling cross-country, which resulted in my horses going far forward downwards (not least in the hope to catch the odd blade of grass): they now keep always a wonderful, very smooth contact to the bit, which produces a continual communication to the rider's hand.  My impression is, that this trusting softness of the horse's mouth is due to the length of the lower branches: even when the rider's hand is sometimes held a little bit unfocused,  it does not lead to full engagement as soon as with the old curb, as the  rein way is far longer. But also the very big mouthpiece seems to play a role, and the facility for the horse to position the now movable two shanks in the mouth where he likes it better.

Also, at least in the longer necked Picasso, the reins come off the front rims of the shoulderblades (which I always have the feeling of diminishing the horse's forward impetus), and run now a little bit before the shoulderblades, because the position of his head is higher.

But the expected effect of  twitching the inner rein is unexpectedly the very opposite: the horses most times put their head to the outside then! I think that by the four resp. eight years long use of a not broken bit both are trained for a long time to interpret the wrong effect of that curb into the reaction intended by the rider. Now they will have to unlearn this again... 

So I rode yesterday in the correct hand-canter, but with a very far to the outside held head and neck of the horse through the corners of the riding hall! Having quite a bit of time in walk to get the head right posture, in trot it already is a bit more difficult, but in canter the try to softly turn the head inside by showing the horse the switch on the outside and  by my seat can easily take five to eight canter-strides. Laying the rein against the outside shoulder in this situation is unfortunately interpreted by the horse as an around itself bending rein and so of no use at all ....

Update 05.04.18:

Very interesting text found with Prizelius! (see Finds).

Update 06.04.2018.

The text by Prizelius arrived just at the right moment for me: for many weeks now I have a standstill in trying to produce from a very shortened walk a diagonalization. Only very rarely I got, for one or two steps, the impression of successfully joining the movements of the hindlegs to those of the frontlegs. Because of this I had reasoned for a longer time now, if it might be possible to reach my aim by shortening the trot further and further.

Both my stallions give my since  many months a very slow trot, which lets my sit very,very softly on their backs. The tact frequency of this trot of ar. 80/minute is much nearer to a trot-passage than to a piaffe on the place. But ist shows not the pronounced lifting up from the ground as is characteristic for trot, piaffe and trot-passage, nevertheless it lifts the rider clearly in very good swing in a two-beat: This must be the feeling Saunier will have got from his "walk"-passage, I assume. Might this be already this gait? At least the way could be the right one. Possibly there is a walk-piaffe, too? In an old video of the spanish riding school in Vienna one can see two horses moving on one place in very slow trot more near the ground.

"If a movement feels comfortable for the rider, it cannot be bad for the horse" is an old saying: so I'm quite sure, that I will not make a mistake by this, but to the contrary will gymnasticize successfully to the positive. The old masters always say, we have to train our horses according to their capabilities, and some horses just don't lift up their legs very much and a little less gracefully than others.  

The text by Prizelius might justify these thoughts:

  1. Gueriniere and Saunier gave the very slow trot-passage the name "walk"-passage because this movement was slower, not so abrupt and more near the ground than a normal trot-passage.

  2. The "school"-walk of Prizelius, Eisenberg and Ridinger is a very slow trot, sometimes with very much bent haunches; the latter would be the same movement as the above mentioned "walk"-passage. (The word "pas" in French means also "gait", So I assume, the "pas d'escole" in reality means "school-gait"):

  3. The old school-walk before ar. 1750 of Gueriniere and La Broue was a simple, four-beated, collected walk with a higher forehand, as it occurs for example during shoulder-in or haunches-in.

So I transform the sentence from the Dictionnaire de Manege from 1741, which can come across easily as somewhat disenchanting for us amateur riders with possibly not very perfect horses and training conditions:  The walkpassage is very difficult to teach a horse: even  a very good rider with a very gut suited horse needs at least three years in the manege, and if then two out of six horses become good, this is much already. Under worse conditions it needs more time accordingly.

Marc-Aurel-Seat and Jeu-de-Paulme Movement

  Marc Aurel   uses a slight dorsal extension (over-extension of the back of the hand) in his free, right hand, while maintaining a slight bending of the elbow-joint (would the latter be fully extended, transmission to the rider's back muscles would be impossible and thus no driving impulse would occur to the horse). This movement is similar to shoving a shopping trolley with the wrist, and by this the rider's belly comes forward more than in the perpendicular pinky-push and with far less tilting forwards of the rider's pelvis. Is the arm elevated exactly this much, the pronation of the right hand  cannot block the pushing forward of the rider's belly!).The opposite, collection, is to be gained by flexion in the carpal-joint of the free hand (tilting the Hand downwards).

  Exactly the same result appears, when Marc Aurel's left hand in supination executes a "horizontal" Pinky-Push (another form as the above always meant "perpendicular" Pinky-Push with upright standing fists). I think that La Broue might mean just this horizontal Pinky-Push, when he speaks about the jeu-de-paulme movement for executing a courbette. 


Update 21.April 2018:

Prizelius' Interpretation of the Gueriniere-seat brings highest harmonie into the rider's posture: his light supination of the switch-hand in combination wit the flexion in the wrist leads also to small approximation of this stance in the rein-hand: now the rider's belly comes a little bit more forward, the lighthly opened hands shape an imaginative bowl wherein the rider's belly nestles. The back muscles of the rider relax completely symmetrical. If one had no need for giving aids, I would ride in this posture permanently!

Update 30. April 2018

When some weeks ago my hoof-orthopedic pointed out to me that the horizontal, reddish-bluish line, which had been discernible quite well on the inside of his white, right hind hoof, was a result of a kick by his left hind hoof, I realized, that I had underestimated the slipperiness of the meadow with its still frozen deeper ground. Tellingly this bruise must have occured during the sideways canter to his good, right side, so I'm sure, I had  allowed too much bending of his neck, which easily occurs to his good side, and this on top of the ground problems!  Since then I am extra careful to put only his head into the direction of movement and leave neck and body straight, as La Broue advises us!   (Good thing that Picasso doesn't wear iron horse-shoes!).

By the way Prizelius holds his switch hand I have come around to Gueriniere's again after many months trying out other ways: if one lets descend Prizelius' hand downwards, the rider can maintain his good posture and be prepared to grip the right rein if the need occurs, too.

Interim Report Snafflecurb 21.05.2018:

The strong uprighting on the first day of using my snafflecurb has never occured again, so I assume additionally to the newness of the bridle, the mares in heat outside the riding hall and the frosty weather two had played a part in that.

Two weeks ago, after having ridden for eight weeks already with  my snafflecurb, I had gone into the country today using again my old unbroken curb, which I had had in use for many years. The difference on this day was clearly to be felt: the horse didn't take this very fine appuy any more, but got often scuffed off by the bit fairly hard: the horse laid itself considerably more on the rider's hand, the rider's arm got tired more than with a safflecurb by the uncomfortable pulling by the horse's mouth, and the rider often got pulled out of his free, independent seat!

Then, after 11 days riding-pause, having put on on the old, unbroken curb again, Picasso had found his former equilibrium again, and the light, former appuy of his mouth is palpable again. This clearly different appuy I call now "over the hand" as, contray to that of the simple snafflecurb, it is not felt as "in the hand" (with the feel of a direct connection into the horse's mouth), but more of avoiding a direct contact to the bit. If the reason for this is the thicker mouthpiece with support by the horse's lips or the considerably longer rein way, I will only be able to find out, when I can test the 3rd variant of the simple snafflecurb I intend to try: one with very short lower branches as the one in Nestier's picture.

The prototype I have used until now had a far too high freedom of the tongue: so it seems to me now, that Gueriniere wanted to show us another (top?-)height of the freedom of the tongue, as then for 140 years the sketch in La Broue's book had been known in all the world (see German translation). My next one will be a mix of the freedom of the tongue like La Broue's, and the side parts made curved like Gueriniere's, which nowadays might be called S-Curb, as only after having used this one I will now, how rider and horse felt exactly in that time. This type of bridle was used for horses which had been given a good deal of education already: they at first started with a cavesson, then in addition to that used a straight snafflecurb, this at first without a chain; only after that they trained the horse on a curved snafflecurb, at first as guidance still with a cavesson attached; this combination was mostly used, when starting a new lesson. Depending of the quality of the horse and that of the rider these steps naturally had different time frames, which today we actually might shorten a bit in some cases, as we live in the time of the highest art in training horses from the ground, and using this, before and accompanying the work under the saddle, very much of the explaining to the horse has beens done already, when the rider tries the training under the saddle.

Update 14.06.2018

Meanwhile I am convinced, that the view of most riders today, that a snaffle were the best bridle for the beginner and the young horse, is, at least to a big part, due to a misinterpretation of the old masters. This mistake occurred not least because in French today sometimes the snaffle is called “simple canon”, too. The reader of La Broue's and Gueriniere's texts learns thoroughly, that the simple canon is the very best bridle, but by this term they meant a “simple snafflecurb”, a very different type of bridling! A snaffle was seen by both as an unsuitable bridle in these cases, as it leads to leaning on the bit too hard!

Though other reasons surely have contributed, too: If the rider has not learned to make a halt solely by his seat, he will do it by using the mouthbit and so easily damage the horse's appuy (= leaning on the mouth)  or even the mouth itself! A halt or a turning by seat only in a racing situation, for example a jumping parcours with time-accounting,  is impossible actually...  Many people think, in these situations a "little" snaffle will do less harm.

Also a snaffle is cheaper to produce, and additionally the longer lower branches of s snafflecurb impede grazing during a rest, even drinking in shallow water.

As much of the old knowledge of adjusting a simple snafflecurb is lost, I'm very curious if we will succed in developping it again with the help of the informations of the old masters!

Update July, 11th 2018:

 La Broue's lesson of the passades with doubled voltes at their end is beautiful to ride and probably really a good preparation for improving my demi-voltes in the sideways, for which I still had not found a satisfying starting point: maybe this will help?

Only some days into this training it dawned on me that with two or three, he gave an incorrect number of voltes: one starts the volte at the last point of the passade by letting the outer front foot tread over the inner one, then riding a whole volte and further another half one, which is concluded by shoving the croupe of the horse inside, so that the forefeet and the hindfeet nearly simultaneously reach the line of the passade, to be able to start promptly straight forward from the hand presently to the other end of the passade. Actually these are only one and a half voltes, one more would make two and half. So La Broue's term :“doubled voltes“ in reality mean, that only the first half-volte  is repeated.

Pinky-Push Interim Report Update 13. Juli:

The perpendicular pinky-push with upright standing rider's fists have helped me greatly over many months to come away from the forehand-seat to the middle position and to unburden the horse's forehand, with higher stepping of the forefeet (I think this is an important part of „making the horse lighter“ (fr.:“allegrir“), as the old wanted us to). But hereby the movement of the hindlegs stays uninfluenced, and should one overdo it, the horse even will stretch out and an anti-collection occurs with undesirable lowering of the horse's back. With the short-backed Paco, who seldom stretches his hindlegs far out, this is not a great problem, but Picasso tends to do exactly this nearly always (I even got him tested for PSSM because of this!). For some months now I'm using the perpendicular pinky-push nearly only when the horses in the country don't want to go forward (be it on the first hundreds of meters away from the stable, or when nearing the unloved pig-stables).

But for collecting the horse, meaning increased treading under also, the horizontal pinky-push has proved very valuable (though really horizontal one cannot hold his fists, only a supination of ar. 60°is possible, at least not if one doesn't want to hold the hands very far forwards). By this the forefeet are activated not as much, but the forehand is elevated a bit nevertheless, and the whole effect is distinctly collecting.

This pinky-push is used most nicely and most easily in riding single-handed solely on a curb: when using a cavesson additionally, one must concentrate always on pushing the ring finger distinctly forwards , too.

Update 01.Aug. 18:

Also an excellent aide to reach a better uprighting of the forehand of rider and horse is the way to hold the switch as the "Old Fritz" does, here in a porcellaine figurine in the Köpenick castle, Berlin

Update 23. Aug. 2018:

Finally I have a word for the movement of the switch-fist, which reigns the hindquarter so finally and precisely:  "Tambourine Slew" (s. March 3rd., 2018).

Update 16.Sept.2018:

Having been quite astonished in the beginning about the smallness of La Broue's voltes at the ends of the passades with ar. 3.50m, meanwhile we succeed now, thanks to the tambourine-slew, to produce much smaller ones. At the moment I canter the passade, letting the horse come to a near standstill at the end, where I promptly induce a walk-volte on one track by telling the horse to put his outer leg over the inner one. With a fully inwards tambourine-slewed switch-hand the horse narrows itself maximally and is able to produce 1.50m voltes. The problem then is, that in the intoxication by these very small voltes I often don't notice what easily happens then, and only when the horse stops, I recognize that once again I have only watched the nice action of the forehand, and not felt that the horse's hind had wandered inwards more and more: that means, it has meanwhile come before the movement! Should the horse want to proceed in this stance, it would have to set the outer legs behind the inner legs, which is very dangerous! So I have to reduce somewhat the tambourine-slew for a short time, the horse gets a bit less narrow and the hind is following again on the tight circle.

Update 13.10.18:

There is no better place to train the sideways than a row of fruit-bearing apple trees: as soon as we come near its branches, the horse's body and  mind tension considerably, he stands very quiet there, reacts very finely to my demands: "You want me to move just a little bit sideways? You're welcome!", "You want me to climb down this dry trench in the sideways, parallel to its sides, for some centimetres, or more?Certainly!" And all the time in his stance the question: "Can you reach the apple now?" Here the word "adverty" ( = advertent, mindful to the riders actions), which La Broue uses so often, feels to be fitting completely! 

Update 31.10.2018:

For many years now I am trying to really straighten my horse (= getting it into a straight Straight) while using the one-handed leading of the reins. During all these years I only very seldom felt really successful and always only for short moments. Because in this way of rein-leading the place in the middle over the withers is occupied by the rein-hand, real symmetry of the rider's seat is impossible to achieve. The best one can achieve is a compensation of this asymmetrie (which of course is projected fully into the horse), as Eisenberg shows us in his pictures: In those the rider holds his hands on the same height adjacently when a right rein, for example the right cavesson rein is used (two-handed leading of the reins). With completely one-handed rein-leading, the rider often holds the switch-hand high up and almost in the middle over the withers. This way I, too, achieve my best results in aiming at a real straight Straight.

See Eisenberg:

  "L´art de monter à cheval ou description du manège moderne dans sa perfection": Etching 50 (L.) „L'AIMABLE“, on page 102 in the

and etching Stich 36 (XXXVI) „LE GALANT“, on page 74

Update 06.11.2018:

Today my switch got to be a victim of the climate overheating: At 18°C and a full winter pelt Paco at handwork was as thick-skinned and inertial as an ice-bear. Called on to perform a school-halt he moved as much as a stone, so, becoming increasingly exasperated ( I had come to the stables stress-filled already) I used a more pronounced touché at his croupe, and th thin end of the switch broke off, around one year after I began to use it (s.06.03.18) .

Update 11.11.18:

Elevating the forehand higher during canter (see 19.01.2018) is a movement my horses copy more and more into the hand-work with a cavesson, and they get much fun by lifting it higher and higher (which in the saddle rather is a settling down lower on the haunches), and also the training of uprising the horse contibutes to this. At least at hand-work I call this now, according to Ridinger: “Relevated canter on half the haunches” (Schul- und Campagnepferde, 1860, Etching Nr.18).

Update 27.11.2018:

The chapter 20 of La Broue's second volume, which I'm translating at the moment, has given me so much confidence, that I succeeded today with both horses in four passades in a medium canter with increasingly better demi-voltes with elevated fore-hands, the last each wholely in 4 beats. The temperature at only 2°C helped a bit, too, I guess. If this elevating should be called „throwing the horse around on the hind legs“ as Ridinger says in one lesson, or if one should call it Sideways- Mezair, is not clear to me yet, possibly it will take some time to clearly work this lesson out properly. A very nice feeling, having understood and being able to perform and approach a sword-fight-passade!

Update 31.12.18

My new curb prototypes are ready: The first, a medium variant, which the old masters say should be used as the first bit after having the young horse accustomed to a straight curb, i call „normal“, the second I have derived from the Nestier etching, and the third has got longer lower branches and a high set coude departure (90°), which is supposed to produce a higher uprighting of the forehand.

Testing the normal variant for two weeks has been positive, because the horses accepted very well the mouthpiece (which is the same in every variant and is very mild), chewing in another way (more contentedly, I assume). But I could not really detect a higher uprighting, which should have occurred with the normal one; here I must remark, that from the old unbroken ones I‘m used to use them extremely cautiously and very often nearly contactless. Also the „Beizäumung“/“ramener“ was only the same as in my previous, straight snaffle-curb protoytype, with Picasso already wears since several months. But with an only somewhat stronger appuy Picasso with his longer and slimmer neck, sometimes shows a false kink in his neckline, which for the moment lets me abstain from it. .

Since three days now I‘m using the extremly short, and "behind the line" Nestier curb the difference at the first day was striking: Picasso wore his nose as high as if on an academic Hackamore, treading far out behind and not very comfortable to sit in trot (because of his steep hind leg pasterns). But at the beginning the chain hooks had been to short and the chain slid far to high up, away from their correct place. Today, with a better sitting curb chain and meanwhile a bit acclimatisation, it went much better: I sometimes dared to produce some more appuy; probably hereby occurred a higher uprighting of the forehand?

On the third day with the normal one already the new security mechanism had to prove its worth: while Picasso was drinking on the way home in the dusk in shallow water, I eyed suspiciously the long lower branches tilting backwards , but lost sight of the left rein on to which he promptly stepped: the security eye-bolt/splint sheared of as planned and neither horse nor rein or headpiece were damaged! For this case I had executed the rosette big enough to be able in case of emergency in the country, to strap in the rein.


My plan is, to use the Nestier-snafflecurb for 2 weeks, and if have then completely finished the production of the high uprighting snaffle curb, change to it directly from the weak one, to better feel the difference.

For those who want to build, or let build one of those snaffle curbs, I have put the specifications on the „snaffle curb“ page.

Should a more numerous interest develop, I would be interested to find someone, who will build them for us, as I imagine to test some behind the line and others.

Update 2. Jan. 2019

Having experienced the astonishing effects of the Nestier curb, I have bent the new „normal“ one 1.8 cm backwards (= 2°) behind the line. This again had a pronounced effect on my horses today: both horses could take their noses a good deal further forwards, could walk much more freely with the forelegs and had a much more relevated canter! Thus I realized, that my old, unbroken ones, which pretend to be weak ones, because their lower branches are bent back, in reality are „on the line“ or possibly even harder! Because I never had been really satisfied with these, I had ridden two times for three months with an academic hackamore, which I had to give up, because one has to use to much force which damages the rider‘s seat and his shoulder joints, and it doesn‘t work sufficiently, too. So then I had to settle for riding with hanging-through reins most of the time with these unbroken bits.

But with the new ones, which are really behind the line, for the first time real riding is possible: now I can really choose the degree of the angle of the nose line (the ramene/Beizäumung)! In the country, going normally, I can leave it higher, in collection I can increase it more. This „more“ I can now get in fine variations and can adjust it to Paco‘s narrow Ganasche/ganache or the weak mouth of Picasso! Big improvements are looming!

Update 05.Jan.19

The weak snaffle-curbs keep their promise fully: the horses are able now to lift their heads freely, and now I realize, that in all the years I to perished in my endeavours, to lift Picasso‘s head: the former curbs prevented that completely: my horse „took his head between his legs“! Now I can, after only two days, let my rein-hand sink about a hand‘s breadth, while using the „Normal“ with 1.8cm behind the line of the banquet. Only now can the uprighting of the forehand occur, because the horse is able to lift his head, and additionally this is supported by 45° coude-departure, if the rider shortens the reins ultra-softly: I‘m very happy!

Update 06.01.2019

For the first time since I began very many months ago to train the Sideways Picasso had today in the riding hall an uprighting of the forehand! Because this uprighting is the indispensable premise for a setting onto the haunches, and the former curbs prevented this, today was the first time I had  the distinct feeling: this is right! Before I had tried everything imaginable, to lift the head: a Touchée on the croupe or under the mouth for example, but everything produced only a very laboorios lifting of his head and this only for half a step, at maximum for a whole step, and was gone completely thereafter. The collected canter in the hall today was changed completely, too, and so much, that, though I tried three times to lenghten the strides, Picass didn’t know what I wanted: he seldom never before had cantered in a collected way with his head up! Now the improvements are accellerating greatly!

Update 19.Jan.2019


Another involuntary curb-test!

Being in the country with Picasso we met a dog-owner with two bull-terriers, roaming freely. As the dogs noticed us, they began running towards us. The owner might have been able to grab the bigger one at his collar, but she stopped her movement (maybe she was afraid to be bitten?). I quickly weighed my chances in the presence of two aggressive looking fight-dogs to gallop away: but on the right was a steep overgrown trench, on the the left a field with heavy soil, and the dog owner surely would have been outraged, if we had stormed in full gallop past her; also on every escape route we would come to a tarred road, which might make a slippery gallop... So I decided to stay and try to stop the dogs with shouting, but same as with the shouting of the owner, this didn't produce any reaction at all. Then I tried to impress the ever more approaching dogs with my riding switch, which unfortunately is very weak: no reaction at all again! Then I tried to reach and impress at least the smaller one on my left side, but holding the switch in my right hand, I had to bow very far to the left side and in this moment the dog charged to us, so that Picasso sidestepped to the right which heaved me out of the saddle. When I was down the dogs charged again for Picasso who ripped the reins out of my hand and galloped away, the dogs hunting him for half a kilometer. I don't dare to imagine what would have happened, if the bridge had been as slippery frozen as two days later!

Only at the next bridling up (Picasso had been received and saddled-down by friendly helpers at the stables, when arriving home alone) I noticed, that both lower branches had been bent considerably. I could bend them fairly easy with my hands back into an acceptable shape (which would suffice for a safe return home, if happening in the country), and reached the original shape completely in a bench vise.

My feeling is, that this bending in such a case of emergency will take at least a little pressure off the horse's mouth, so I will nor enforce the side parts/shanks of my snaffle-curb (for the normal, longitudinal pressure in normal riding these parts are sufficiently strong).

05.02.2019: Third break in the development of my riding

Since my new curbs have debunked all my former “backbended” ones as falsely constructed curbs it becomes increasingly clearer, that this has become the third great break in my striving to become a good rider. The first one had been the reading of Bents book “Akademische Reitkunst für den anspruchsvollen Freizeitreiter”, from this point on I knew:”This is right way of riding for me!”, the second the discovery of the many advantages of the Gueriniere-seat: from that time I dared to say: “Now I can really ride a horse!” Since my horses wear the new, really weak ones, I say: “Now my horses finally are able to move academically correct!” They lift their forelegs much higher and more spaciously, don‘t lie on the forehand anymore, Picasso‘s trot has become far more comfortable, the canter has improved drastically and the sideways has improved so dramtically, that Picaaso during hand-work with the Nestier-snafflecurb today lifted his outer foreleg in the same extremely high bow over his inner leg in exactly the same way as the etchings iog Gueriniere show us.also! Paco’s starting of the canter feels like the carriere of La Broue’s horse on the title-page of my translation. All in all they transmit the feeling to be „free horses“ much more than before. Often now I’m thinking: here the Spanish ancestry of my Knabstruppers comes to the light. I hope very much, that from now on a low Terre-A-Terre can develop, which I‘m convinced the old curbs had precluded!

Because of the far softer mouthpieces meanwhile I’m able to actually negotiate with the horse’s mouth, as not every pulling at the reins leads promptly to a defensive action any more, and there are many different grades of the appuy deployable now.

As my new snaffle-curbs now permit the lifting of of my horse‘s napes, and only the noses, but not the complete heads are going downwards, for the first time the question appears: how much elevating of the forehand/the nape do I want/ am I allowed to permit/ do I need? And when or in which lesson?

La Broue describes the two very wrong positions of the heads for the collection: firstly: when the horse holds his nose into the wind/ holds the nose on the same height as the ears; and secondly: when the horse has his chin on the breast. He wants the horses to „hold neck and head in their middle and most beautiful position“. At the moment I believe that in high collection in walk and trot the most beautiful position of both my horses lies in the region of 10-20° before the perpendicular (more of course when they elevate their forehand). This position occurs even with the very weak Nestier-snaffle-curb.

I want that a high elevation of the forehand gives the hind the possibility to tread further under the horse's belly. One should not permit a strong pressure on the horse‘s ear-salivary glands in the gap behind the ganaches-bones and has to adjust the shape of the curb accordingly, but also the way of using it to the anatomical conformation of the specific horse. For this reason I want to avoid a strong pulling at the lower branches of the curb: the horse shall take his posture freely and easily.

Because I have my hands still full with the evaluation of the Nestier- and the „Normal“-snaffle-curb and am overjoyed about the „super“-uprighting by these already, I still haven‘t got to finish the „High Uprighting“ curb. And for now I actually can imagine, that variations of the Nestier-snaffle-curb will get to be the mainstream in the future for most of the academic riders: but who knows, what is still waiting for me to be found out?

Update 23.02.19: Construction deficit in my Nestier-curb

During riding out yesterday I noticed a change in Paco’s collected canter while trying to get him into a Terre-A-Terre, and after halting him, I saw that at the right side of his Nestier-curb both (!) chains hung down loosely! This had occurred thus:

Paco is one of the horses which are so strong-backed (s. La Broue, Vol. II, Chap. 23), that they have to shudder themselves at the first canter strides for 3 or four times: he does this by elevating his forehand more and then wringing neck and head snake-like. Sometimes with this, he throws the right rein (or reins, if having a cavesson,too) over his head onto his left side, so the rider has both (resp. the four) reins on the left side of his neck, and none on the right side! With the old, too strong curbs often he even threw the lower branches up, leaving them standing upwards (!), the chain completely loose, and when the rider pulled at the reins, this led to a pulling upwards of nose and head, instead of downwards. Not seldom he achieves to bring the curb-chain out of the chain-hook, leaving it hanging down uselessly on the right side of the curb. This had happened yesterday again: and if the chain is not there anymore, the curb falls through, meaning, its lower branches wander back up, forming a straight line with the reins. Unfortunately some days before I had been testing some safety linchpins and had forgotten to replace the last, heavily tested one with a fresh one. Because now the direction of pull put the force directly onto the linchpins, this weakened one broke easily and the Kloben with the rein-ring attached slid out. The chainette, which is simply thrown over the Kloben in this prototype slid off and hung down on the right side also!

For riding on I then fastened the rein to the rosette, but luckily noticed after hooking in the curb-chain, that now the upper branches tended to fall inside to the teeth (the chainette, which’s purpose is to prevent just this, not being there). So I decided to take the curb chain off its hook again and ride home by using the mouthpiece just like a simple snaffle-curb.

Anyway this construction I have not found satisfactory already, as the Klobens rotate not smooth enough, because the chainette tends to get rotated on them, when the reins try to get untwisted.

Update 24.03.2019

For two weeks now I have in use the snaffle-curb with the long lower branches, which I had dubbed „High Elevating“. On this right from the start I had brought back the Klobenloch 2.5cm behind the line of the banquett, approximating 5°.

The first impression of a very comfortable, very calm leading of the reins has proved correct all the time the horses are more placid and steady-going, the curb feels gentle.

(A construction deficit is the positioning of the upper foam-chainette, which height I had to guess and which now lies very close to the mouth, which the horses don’t mind at all).

With this curb the horses collect themselves easier and better, without a pronounced tightening of the reins, and so it seems the term “higher uprighting” does not mean a pushing higher of the horse’s nape by the rotation of the coude, as I had assumed, but herewith occurs an increased treading under of the hind feet, together with a more forward and upwards movements of the forelegs , which results in a lightening in the forehand.

This one is by far my most liked snaffle-curb now! After some more some weeks I will bring the Klobenloch even further behind the line of the banquett, to ar. 5cm.

Update 02.April 2019

As I’m training the elevated Demi-Voltes (with demi-courbettes [=mezair] and courbettes) more and more, I gradually come to realize the importance of NOT to imagine them as turns on the hind legs: because only by explicitly demanding of the horse’s hind legs to go/jump sideways on a small circle, it will stay within the lesson, which means it will not fall out of the tact or out of the direction of the movement.

Having gained a correct sideways-walk on the Demi-Volte, sometimes it will fall of its own volition into one or more little canter strides or Terre-a-Terre jumps, which is to be welcomed very much as a preparation fpr the elevated sideways;  also afterwards it will much easier be able to do very tight voltes (ab. 1 – 2m diameter of the circle of the hind legs) in a very collected school-canter.

Because for many years I had equaled carrees and angled voltes, and had their corners imagined and demanded as turns on the hind legs on one spot , I now have to concentrate hard to leave this pattern in favor of this small circle of the hind feet and hold this.

One of the causes for this mistake is Gueriniere’s unclear sketch: in the etching “Les Voltes” (normal voltes) on top we see the Carrees, which he executes really like a turn on the hind legs in the corners, in which the hind feet stay on the same spot. Though in the “voltes ordinaires” (the norrnal voltes) the positioning of the hind feet are depicted fairly well, this is not the case with the depiction of the line which the hind legs draw on the ground while stepping through the corner, which in reality has to be a small quarter-circle, matching the quarter-circle of the forelegs.

So it might be better not to call the “volte ordinaire” an “angular volte”, because its corners have to be distinctly rounded; better might be the name “volte with straight sides” or “quadratic volte” ( this would really be the “squaring of the circle” at last… )

If the rider has in mind Gueriniere’s flawed sketch of the volte ordinaire, he is rather “riding the figure”, but if he has in mind the correctly rounded corners, he rather will be “riding the lesson”.

If the horse falsifies this little circle of the hind legs in the (demi-)volte and crawls back into the direction of the turning on the hind feet, La Broue and his successors call this “acculer” ( tighten, diminish, narrow) for which I still haven’t found a German word, let alone an English one: so maybe we have to introduce it into our academic language? > “Don’t accule!”

To emphasize the importance of this small inner circle of the hind legs I think the term “basis circle” would be appropriate. Then we could say “ Don’t loose the basis!”

Update 13.April 2019

The snaffle-curb „high uprighting“ is built too weak, after some time the lower branches begin to bend, the stainless steel is too soft. Would one bend it back into the right shape too often, fatigue breakage will surely occur. I will have to augment them.

Possibly this snaffle-curb‘s name is only appropriate if used on horses with an ideal ganache. In his dictionnaire Garsault defines the ganache as „the groove, which is produced by the ganache bones, the extensions of the lower jaw ridges“. A horse would be the more unable to bridle towards the narrower the ganache is.

Have read here again, how the art rider is supposed to slacken the reins and finally followed this advice, which most old masters give: the rider seizes the end of the reins with the switch hand, lets off the reins in the rein hand and lets the swift hand sink onto the horses neck. With this there occurs a palpable relaxation in the longitudinal axis of the horse, whose body posture had been asymmetric before by the asymmetric seat of the rider‘s posture because of the one-handed leading of the reins. Which strengthens my belief, that I’M right in changing every day the seat: one day the right-hander seat, the next day the left-hander seat, for a more equal gymnasticication of both sides (of horse and rider).

Update Easter 2019: The Perfect Seat

Turning once in a while the switch-hand like the old Fritz did, with holding the switch downwards, gives the rider a good feeling for the correct forward advance of the rider’s pelvis and belly. After some weeks one has only to imagine this movement of the switch-hand to achieve the same effect with bearing the switch upwards also. At some point, while having his legs a little before the horse and holding the hands a little supinated and bent in the carpal joints a little, like Prizelius, one achieves the perfect seat: now the rider’s breastbone has approached his chin and his spine is standing in the correct way and the rider feels like an important person , just like they danced a menuet in those times, with a correspondent grave

emanation, also into his inner self, which produces a very high contentedness in him!

I hope I will learn to use this for me quite unusual seat in every horse-riding situation, as my normal body posture outside the saddle this is not; maybe this will change, too, for better?

Update 26.04.19

As I have yet to reinforce the insertion of the lower branches of the "High Uprighting" snaffle-curb, I used the shorter one, which I had called "Normal", today on Picasso (Paco is away on a breeding job for some weeks), and the difference was very palpable: Picasso always plays very much with the mouthpiece, and now every movement of his mouth came directly as tugs into my hands. In canter I had even, to protect his mouth, to let my hand go forwards distinctively at every jump, instead of letting it stay calmly above his withers! This proves the old masters, for instance Solleysel, right in their admonishing: the shorter the lower branch, the ruder the agency! Only after more than 30 min we both had got accustomed halfway to this effect!

Update 06.07.19: The Proud Seat

The perfect seat I call for some weeks now "the proud seat", which I feel describes it very appropriately.

While using it the rider feels like expressing by it to himself, but also to his horse and the people he meets along the way, a special importance, purpose or social status which leads to the rider's feeling, that the horse riding itself becomes to be secondary or tertiary and is carried out casually by the way. He feels like sitting on a horse which takes him wherever he wants, in which gait he wants, by minimal aides and sometimes executing prestigiously an elevating of the forehand at the slightest demand. The emphasis here lies on the word "on", because now he lets himself carried stately, sitting almost "above" the horse, trusting it fully not do do something foolish, and even if, is confident that he will experience no harm.

In this the rider has to be careful not to overdo it and look affected, but to sit naturally as the old masters demand.

For this posture on the horse the rider needs a lot of trust in his horse, on the other hand this trust will be produced and enhanced by using this seat, the more frequently and in the more different riding situations he applies it.

Update 26.10.19: Signature lesson of de la Broue  

My favourite lesson is the one on the first eight sketches in chapter 33 of the second volume by de la Broue: here he proves himself not only as very good horse-pedagogue, but also a brilliant didact of humans, as he has positioned this chapter strategically very well: as he explains that these first eight sketches are not only valuable in the far proceeded training, but might also be used at the beginning. He knew, that a demanding and eager rider would devour at the first reading his first two books in very little time, and then, nearly at finishing the first two volumes, would stumble over this lesson, just before really starting the training a la Broue and Pignatelli. Hadn’t I understood the books not over years, but, at least roughly, within only some weeks, too, we (my horses and I) possibly might not have worked out at first the „passade en pirouette“ with a turning on the hindlegs in two to three Mezair-beats (which might be called „only“ a war manege), but from the start striven for a demi-volte after the „vraye escole“, the true school, in three Courbettes or Croupades or Kaprioles with an inner circle.

This lesson explains to both, horse and rider very beautifully, that and how one shall and can achieve this smaller inner circle, and that a sideways on the volte is composed of two main movements, which progressively merge into each other.


For me this is the signature-lesson of La Broue, which shows his phenomenal understanding for the psychic and bodily learning processes of riders and horses the most clearly of all lessons, and if I were a horse-riding instructor, I would choose the first of the four sketches in number 7 as the emblem of my riding school. By the way: La Broue developed this lesson only after publishing the first edition in 1593, and added the sketches two to eight only in the following editions.

Update 29.10./03.11.19

The academic ceding of the reins (see 13.April 19) has fitted in as an important measure into my riding units. If it is used on a straight cross country stretch, one can feel exactly, how the horse bends away from the rein-hand side over the straight stance into the switch-hand side bending (which is now additionally the new rein-side) the croup wanders from the rein-hand side to the switch-hand side; as the horse then walks with thrown-away reins, the croupe doesn’t come over as much as in collection

When I did this in canter on a slightly elevating stretch in the country for the first time, Picasso during the intermediate phase shot forwards for two canter strides, which felt like racing off out of control, and only when the switch hand reached its new place over the withers he cantered normal and calm again. This showed me very clearly, how much the croupe is held in subjection by the one-handed leading of the reins (as La Broue would express it). On a 40 minute ride cross-country this is a very long strain for joints and muscles! This explains,too, why the tambourine-swivel feels stronger to the rein-hand side than to the switch-hand side: to the rein-hand side it is already pre-swiveled 10°: if I add 15° more, these 25° are very clearly noticeable; on the rein-hand side but the croupe is -10° pre-swiveled: if I add 15°, the result is meagre 5°, a little bit more than putting the horse straight!

Meanwhile I’m riding so, that the rein-hand is used only while performing a lesson, and I cede the reins in the academic way afterwards. This way the contrary side of the horse in fact is not worked really as much, but at least the rein-hand side is relieved a good deal, nevertheless. Dependent of the energy-level of rider and/or horse for example while riding cross-country I use the rein-hand only in 30-50% of the time now.

Out of the change of sides of the croupe due to the academic way of giving the reins there arises an interesting question: If the horse in the left hand canter changes the croup more to the right side, we cannot call this outside-canter: we might have to invent a new word for this situation: “S-Canter”, maybe (because the horse’s spine then is s-shaped or snake-shaped)? And we have to find out, if this is harmful for the horse resp. the riding: for a longer time surely not!

Also the effect in the other gaits have to be considered: if one is riding with the rein-hand on the outside, the horse at least is somewhat less bent to the inside.

At the moment therefore I have the opinion, that an important reason for Gueriniere and Nestier to take the right rein with the switch hand is to straighten the croupe, ergo the prevention or at least diminishing of the s-form of the horse’s back by the now changed, somewhat more symmetric rider seat, which, if successful, leads to less weight on the left seat bone of the rider, which means to more weight on the right side, which in turn leads to the desired right-bending.For this the switch-hand has to be lowered considerably, as otherwise the right shoulder of the rider would lift high up.

When I used the one-handed leading of the reins for the first time, I was exhilarated by the “automatic” collection, but, as nice as it is, that while leading the reins one-handed the horse gets automatically a little collected, which dampens a to strong running away of the horse a little bit: for me in the past it had been still another drag-factor, in addition to my wrong seat on forehand with pronated hands, the rounded shoulders, often looking down, and the precarious seat by holding the legs behind the horse, and on top of all that the wrong curbs, which “pulled the horses’ heads between their legs”! No wonder, that I had developed a permanently working leg, otherwise the horse would surely have stopped!

All of these had been the main reasons for getting used to riding mostly with hanging-through reins, which is getting very hard to change now, when an uprighting of the horse is possible: though actually I had hoped, to be able to dispense with a real appuy, I am realizing now bitterly, that then the rein-aides are far too imprecise and vague for the higher lessons to be carried out neatly.

Update 16.11.19

Finally a correct sideways is possible: until now I never had a mirror in the riding arena, and always the sure feeling, that my horses during the sideways were always falling outwards with the hindquarter, which induced additionally to the phase on two legs, a phase on three legs, thus being incorrect. For some days now I can see my mirror-image over a length of 10m, and am thus far better able to correct my horses. Together with the taking the switch-hand side rein, resp. using a deterrmined tambourin-swivel, finally after all theses months a uniformly correct sideways is emerging, wherein the horse never has three legs on the ground simultaneously!

Also the horse on his own volition elevates his forehand once after three or four steps in this correct sideways, which is wished for. Now it emerges, that one has to envoisage the sideways rather in an angle of 85°, that means between 80° and 90°, where the greater mistake is an angle of ,say, 70°!

This means that one still has to start the training of the sideways (if one needs the help of a wall) in the croup-au-mur after Gueriniere, but having shown the horse the principle of the movement, must turn it around vis-a-vis the mirror (= the wall), maintaining a distance to the wall of at least 1.5m (to avoid it stepping on its leg), as one is obliged to control the movement in a mirror!

Update 28.11.19:

Since I had been able to control for several times, how a real sideways is producible, I feel like Fiaschi, who in 1556 felt that this lesson is so important, that he put it before the second volume, which describes the riding lessons:

It is the fundamental lesson for educating a really turnable horse and therefore for the academic art of riding, which, among other things, is built on this turnability. Meanwhile it became clear, that the angle of the horse cannot be stable at exactly 85°, as by the different movements of shoulders and haunches it always oscillates: 80° to 95° seem to be acceptable without loosing the two-beated rhythm.

Though I’m still not able to feel and define the exact times, my impression now is, that Cavendish might actually be right in his observation: “If in this lesson the forehand is wide, this is a terre-a-terre of the forehand; if on the contrary the hindlegs are wide, this then is a terre-a-terre of the hindlegs”, as the horse sometimes after three or four sideways-steps lifts its forehand, which naturally is only possible by the simultaneous support of both hindlegs.

Update 05.12.19:    95°

Meanwhile it becomes clear that an angle of 95° to 100° is not a mistake at all: if the horse let‘s its croupe „overtake“, and is holding its rump and neck still straight in ar. 85°, this is a wider placing of the hind legs and thus the correct preparation for a beat in Terre-a-Terre, which is to be welcomed actually!

Update 24.12.2019:

Meanwhile I get a foreboding of what La Broue in chapter 37 of his second volume might mean when he writes: “The art-rider can appreciate the real value of the walk only after having trained all the other lessons in this second volume”. Though I’m still far away from having tried or even trained everything successfully, already still it is thus, that the sideways-walk (if the horse in full willingness to perform) operates like a toggle: as soon as one has, shortly after beginning a riding-unit, done only some steps in the sideways-walk in both directions, be it straight or on an academic volte =volte in sideways-walk), possibly one or two times triggered one beat of terre-a-terre or mezair) the horse goes like by itself and much more collected and cadenced at everything I want from him, and it actually feels as if this voluntariness “comes out of the horse’s heart” as La Broue describes it. Here the lightness La Broue speaks about so often really seems to be starting, and the absence of coercion.

Slowly now differences are emerging between types of the sideways Fiaschi and La Broue (renaissance-riding) practice and that of Gueriniere (baroque-riding) , whereas Cavendish’s lies somewhere in between. Gueriniere rides the sideways at a lower angle of 60° to 80°, and he abstains from demanding a two-beated gait, where the horse never has three feet on the ground simultaneously, also he recommends his sideways in the trot, and he bends the horse during the execution. He warns explicitly against letting the hind legs lead/overtake ("entabler", from the ital."intavolare"), as this ruined the hocks.

As the sideways in walk at an angle lower 80° often leads to a dragging of the outer hind leg, the gymnastic value seems to me reduced, at least for the hindquarter: possibly the value of this type was only achieved during execution in the trot or passage ? (which I still haven’t tried, and La Broue nearly never recommends).

Possibly Gueriniere's instruction: ”A not bent horse is not proper in a riding arena”, if he himself, too, saw it as a dogma, led him to recommend a disregarding of La Broue’s recommendation to keep rump and neck straight? (The reverse conclusion actually of his “dogma” would mean a prohibition of any straightening of the horse inside a riding-arena!). Though for a rider, who constantly adheres to the wall, this “bending-obligation” in most cases is quite sensible, but not anymore, after he has succeeded to release himself from the wall, when it will be on the contrary very useful, trying to achieve a straight Straight, which in leading one-handed (resp. 3:1) is not easily to arrive at.

Cavendish’s lies between both types of the sideways: He speaks of the two-beated walk, during which never three feet of the horse are on the ground simultaneously (which according to experiences is only possible with an angle over 80°), but he bends the horses instead of holding their rump and neck straight as his predecessors demanded. Unfortunately the depictions of the riders in his book are mistake-prone, so we only have one quite reliable sketch, which shows a 85° degree angle on the volte, just as with La Broue.

So possibly for the moment it might be the best to follow the recommendations of each respective master exactly: If one wants to train a renaissance-sideways (as I do at the moment) one should in all points listen to La Broue; if it shall be a baroque-sideways, then in all points to Gueriniere.

My feeling is, that an occasional, single step overtaking of the croupe as the preparation for a terre-a-terre beat doesn’t create difficulties for the horse, if one resumes afterwards the normal 85° angle, and hock problems hereby will not occur (always provided, the horse is fully grown up and undamaged!).

Update 15. Mai 2020

A big step forward again: Having achieved a little improvement of my seat for some weeks now by imagining my body-/hand stance to be somewhat similar to a ballet dancer's, holding her hands circular forwards-downwards, with fingertips nearly touching themselves, I now have found a key information in the 3rd volume of the „L‘Arte del Cavallo“, written by Luigi di Santa-Paulina in 1696, who says that with the rein fist „the first finger-joints under the nails [= DIP-joints] shall point to the rider‘s belly and the second joints [= PIP-joints] of both fists shall point to each other. This is actually a clarification of the stance Prizelius will show later in his picture. Holding the hands this way brings automatically the rider’s shoulder-joints slightly, but distinctively backwards; his arms lift themselves a bit, and a little tensioning on the ulnar side of his lower arm, rim of the hand and of his little finger occurs. The rider‘s belly automatically comes forward a bit and keeps this position effortlessly and automatically; and a slight, but distinctive reclining of the rider‘s upper body occurs, which can be maintained with little effort. Now the balls of the rider’s feet hold contact to the stirrup’s plates much more steadily.The horse snorts freely and moves relaxedly and joyfully! One actually sits like the riders on many pictures in Gueriniére‘s book!


Update 17.Mai 2020 :

The  Santa-Paulina-positioning of the hands emerges as THE game-changer: my attempts for a good Terre-a-Terre sideways on the volte (see Solleysel picture) are nearing their goal far more now.

Cavendish writes: Is the horse at the outer rein, this is canter, is it at the inner rein, it's Terre-a-Terre.

He also says that the horse in the Terre-a-Terre on the academic volte makes four lines: The inner foreleg makes the outermost one, the outer foreleg the second one, the inner hindleg the third and the outer hindleg the fourth one.

This rider's stance in this new seat by the way is the same which the proud Roman produces by wearing his toga over one lower arm: hereby achieving an upright, dignified posture through pointing the  PIP-joints of his fingers in a right angle to the side and lifting forward his lower arm just a bit. He achieves a floating gait, just as the Santa-Paulina stance a floating seat of the rider, which results in a completely new, effortless appuy to the stirrup plates.

Now the pictures in the Gueriniére make much more sense to me: the depiction of the sideways as a Croupe-au-mur shows for his rein-hand exactly this stance, and now I think that the rider's PIP-joints are intended to point in the 90°-angel to the side,  maintaining the Santa-Paulina-position of his hands.

At first I had feared that my tambourine-swivel might not work any longer with this positioning of the hands, but to the contrary it works smoothly and precisely just after 1/5 of the swivel-way: fine and easy, riding deluxe really!

Nestier also lets himself depicted with the PIP-joints pointing squarely in a 90° angle directly to the viewer, and several riders on the Finds-page also. 

Update 21.05.20:


Now I feel ashamed a little before my horses because I for the last years I sat on them like a wooden block!

They snort happily much more than before, and slowly I find out how the higher- or lower-positioning of my hands works out: they must be lowered perpendicularly to produce an increase in the horse's step-length and hereby its speed over the ground, for this it helps to increasingly supinate the hands (the DIP-finger-joints shall point to the rider's breast, this results in an increasing rotation the deeper they wander,and the more the horse lengthens its steps).

Some millimeters of difference in the height result in some centimeters more or less in step-length.
That is just the same way the old masters have always described it, but with the false holding of my head and body this never didn't work!

Now the rein-length is corrected rarely, that means now I don't have to constantly let them out and shorten them again, which produces a feel of a much more quiet and steady seat now, out of which one is able to do many things tuned very finely. Even my Pinky-Push seems to me a coarse aid now!   

Now it becomes even more clear, why the old masters always warned against appearing arrogant or uppity: one sits already self-assured and portly on his horse, so even a little lifting of the rider's nose or curling of his mouth could be repulsive for other people.

We'll see what more we'll discover! It remains thrilling!

Update 23.05.2020:


It almost feels like a déjàvu to me: Just as from 2012 on, after its rediscovery and definition of the school-halt it resurfaced on one old depiction after the other: now I detect everywhere the rediscovered “Santa-Paulina-bearing of the hands” , which means it was used overall then. Only because we didn’t have a term and its exact definition couldn’t we discern it, despite being there directly before our eyes in nearly every picture! It was the precondition to enable the academic art of riding for Cavendish, Pluvinel, Gueriniere, Eisenberg, Prizelius, and all the others during that time, which ended about 1800 (the rider-statues at the palace of Brunswick,Germany, show the change of the positioning of the hands accordingly).



Update 06. June 2020:


The Santa-Paulina positioning of the hands, which from now on I will call “old academic hand-positioning” proves its value more and more: finest movements of the rider’s hands create prompt reactions: the Pinky-Push, the Pinky-Pull, the outwards rotation of the thumb for turning the horse: evrythings goes lightly as a feather, but therefore must be dosed very carefully: “millimetre-fine riding”!

Having trained this for some time, as a pedestrian one can reconstruct perfectly how this is working on the horse’s back: if I walk like a Roman with a toga over my bent in a 90° angle right lower arm, producing a fist and letting the middle joint of the middle finger point to the left side like an arrow-point, the muscles at my thoracic spine tighten and my walk gets floating (on horseback this means that I would be sitting perfectly in the middle between forehand and hind, in equilibrium).

If now I do the Pinky-Push, i.e. tilt the fist so, taht the little finger gets pushed forwards, I feel “falling” slightly forwards, my belly comes forward a bit and my steps are becoming longer (the horse would make longer steps, too, and get faster).

If in the contrary I do the Pinky-Pull, i.e rotate my fist so, that the little finger gets pulled backwards to my body, my steps are shortening, because my equilibrium relocates backwards a bit and my belly retracts (the horse’s steps would shorten, too: it becomes more collected).

(On a horse one can think the Pinky-Pull in another way, too: as a pointing of the finger end-joints to the rider’s breast, while holding the hands low).

If I rotate the fist so, that the thumb points to the right, as a pedestrian I feel a surprisingly strong relocating of my equilibrium to the left, and vice versa by rotating it to the left.

In the saddle additionally a slight supination of the rein-hand is necessary, too (which I mirror with the switch-hand for a more symmetrical seat). The supination is necessary because it is impossible to hold the rein-hand exactly over the withers, and deviations always tend to the rein-hand side. Therefore the switch-side rein always must be relaxed a bit, and the other one tensed a bit.

Really difficult for me (probably because of slight torsion of my spine) is riding in the left-hander’s seat: in this case my right-hand is the rein-hand, and it is quite difficult for me to let my middle-finger middle-joint point 90° to the left like an arrow-point; but if I concentrate hard on it, my horse always thanks me with many snortings!

The velocity of the horse now can be regulated with a higher or lower postioning of the rider’s hands over the withers: a very low position plus Pinky-Push means a maximum of forward-going (the rider’s belly comes forward) accompanied by a more deeper positioning of the horse’s head.

A very high position of the rider’s hands together with a Pinky-Pull results in maximal collection with a higher head of the horse (s. statuette of Henry IV.)

For now I’m still using “kissing PIPs”, i.e. holding both fists so near to each other, that the middle-finger’s middle-joints are touching and supporting each other.

Update 18. June 2020:

The Santa-Paulina way of holding the hands makes the horse so wonderfully balanced and free in the forehand, that I often I’m not able to accompany the horse’s movements. Very much fun at the moment gives me the carriere: CORRECTION: I start it by giving the calf-aides for a levade on the same spot four times in succession: the first two with a slight pinky-Pull, and the third already with a pronounced pinky-push as soon as the horse lifts its forefeet from the ground: this results still in a third levade, but then, at the fourth request, the horse shoots forwards with such force, that often I bend the rear gallery, being happy that it is there, because otherwise I might be sliding behind the saddle: so powerful is the starting! Unfortunately not seldom I’m surprised so much, that I fall the horse into the mouth: for that reason I will try in future to do the levades and the following carriere with hanging-through reins.


Update in the 2. month after finding the grail (aG)

Regarding my riding a new time-reckoning has begun for me, now I measure it in “months aG”.

Again I have to modify many things, same as at the beginning of my search for the old academic seat in the spring 2016. Though fortunately I can keep the way to position the legs I’m using for years now (“a bit before the horse”), it will take some months at least to get using the new positioning of the hands automatically.

Every single riding situation needs to be adjusted, every aid must be scrutinized and often be used in a new way and new combination.

Because my seat has become much calmer and steadier all this works out very easily and elegantly (if I’m concentrated enough): more and more the horse is turning below me.

The horse’s movements can be be controlled much better: wide and collected gaits join each other softly and promptly, and now the pinky-push even prevents Paco’s stumbling while cross-country, which he sometimes is prone to. 

Now other things, too, gain a new importance, because they become possible:
for example the instruction of the Santa-Paulinas (and of most of the old masters) to always look between the ears of the horse, which I often still don’t heed during canter, because still I’m looking into the circle (like during the Garrocha work). This alone changes the application of the aids distinctly.

Exceptions of this rule are: while passing high guests one is supposed to look at them; and riding as part of a formation, one has to look around to control the distances to the other riders.
 And Cavendish writes, that in the Terre-a-Terre the rider shall not look between the ears of the horse as usually, but instead “you shall look on the inside of the turn, to the inside of the horse’s head, which keeps your hand steady”.”

By the way: the old masters say, that a Terre-a-Terre does make sense only on an academic volte or circle, but not in the straight-forwards; Cavendish writes also, that the rider for a Terre-a-Terre shall step a bit more into the outer stirrup, making the outer side of his body a bit concave, and that he should hold his hands low.

Update 18.07.20


Having followed for some time the advice to always look between the ears of the horse, one notices quite fast,  how  confused the former giving of the aids had been: while in horse-jumping I had success with the rule, over the jump already to look in the direction of the next hurdle (and by this rotate my head and a bit my shoulders,too) for the horse to land in the correct canter or in the training of the garrocha turning my whole upper body into the circle, now an infinitely finer riding surfaces. It starts with adjusting firstly the horse's head onto the circle-line and the rider then only minimally turning his shoulders according to the allowance of the circle-line as result of the looking-through-the-ears of the horse.  

With the new Santa-Paulina hand-holding the horse bears and moves the horse itself much more freely, and holds its head itself not only regarding its height but also regarding the sides: did it put to one side once, it stays there on its own so long, until the rider orders the horse explicitly to change it to the other side. To achieve this, the rider can by laying his calf alongside/before the gird or softly tapping it there; or by showing the switch on the outside of the horse's neck at the future outside. (While in the right-hander's seat this sometimes actually leads to me taking the right rein softly with my right hand additionally to the showing of the switch at the outside, just as Nestier and Gueriniére depicted it).    

Now we have a reverse order: Now at first the horse places its head and bends itself and only thereafter follows the minimal, barely palpable accompanying turning of the rider's upper body as a result of the  looking-through-the-ears of the horse. 
The turning to a side I had until now initiated as follows: by a complete turn of the rein fist's thumb to the new outside and a following, distinct pushing of the outer (from itself away bending) rein, accompanied by a distinct Rotation of my upper body with looking inside the volte/circle; but now, with the new holding of the hands, I have to  indicate this Out-rotating of the rein-fist only minimally, sometimes even only think of it! A support occurs now by a little lifting of my inner seat bone and the horse yields too these aides promptly and smoothly: the weight aides get much more imortant now in guiding the horse!

For the other riders in the arena,alas, its getting harder to discern my intentions now: the have to adjust somewhat, as now I will now change direction (in their eyes quite suddenly) without having looked before into the new direction! The will have to learn, that from now on the horse will always go only into the direction it is looking to. (Exceptions naturally are the sideways in walk or terre-a-terre, wherein the horse's head will be put only minimally into the direction it goes and the rider always looks out of the circle).

Update 01.08.2020

An important aim of the Santa-Paulina-Handhaltung is removing the rider’s upper arms from his breast cage. To begin with, he lets the finger’s middle-joints point exactly towards each other like arrow-points, taking care not to bend his hands in the carpal joint, but even lets a little overextension (20°) occur,  only then results a correct sideways distancing of the rider’s upper arm, leading to  a freely swinging of the rider’s upper body, resulting in the best uprighting of the rider's body.

To prove that the achieved distance from the breast-cage is sufficient, one can intermittently use the “Old Fritz’s” bearing of the switch hand (Gueriniére also shows this), and hereby find out. if both shoulder-joints are led backwards to the same degree: now the best posture of the rider is achieved.

From "Ecole de cavalerie", Guerniére, 1733;
(notice also  the length of the lower branches of this snafflecurb, which prevents the horse coming behind the line > thus it will not "roll itself up").

Free thoughts about William Cavendish‘s way to use the cavecon


Every rider concerning himself with the increasing knowledge of the old academic art of riding learns very early in this process, that today every kind of auxiliary reins are used abusively and harmingly.
Therefore our reflexively “Auxiliary reins? Oh no!” is completely right and valuable. Seeing now Cavendish commending his way to use a sort of draw reins, and even calling them the core of his “New Method”, our first reaction is: “That barbarian, he must not have known better at that times!”.

The riding masters who came after him thought otherwise though: I know at least six etchings of Ridinger, three with Eisenberg and eight with Andrade and also two corrected depictions of Solleysel, where his method is used for the early teaching of their horses, and Gueriniére also mentions it in his book, without any criticism (Though Gueriniére disapproves of the use of a cavecon by his riding pupils at all, because they made the valuable and highly educated horses to draw at the rider’s hands and so spoiled them). All of these riders counted as the best  of their times, all treated their horses with extreme care: could all of them have erred completely?

Taking a step back, and allowing the thought that this auxiliary rein might exceptionally be appropriate in some situations, it becomes clear at first, that this one is, unlike the ones of today, is not fastened at the mouth-bit, but at the cavecon’s rings, so the effect is another one completely and has no impact on the horse’s mouth at all.

La Broue 60 years before had pointed out explicitly that the cavecon is only used to explain to the horse the will of the rider, therefore every action of the cavecon’s cord had to followed promptly by the equivalent action of the curb-reins: for him the riding with a cavecon alone, without a curb-bit, was detrimental and therefore should never be done. The early teaching of the horse alone by a curb though is impossible without quite a bit troubling and hardening of the horse’s mouth.

One of Cavendish’s reasons for his new way to use the cavecon is, that some horses can overpower the rider’s hand and put their head not there where the rider wants it (which leads to counter-pressure of the rider, which destroys his seat seat completely and makes a fine and balanced riding impossible).

Other reasons are the variations of the directions of impact, which for a specific lesson would be more appropriate. The base for all variants is the fastening of one end of the cavecon-cord at the pommel of the saddle (fix end), leading the cord then behind the rim of the front gallery of his saddle, whereunder it emerges and runs to the inner cavecon’s ring, forming a horizontal line more or less. The single variant of this end is to pull it out from behind the gallery and let it fall slack, only to stow the cavecon’s rein of the other side (the new inner one) behind the the other front-gallery.
The other end, which I call the variable one, he holds in his hand, or fastens it directly at the pommel of the saddle or at the saddle girth.

If holding the variable end in his hand, in some lessons he leads his hand at times across the horse’s neck to his outer hip or shoulder, or sometimes to his knee.

The direction of impact (the vector) on the Cavecon’s inner ring can be find between the two cords.

He writes, that the variable end, if fastened at the girth or pulled to the rider’s knee will work the outer shoulder of the horse.

The variable end fastened at or pulled to the pommel brings the inner shoulder forward and  the outer one backwards. This presses the outer side of the horse and creates freedom for its inner legs, and is therefore suitable for the Terre-a-Terre, but not for Courbettes, because in them the croupe is put to much in constraint.

A big problem for us are the extreme and false overbendings  in the depictions, and if one doesn’t know, that Cavendish himself thought them incorrect, too, but didn’t have enough money then to order new ones, one could think the reason is the use of his cavecon draw rein, which is not true.

If one wants to test this cavecon draw rein, it might be better to orient oneself at the interpretations of the later riding masters.

Regarding the fastening-point of the fix end, it is not possible to copy this exactly: only 60 years later a pommel at the school-saddles was not in use any more, and so they used a thread-eye fastened at the saddle-rim in the height of the rider’s knee.

Some experience in the academic art of riding,  especially regarding the mild and very thoughtful treatment of the horses, and also a stable seat after the old art of academic riding of course are the  
preconditions to be able to evaluate the usefulness this cavecon draw rein; another is a fully grown horse, which can endure this work without problems: Cavendish started to train a new horse  only when it was at least six years old, and was not unhappy if it was seven or even eight years old! But then the basic education would take him as less as 3 months.

The variant with also fastening the second cord produces a rigid impact, and is possible only when there is a pommel and far enough downwards reaching front galleries, for the hanging in and out of  the cavecon cord at the changing of the hand the horse is on. If both cords are loose, one can grab the inner one with his inner fist and dose it a bit finer.

My first tests, the fix end tied high up to the saddle girth of my Epona and the variable end in my hand have gone rather well: my horses being old hands, as I ride them since 3 yeas nearly always only with a snaffle-curb, both reins in one hand, and have learned during this time, how to put a horses head a little bit by a curb, how to shove a little bit with the outward rein and switch, how to  help the horse with my seat, and now, on top of that, got reminded by Cavendish of the possibility to use the “around-itself-bending rein” for putting and bending. However, the putting by the  
cavecon draw rein is far easier and the horses bend their neck on the stiff side somewhat nicer, too.

Using the cavecon draw rein, one needs very little force and can easily sustain his seat. Unfamiliar is that one needs to pull in the double length of the cord, and changing the hand (the horse is going on), at the beginning one has to think really hard (I always call this jokingly “counting my reins”).

Now I think Cavendish’s always holding the switch in his right hand might be also due to reducing the complexity of sorting out everything at the change of hands. I also have learned now, that it is great relieve to let the outside cavecon-cord just fall out of one’s hand and let it hang through. Because since many years now I use as the rein-fist on one day the right, and on the next day the left hand, it is not so hard for me, to change the curb-reins into my other fist at every change of the hand (I’m riding on) and take the variable end of the cavecon-cord into my other fist.
The biggest challenge for me at the moment is to remember, to never use the cavecon alone, so either, on an completely unschooled horse, let every impact of the cavecon immediately be followed by the according curb-rein action (like La Broue recommended), or, as it seems to me more wise with my  already somewhat educated horses, to try at first the curb-rein aides and only after not succeeding use the inside cavecon draw rein (Cavendish). The curb-rein aides shall always be the main education aim.
One problem is the far more direct and so much faster reaction of the horse on the cavecon draw rein: after ten minutes of a highly concentrated training my vigilance is reduced considerably and I  catch myself time and again using for the bending only the cavecon draw rein. As the saying goes:”Possessing a means leads to the use of it!” So with this means one has to prescribe oneself strong restraint, otherwise one might produce in the horse that by Gueriniére so much feared drawing at the rider‘s hands and other faults.

Now I view every use of the cavecon draw rein as a sign of failure of my curb-rein aides and try, always fully calmly, at first to give the curb-rein aides, which requires setting accuracy before promptness: so better to wait one or two or three of the horse’s steps, if the curb was sufficient to produce the putting and bending according the circle’s size. Only if not I use the cavecon draw rein very softly. Nearly hanging through at first, and only stronger at non-reaction of the horse.
The stronger I have to pull it, the bigger the reproach at me, of not being able to work without it!

Interesting by the way is the transition from shoulder-in along a straight line to the sideways along the same straight line (for example as a croupe-au-mur): if I started with shoulder-in to the right with the right cavecon-cord and the switch in my right hand, and swivel while riding on into the sideways to the left, I can’t very well change the curb-reins into the right hand, and so just grab the left cavecon-cord with my RIGHT hand. Here one has to be careful not to produce a too strong around-itself-bending rein, as during the sideways the horse’s necks shall be bent only as slightly as possible.

Of course many more testing days are necessary as are the impressions of many other riders and also the education of completely fresh horses by this method, before we can judge its usefulness.

Only when we will have many horses educated by experienced riders, which never have been ridden by a snaffle or cavecon alone, that means from the very start bridled with a medium long, straight snaffle-curb plus cavecon draw rein on the inside after Cavendish, we will know more.

Update 17.09.2020


Because I had learned in the beginning of my riding lessons, that the rider should sit back in the saddle to bring weight onto the horse’s hindquarters and so bring the horse onto its haunches,  I had until now ignored Cavendish’s recommendation, to sit in the saddle as far forward as possible, and not chosen him as model for my riding-seat.

But now I’ve read with Solleysel, that for the Terre-a-Terre one should sit as far forward in the saddle, that the rider’s belly touches the front rim of the saddle! And really, now at last I succeeded to produce some actual Terre-a-Terre jumps, even though I don’t succeed fully in touching the front rim with my belly! My explanation: the horse sets his hind-feet so extremely far forward (below the saddle-girth) that the centre of gravity of both, horse and rider, has to come forwards, too.

Intermezzo 21.09.2020


Some months ago I read somewhere, that in the Celtic language the name of the protecting goddess of horses and riders Epona is spoken Ipona. Immediately my impression was, that there could well be  a connection of Ipo to Hippo =  horse in Greek, though I hadn‘t found any hint for a Greecian provenance, but only for a Roman.
Now I stumbled upon Bellerophon, who had had before his new name the name (H)Ipponoos, which means s.o. who understands horses or horse-knower; this name also had been given to three more figures in the Grecian mythology. The female version is (H)Ipponoa, which, I‘m convinced, became Epona.
Who knows, possibly after some more research with growing understanding I might feel to be entitled to undersign my articles with:

Daniel Ahlwes Hipponoos

Update 22.09.2020


By translating the Cavendish the statue of Marc Aurel appears in a completely new light: depicted here is not a trot-passage, but a sideways in walk!
The holding of the hand equates that of William Cavendish, when he takes his rein-hand across the neck of the horse onto the outside, to achieve a bending of its neck and lead the croupe into the volte. This is the prerequisite of the sideways, which often was called “passage”.
The stance of the horse’s body is that of a sideways in walk with an angle of less than 80°: by this a full, simultaneous diagonalizing during the crossing over of the outer forefoot over the inner one, with simultaneous broad treading wide of the hind-feet, but a dragging behind of the outer hindleg during its crossing-over phase over the inner hind-leg, while the forefeet are stepping broadly during the next phase.  Nikolas di Santa Paulina writes: “In the walk-passage one hind-leg is dragging imperceptibly.”
One author of the old art wrote as a premiss: ”During the passage the horse is always bent to the side to which it goes.” This means, a passage straight forwards on one hoof-beat hadn’t been one really in those days. Though it didn’t describe, how strongly sideways one goes in the passage, how big the angle is.
The beautiful, high holding up of the right front leg was conditioned on or this was a horse with exceptional high gaits, but is not necessary for the definition as a passage.
How strong the sideways of Marc Aurel is executed here, we cannot gauge by the direction of his gaze, because then, too, possibly the rule was on, that the rider could only achieve a graceful stance when looking through the ears of the horse or along the inner side of the horse’s head.  
This all implicates, that this beautiful gait could have led to the ruler riding always obliquely, possibly in the right angle, to his spectators. Maybe he sometimes changed the side, to which he rode? Or would he stay in this combat man-to-man bending, suitable for right-handed riders? Possibly there was a “chocolate-side” of the parade-way, on which all the important people stood, to see and be seen by their ruler (in this case the left side)?

Update 04.10.2020:



Sideways / Passege / Passage in the walk, "which has the action of the trot".

"Is in the passage the forehand wide,it is a Terre-a-Terre of the forehand, is the hind wide, it is a Terre-a-Terre of the hind-legs."(W.Cavendish)

A horse which is able to perform a passage (=85°-Sideways) in walk on a volte is already to be called "half-ready educated" (half-dressed /demi-dresseé).

This lesson (in walk) works on the horse extremely meditatively and achieves not only the bodily, but also a strong mental collection, and it takes away nearly all of its flight-impetus: afterwards the horse is willing to perform anything his forces permit it to do (if the rider is able to give the correct aides).

Performin this lesson in the trot is not an advance in its benefits, but to the contrary weakens its positive impacts. The further education therefore does not lead over the trot, but directly from the walk into the terre-a.terre or the courbettes. 

Definition: The Terre-a-Terre is somewhat like a two-beated canter in a right angle sideways (ar. 85°), without a forwards; it is used for the swift turning back into the opposite direction at the end of a straight line, be it as a demi-volte or even  as a kind of pirouette, if the hind-legs are not leaving their place. For training purposes it can be performed as a straight terre-a-terre, that means sideways 85° along a straight wall or a straight line. 

Update 15.11.2020:


Since introducing the Terre-a-Terre by pushing forward my belly, Picasso on and on offers calmly to perform a pirouette instead, which he  continues longer now, which often results in a full pirouette and just afterwards one on the other hand:  possibly a pirouette is easie to do for hoim than the terre-a-terre, or my aids are not fully the right ones still. For the pirouette, which means the turning on the hindlegs, which stay on one and the sane place, the rider has to use softly the outer rein. Mostly this results in five or six beats, the last of which the horse performs to land on the same spot, where it had started.

These lessons a horse is not able to execute often without getting listless. Here now two requirements of the rider collide: The bonmot “riding comes from riding” still is valid, but if the horse is higher (literally) educated, on the other hand one has to consider, too, the advices of the old masters: the most extreme being that of Cavendish, who suggest, that a fully schooled horse should not be demanded more than once a week (if this means, not been ridden at all is not clear).LA Bruoe writes, never to demand Levades, Courbettes or Terre-a-Terre evry day, but leave at least one or two days in between. Everyone knows the feeling that while riding fport the first time after one or two weeks holidays everything goes smoothly and on its own.

For some years already my riding units in an arena have shortened to 8-15 minutes, too.

Also the way of lengthening strides and collecting slowly has changed considerably by using the Santa-Paulina-holding of hands and the Cavendish-seat (= sitting as far forward in the saddle as possible) to the old academic way: the horse is learning by and by to lengthen its strides by sinking hands and to collect gradually according to the resp. hight of the hands.
Less and less I catch myself not looking through the ears of the horse while executing voltes, circles and turnings.

Using the inner cavecon rein as draw rein like Cavendish recommended I have examined for one week only,  as my horses are perfectly capable to understand my aids with the snaffle-curb alone. Though when I will ride in a new horse one day, I surely plan to do do this in a mixed way: At first to use the cavecon’s both reins like the masters before Cavendish did, but for some weeks only: using the cavecon’s reins and immediately afterwards (or simultaneously) the snaffle-cub aids, to show the horse what I want of him; but afterwards switching to the use of the inner cavecon’s rein only as a draw-rein à la Cavendish for some weeks (and possibly always when introducing a new lesson).

All of this naturally only as supplementation of the seat aides, which always should be the predominant way of guiding a horse!

Update 02.Jan.2021


Always when I have adapted a new rule, an exception surfaces!

In the month 6 aG Picasso’s Terre-a-Terre is getting more and more confident.
During the last two weeks I have been considerably more relaxed by some days off work he is offering me instead of performing a correct terre-a-terre going sideways on a volte with drawing a little inner circle by his hind legs, a pirouette in the terre-a-terre.
At first I gladly accepted these:  After all I have never read about, much less seen, a terre-a-terre-pirouette anywhere before!
After some days though it became clear, that Picasso was not able any more to discern my intention,
as I hadn’t changed my aids anyhow:still looking straight forwards between the ears, with only a little deviation to the left of the horse’s head, as Cavendish recommends.
Inspecting afterwards the pictures by Ridinger it became clear to me: This pirouette (the word means, that the hind legs stay on the same spot during the turn) demands an exception of the rule:
The rider for expressing himself clearly to his horse, he must look far into the volte with a distinct turning of his upper body to the inside for the horse to understand: this now shall be a pirouette.

All the years I had trained the elevating of the horse’s forehand while turning, but because hadn’t known, that the rider has to put his belly far forwards to enable the horse’s far reaching forwards of his hind legs under his belly, these always had been pirouettes in courbettes, during which the horse holds his legs parallel in a nice angle and both on the same height, and rising higher up, sometimes very high.  

So the aids in a pirouette, be it in terre-a-terre or in courbettes, are now adjoined by the pushing forwards of the rider’s belly: the more the rider’s belly comes forward, the more the horse’s hind legs are able to come forward under its belly, and the more the inner foreleg goes outwards than the outer foreleg ( = terre-a-terre); and the further the rider’s belly stays back, the higher the horse’s forehand rises and the more parallel its will hold its forelegs and the more it draws/angles them (= courbettes).

At the moment my aim is the „passade furieuse“ /„passade francaise“ / furious passade and I#m extremely delighted, when the demi-volte at the ends of the passades is performed as this terre-a-terre-pirouette, as this is the fastest way to turn the horse around into the direction it has come.
Also in a fight is it very useful if the horse rises as little as possible from the ground, because in a commotion with another horse it is able to catch its equilibrium better, and is in a lesser danger to be knocked over. It feels superb!!

When the horse is moving backwards while beginning the terre-a-terre-pirouette, the rider, before starting to correct this, must ask himself, if this was a real going backwards (which would be false and is called acculer) or if not he was noticing the moving backwards of the horse’s centre of gravity over his hind legs standing on the same spot, which is desirable to get into a pirouette.

And wishing to achieve a terre-a-terre sideways on a volte, he must decide before, if he wants his horse to bring its hind legs forward under the body, the forelegs then producing the same circumference as in the  priming sideways-walk before, and the hind-legs a bigger circle? Or shall the horse move the forelegs back, which then produce a smaller circle as in the sideways-walk out of which it started, and the hind legs circle shall stay in the same width?


Update 19.Jan.2021

During the last months I had, stress-related, not much energy for translating, but have succeded to improve and correct all translated chapters of the cavalerice francois, as my understanding of the lessons and also of the French language have greatly improved over the four years since starting the translation.

Update 28.03.21:

1741 François Alexandre de Garsault wrote in his "Le Nouveau parfait marechal" about the holding of of the switch: "In the manege, or while executing a lesson, the school rider holds the switch as the lessons  demand [mostly upright with the point upwards; DA], whereas during a promenade [Leisure ride] or during other occasions one lets it dangling downwards along his body, the point downwards".

So being outside one is supposed to hold the switch with the point downwards, if not executing a lesson or using the long stretches for the training of the old-academic seat and the holding of the hands according to Santa-Paulina.  

If one looks at the old engravings of the natural gaits with Gueriniére, one notices some differences:  if one wants to avoid the rolling-in of the shoulder on the switch side, and its coming forward, which would disturb the old-academic seat, one has to (at least intermittently) turn in the switch hand like in the depiction of the trot, not to get accustomed to this wrong body stance.

Aus "Ecole de cavalerie", Guerniére, 1733;

As hereby the rider's switch-side shoulder joint is lead distinctly backwards (which the rider, to sit more symmetrically, will attempt on the rein-hand side, too), the rider's breastbone gets enabled to come forwards. This lightens the forehand of his horse, which is now freed in its movements. The shoving forwards of his breastbone gives the rider's belly the possibility to come forward, too, which in turn enables the horse to put its hind feet more forwards under its rump, which leads to more fluid movements. If on top of this the rider raises the spacing of the forelegs by using the pinky push of the rein-hand, the horse goes uninhibited, free and supple in walk or trot, and with a higher raising of the forelegs during the canter.

In this body stance it pays also to let the finger-middle-joints (PIPs) of both hands point in a right angle away from the horse.  And even more than in the country this trains for a good old-academic seat when we use it in the manege, as it keeps the rider's upper-body steadier.

Update April, 17th  2021:

While using the hip-prop after Garsault, Gueriniere and the old Fritz, and holding the rein-hand in the old-academic way (i.e. a bit supinated, with the PIP-joints pointing in a right angle away from the horse), the freedom of the rider's upper body will be achieved quite suddenly, when another one of Santa-Paulina's conditions is met: the slight bringing forwards of the rein-arm, so that the back of the rein-hand and its lower arm form a straight line, without any back-extension in the wrist-joint: instantly the horse moves much more freely and starts to snort.
Keeping this stance in every gait and lesson while riding in the manege is not easy, but the result is so wonderful, that there remains no question if one should use it or not!

Update 02.May 2021: Good Side, Bad Side?

Until now we have called that side of the horse, which is bending more  easily its “good side”.
By riding in the Terre-a-Terre and in Terre-a-Terre-Pirouettes it becomes  increasingly clearer, that in the old times it has been different. Now I'm quite sure, that since the first years of horse-riding, which have been several thousands years before us, men have chosen  horses, which accommodated their prevalent right-handedness most : as holding my tool or my spear or sword in my (right) hand, I would prefer if my horse naturally bends sooner away to the left than to the right side.
This stiff one, now titled as the “good one” is also advantageous in the passade: at first a gallop away from the opponent, and then a lightning-fast turning back in the counter direction by a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette trying to reach the croupe of the enemy. This is supremely suited for a “fight-manege” as La Broue calls it, because the horse herein stays close over the ground which brings it down to stable ground more quickly in case of a commotion with another horse than during a Courbettes-Pirouette and on top is much faster than the Demi-Volte in Canter in three leaps.   
Meanwhile I'm believing that the Roman cavalry must have mastered these Terre-a-Terre-Pirouettes, because, as Bent once explained, their riders raced in a long row against the enemy , stopped before them, threw their spears and swiftly turned around on a small place, to give space for the next riders. This is possible only by a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette.  
Interesting would be if they turned to their left side, as they had thrown the spear with their right hand, which would have been the one harder to achieve, as the horse' left side is mostly the overbent side, which disturbs a terre-a-terre to this side, or if to the right side altough they had thrown the spear with this arm, because teaching and performing the terre-a-terre to the stiff side of the horse is much easier than to the easily overbending one.
That's why the horse's stiff side is often the “good side” for me nowadays.

Update 14.05.2021: Pirouette

While Picasso is offering me happily and frequently his Pirouettes, it becomes increasingly clear to me, that in the old-academic art of riding there hadn‘t been „canter-pirouettes“ at all, because a pirouette is a turning on the hind legs, wherein the hind legs don’t leave the place: Ridinger for example has called an etching “Throwing around on the hind legs” which describes exactly my feeling during Picasso’s Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette! As it is impossible to canter on one spot, they didn’t have the term “canter-pirouette” in those times.

Update 22.05.21:

 When training the old-academic seat with the hip-prop (see 17.04.21), for the positioning of the rein-hand it will help to imagine putting this hand in the back of a dancing-partner: this way you will hold it longer in the correct position. 

Update 24.05.21:

Though having translated the respective text several months before, only during the out-riding today it became really clear to me, how Cavendish described it. I could see my shadow beside my horse for a long stretch of the way and eventually it dawned on me: when taking my curb-reins lower, Picasso pushed forwards and lowered his nose, when I put the rein-hand higher, he took his nose down and his neck higher. Cavendish explains the reasons: holding the hand low, only the mouthpiece is working, while with a higher hand, the curb-chain works more than the mouth-bit.
So the horse lengthens its strides at the working of the lower rein-hand in the forwards-downwards (like with a snaffle) , and collects itself at the working of the higher rein-hand.

Update 13.06.21:

The above said leads to thinking in different ways about " The horse takes appuy at the mouthpiece": while the hand is put high, one could also say: "The horse takes appuy at the curb-chain", as now the mouthpiece itself has a much lesser impact now than the curb-chain. So, if the hand is held calmly without retracting it, the horse is shaping its neck (beizäumt/ramener) itself. If, while riding through meter-high gras, I want to prevent the horse from eating or even stopping for that, I don't have to constantly lift and retract the rein-hand: just putting it once in the right height, with the appropriate length of the reins and leaving it in this same spot will suffice.

Update 03.07.21:

The hardest sitting lesson for me at the moment is to hold the switch downwards in my left hand in the hip-prop, because then it is more difficult to keep the rein-hand in this stance permanently.

Picasso in this situation tends to bend to his right side (his more flexible one) and goes in the "croup-to-the-right".
The tambourine-swivel (bening the rein-hand carpal joint, here to the left) is now somewhat more difficult as in my first seat-attempts (when I had held my fists more upright), but astonishigly now I achieve a more distinct and prompt shift onto my left seat-bone (and hereby a bending of the horse to its left side) when with the Santa-Paulina-way of holding the hands I extend my rein-hand carpal-joint, by bringen the lower right arm and elbow forward, without the rein-fist leaving its position! A very smooth and effective aid!  


29.07.2021: The First Capriole!

On Paco today I have produced my first correct Capriole! The circumstances had been extraordinarily favourable: he had not been ridden for 4 days, and I had barely slept for some nights due to extreme stress about my work, and, as is so often the case: if the rider doesn't expect anything good at all, exactly this relaxedness enables just that. Also the temperature had fallen 14° C during the night, it was early in the morning, and a mare a little bit in heat was in the arena, and a gelding later on, too: ideal circumstances for a normally quite cool stallion to get a bit animated!

After starting some tired probes for Courbettes I tried in vain twice to trigger a Capriole by a touchée at his left flank during a Levade/Courbette, and as a last try by a touchée on the croupe with the tip of the switch over my right shoulder: and there it was: a perfectly nicely sitable Capriole! I was very surprised, but instead of unmounting and caressing my horse, I tried immediately to do it again, the better to remember my body language, which of course was against all pedagogic rules. Despite this sour note naturally I'm extremly delighted , as this lesson is the crown of the academic art of riding! I#ve always suspected, that this is "his" lesson. Possibly not long and I will be able to more often and reliably release this supreme lesson, though I'm not sure at all, if Paco at his 19 years will find the power to complete a demi-volte in 3 Caprioles at the end of the passade.

Update 01.08.2021:

Having translated the explanations of  Cavendish and Solleysel regarding the Courbettes backwards, at some time I began to simply disregard that order, which prescribed one had always to put the hands forward and must only train the Courbette forwards first: Picasso has anyway always had the tendency to go/to land behind. As soon as I allowed me the Courbette backwards, everything went wonderfully: two or three Courbettes backwards in a row just at the first try!
From then on, Picasso can clearly distinguish if I want Courbettes forwards or backwards!
Today his gift to me has been four Courbettes sideways (in the direction of the exit, as wanted to get his grazing patch) and for the first time I felt clearly the difference to the Terre-a-Terre, which is going sideways all the same: thy feel much more  easygoing and soft.

Update 21.08.2021: Warning: This lesson should not be executed near teh wa, not on the first or second hoofbeat! See update 29.03.2022.

While browsing yesterday in Cavendish’s first book I had found an interesting spot, which I followed today:

With Picasso, who is able to perform the Terre-a-Terre light-footedly und near the ground it went well from the start:  six jumps parallel to the wall in the „petit gallop“ as Passade, then immediately after the halt 2-3 Falcades,then initiating the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette by taking the rein-hand across the withers to the outer side of the horse’s neck, and in the moment of arriving at the original line changing onto the other hand by taking the rein-hand onto the other, the new outer side,then again 6 jumps of collected canter parallel to the wall > halt > 2 Falcades > Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette > changing the hand and starting in the collected canter again.

But with Paco who finds it very hard to learn the Terre-a-Terre, taking the rein-hand across the withers to the outside is not working as a sign to produce a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette: here I had, after the two Falcades, to lead him into a Pirouette in Courbettes (or Mezair) by working the outside rein and also by not bringing forward my belly as much as would be appropriate for producing the Terre-a-Terre. For Courbettes the rider has to look forwards between the ears of the horse; contrary to the pronounced looking inwards, which would be necessary for the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette (which has to be far more than the slight one for a the Terre-a-Terre along a straight line or on a volte).

In this place can be found a for me very important advice: As I've been trying for some years now to get a turn on the hind-legs from out of a Levade, I had produced mostly Mezair- or Courbette-Pirouettes, and only at understanding the Terre-a-Terre, the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette.  As I normally ride not with an exact plan in my mind and wait what sort of things might surface during the riding unit, since then I had often the distinct feeling, that something was not quite right! Cavendish's advice now clears things up: He writes that one has to execute the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette only to the side of the canter. As one nearly always chooses the hand on which the horse shall canter at the beginning of the passade, this means one has hereby already chosen the side to which the horse has to do the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette.

Contrary to that for the Pirouette in Mezair or Courbette: here one can wait with the decision, to which side to turn the horse, nearly until the end of the passade, as those start with a levade, in which the horse holds front- and hindlegs parallel besides each other.

So if one rides a passade in the country and aims for a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette at its end, but finds then that the ground is not suitable, one has to decide quickly for a Mezair/Courbette-Pirouette to the other side. 

petit gallop = very collected, short canter, often as the four-beated school-canter

Falcade (from Italian: "falce" = siccle) : a fast, short, minimal elevating of the forehand with the forelegs forming a siccle, less elevated than in a Mezair (which itself would be only half as high as a Courbette).

Mezair = Half Air (Italian: "la mezza aria"; French: "le mezair" or "la Demi-Courbette")

Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette: this trem was invented by me. In the above mentioned text it is called by Cavendish simply: "Terre-a-Terre". In olden times the term "Pirouette" was used mostly only for turning of the horse on its inner hind-leg, which stays on the same spot; sometimes, too, for the turning in Courbettes, while both hind-legs getting set parallely on the same spot. But if the horse sets its hindlegs broadly and steps not parallel, but on "four" hoof-beats"  one speaks of " turning in the Terre-a-Terre in the length of the horse".

French: William Cavendish, „La methode nouvelle & invention extraordinaire de dresser le chevaux..“, S.90, libre II, chapitre XXVI; Antwerp, 1658

Engl. Translation by John Brindley: William Cavendish, „A General System of Horsemanship“,p.60,  Book II, Chapter XXVI; London, 1748  (Facsimile-Reproduction in Allens Classic Series 3, GB, 200

Update 02.10.21


The very best depiction of the art-rider's seat we can find with Prizelius: he succeeded in showing that we should hold our hands like putting them in the back of our dancing partner, without touching that person in any other place. (This comparison doesn't take into account the distance of the hands from the rider's belly, which actually most often is only between 5 and 25cm).

Because of the not usual bridling with snaffle plus Cavecon here the rider has to hold his hands mauch higher and much nearer to his belly as with a normal curb

The minimal putting forwards of one elbow now will lead to a swerving in of the croupe to the contralateral side: when wanting to ride a simple volte on one hoof-beat I will push my outer elbow momentarily slightly forwards, which will put the horse on its croupe and prevent the falling out of the croupe. As soon as the horse begins to turn onto the volte, in contrast I push forward my inner elbow so that the croupe doesn't come in, enable hereby its staying on one hoof-beat.
But if I want it to produce a volte on two hoof-beats I push forwards slightly my outer elbow and hereby control the level of laterality. 

In this depiction of the sideways by Prizelius (though the bending of the horse's neck and head is far too pronounced) we can see very nicely, how far away from his upper body the rider's arms should be held, to enable the swinging through of the rider's upper body between his static arms, which can best be seen during walk staight forwards. Notice also, that the outer (here the left) elbow is more forwards than the inner one to let the the croupe come in.


Update 22.10.21:

Finally I have found an explanation for the word Falcade, which lets me safely recognize this lesson:  The  Falcade (from ital. "falce" = siccle) is a fast, short, minamal litzing of the forehand, wherein the forelegs are held in form of a siccle.



The stance in the Falcade is a bit like in the Terre-a-Terre: here also the forelegs are taken up in front of the horse, to ensure a safe landing on the ground from the small height, and also with the Carriere.




Depictions from teh era, when  the nobles actually still rode into the fight themselves rather show falcades and terre-a-terre, prove of the ability to defend their people and their territory; but later on this reason vanished, as riding at the noble's courts became only the „l‘art pour l‘art“ and Mezair, Demi-Courbettes und Courbettes were preferred, during which the horse garcefully folds its forelegs under its belly.

Here a medium stance between Falcade and Demi-Courbette:



16.01.2022:  Nothing is sure

The 9. chapter in the 4. volume in the Solleysel/Cavendish brings some commotions of my hard gained convictions: Until now I thought that the holding of the hands after Santa Paulina and Prizelius would be THE right one for all and any; but with Solleysel it is wrong for the bridling with a snaffle bit: here one should turn the palms downwards (pronate) because of the, at least at the beginning, necessary very hard pulling back of both reins.

Cavendish writes in his original chapter in English, that for an art-rider only the bridling with a curb is appropriate, as only this is the proper one for using a weapon or instrument with the right hand, and called the snaffle bridling foolish.

But Solleysel writes in his amended (?) translation, that the snaffle was very well suited for those horses which pull at he hand, or those which take the head down...

By the way, both of them thought that the snaffle bit wouldn’t touch the bars (which is incorrect as we know today); for Solleysel this was a plus, as the bars would stay well and entire, but for Cavendish a minus, as the horse would in no way get prepared for the bar-contact of the curb bit  and so stay uneducated.

Cavendish uses here the word “trench” for snaffle (German “Trense”), this seems to make clear that it derives from “to drench” , wetting i.e. letting the horse drink. In those times the horses would be lead to the water using a Trense (snaffle). So the German word “Wassertrense” is a doubling.

This revelation has implications for my naming of he old curb, because “Trensenkandare” then would mean “curb for drinking” which is a contradiction in itself!

Looking up if the use of the English “snaffle-curb” might be unproblematic at least, I found in the English wikipedia for snaffle:  “a mouth bit without leverage, broken or not broken”.

If one nevertheless wants to stay with my naming for now, one could console oneself by the fact that even the old “simple cannon” is not unambiguous, either:  it was used for broken and for unbroken bits.

I would be quite glad if someone would find more precise names!

Update 29.03.22:

It took me 10 weeks to recognize Picasso’s complaints!

Yesterday night it dawned on me, what he was trying to tell me all this time:
never induce a  Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette being on the first or second hoof-beat along the wall!

8 weeks ago my hoof-carer warned me that she felt a stiffness in Picasso’s hind legs. Around this time I had noticed during riding an unusual elevating of his back/croupe.

Since 7 weeks he left his box to go onto his box-paddock when I arrived to brush him (at first this suited me well as I didn’t have to urge him outward for not leaving his hairs inside the box, as this can result in colics); I didn’t see this as the protest against riding, even though Bent has told me exactly this  many years ago.

6 weeks ago Picasso increasingly began to withdraw backwards when I wanted to mount him. But while working he did without perceptible complaining everything I wanted him to do: the usual 1km long canter in the country, the Mezair and Courbettes, his Terre-a-Terre and his Terre-a-Terre-Pirouettes within the riding arena. But then, while leading him, I noticed him to put his right hind-leg under the middle of his belly,  when going straight forwards and additionally setting his right hoof on the ground with a 20° rotation to the inside.

Having worked him only a bit at the hand for 8 days, the vet arrived, x-rayed hock and knee and found nothing pathologic even though he is meanwhile 14 years old. He detected a slight lameness, a tenderness  in the adductor muscles and at the bullet joint and prescribed  3 weeks not working him.

At first my guess had been that had  played around on the outer paddock and strained the tendons at some point,  but also my saddle had for some time had for a second time a crimp in the middle, and was long overdue for overhauling at the saddlers’; but perhaps it something to do with the betterment of my art-rider’s seat, which allowed me for 4 months now to not letting me set on the right side by Picasso anymore; possibly this had done him harm?

Only as late as yesterday it became clear to me that the most probable cause was a faulty riding. As it is very, very hard to learn the right aides for the Terre-a-Terre when training also the school-halt,Levade, Mezair, Courbette, Falkade and Carriere, because the aides are very similar!

If I give Picasso the signal to perform a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette within the riding arena, he does one in 3-4 beats which takes us ¾ or fully around before he stops. But I wanted to train a passade with a demi-volte the ends, to be able after this 180° turn to speed off in the opposite direction again, so it seemed to make sense trying this at the wall, where couldn’t go further round than exactly 180°.

But this has proved to be a severe faulty reasoning!

The chose of words has a big influence of the way to execute a lesson:

For example, if the horse I supposed to collect itself it has bring front- and hind legs nearer to the others. For this one can say: “I#m holding back the forehand”, or one can say: “ I#m driving forward the hind legs”, or one can do both together.

The same during riding on the forehand (that is with the horse’s natural 60:40 distribution of its weight) on a circle with a, inwards bending of its body: which today we call this “shoulder in”: then its forelegs describe a smaller circle than before; Cavendish but says, he leads the croupe outwards in this same lesson, which results in a widening of the circle of the hind-legs. And also one can combine both: then the middle of the hors stays on the original line, and shoulders are describing a little smaller and the croup a little larger circle.

For the riding on the hips/haunches/hindquarters today we use the term “croup-in”: then the front legs stay on their original line, and the croup describes a smaller circle. Cavendish but achieved it by leading the horse’s shoulder outwards, so with this technique the hind legs move on their original line and the front legs on wider circle than before. And here also a 3. variant is possible: a swivel around the horse’s middle, which stays on the original line.

In the Terre-a-Terre-Volte the front legs describe a wider circle than the hind legs, the hors moves nearly 90° sideways. For a Terre-a-Terre it is necessary that the middle of the horse’s body stays over its hind hooves, that means the hind hooves step under the saddle girth.

This also can be executed in three different ways: either 1. the hind legs step forwards and describe a wider circle than before, while the forelegs stay on their original line (which can be achieved by driving the horse forwards during the start of the Terre-a-Terre-Volte; or 2. the hind legs stay on their original circle: then the forelegs have to go backwards onto a smaller circle than before (which is achieved by taking back the forehand without the whole horse going backwards!). The 3. way is making the circle of the forehands a bit shorter and the circle of the hind legs a bit wider than before, so the horse’s middle stays on its original circle.  

In 2. the rider feels that the horse leads it buttocks backwards, and this could produce the impression that the horse moves backwards (which would be faulty and harmful).

A Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette be executed only in the 2. way, as the definition of “pirouette” is:turning on the hind legs which don’t leave their place. Here the horse quasi produces a “negative” circle. Or expressed in a different way: this lesson produces two main circles: one by the forehand and an “anti-circle” by the buttocks behind the horse’s middle!

If working at the wall and trying to let the horse perform a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette on the first hoof-beat this would lead to smashing the horse’s buttocks into the wall, which the horse naturally cannot accept; so this try will produce no, or only a very bad sort of swift turn on the hind legs!
Because I hadn’t realized this fact and tried it for some months this could very well be the reason for the straining of his tendons and muscles!

My mistake had been to put all three turns into one class “turn on the hind legs”. As “the being determines the consciousness” and I was training for years now the sideways, my inner picture was a turn ON the hind legs, that means with about 55-60% of the horse’s weight on the hind/haunches; (the horse tends to reduce the sideways on a little circle to a turn on its hind legs,as this is far easier to perform, which becomes then a walk-pirouette).
Contrary to that the young horse leads the front legs AROUND the hind legs, behind on the forehand, i.e. bearing 60% of its weight on the front legs as is the natural way.

The 3. way is the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette: a turn ABOVE the hind legs, which then bear the full weight of the horse.
The sketches of the hoof lines seem very similar, but in that of the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette the circle of the buttocks is not depicted at all! Man could call this way of turning also a “turn on the middle-hand, to  set it apart from turn around the hind legs and the turn on the hind legs.

The old riders often started the turn in the Terre-a-Terre from the first hoof beat at the wall in a sideways for two or three Jumps before beginning to turning there, away from the wall.

So once again, as it is important: if one wants to perform a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette, never try this on the first or second hoof beat at a wall, because in this lesson the horse has to put its buttocks far behind the hind hooves, and would crash with it into the wall!

As so often there was again a bit of luck within the bad luck: I do ground work very seldom, most times only when I cannot/am not allowed to ride, the last time one year ago. Yet on the first time now Picasso surprised me with a beautiful Mezair, which transformed itself on its own into a Terre-a-Terre at he hand! It was completely different from what I had expected a Terre-a-Terre at the hand would be: he swivelled his hind away from me and jumped effortlessly and relaxedly in the Terre-a-Terre! So it happened as always with us: what the horse had learned under the saddle, it can perform far easier without the rider’s weight.

Update Easter 2022 (while in Omicron-quarantine):

Pirouette, Terre-a-Terre and Canter

THE Pirouette is the turn of the far elevated horse on its inner hind-foot, which stays put on its place which it never leaves: the outer hind foot steps over and close around the standing inner one.

All the other as “Pirouette” named lessons are not genuine pirouettes, but either turns on, over, or around the hind feet of the horse, or turns on a small round volte with a small circle produced by the hind legs.

„Terre-a-Terre in the length of the horse“ means that both the  tracks of the front feet form a circle with a diameter of the horse’s length: this only possible, because the horse is turning “over the hind-quarter” , which means, that the hind legs are at the same time in the very centre of the circle and of the horse’s body: this lesson approaches the genuine Pirouette as near as a Courbettes- and the Mezair-Pirouette. In the (sloppily called) „Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette“ the horse moves his body (and the rider upon it) backwards, until his hind hooves are under the saddle girth. But to the contrary, when one induces the Terre-a-Terre out of a sideways-walk (80-85°), performed as a Croupe-au-mur near the wall, the horse has move its hind hooves far forwards under the saddle girth: its body and the rider stay in the distance to wall as before.

If the horse has mastered al these pirouette-like lessons, the rider had learned to give the right signals. Which of these lessons will be executed, the horse decides in the moment before lifting its forehand. when six years ago I started to approach them, I began in a straight Levade, which I transformed into a turning on its hind legs by shoving the outer rein against the horse’s neck just as the rise of its forehand had begun.

According to the height of the Levade the horse produces a Courbettes- or a Mezair-Pirouette: wherein the horse holds both, hind and front feet parallel, and not one more forwards than the other
and puts both hind legs parallel around the turning point in the middle of the turn. In this lesson the rider looks forwards through the ears of the horse, the horse is bent only very,very subtle, it holds itself nearly completely straight.

But if rider straightens the inner rein first and leads his rein hand over the withers to the outside of the horse’s neck, and if he is sitting for forwards in the saddle, nearly with his belly touching the front gallery (without falling forwards with his upper body) and approaches his outer thigh a little against  the saddle by turning his outer pelvis to the inside, and puts minimally some weight in this outer stirrup, then the “Terre-a-Terre in the length of the horse” (sloppily called: “Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette”) is produced. In this lesson the rider shall look straight forwards through the ears of his horse’ (Solleysel); or to the inner side of the horse’s head/over its inner shoulder (Cavendish); or according to Ridinger’s etchings far to inside of the turn.

If the rider’s belly is not far enough advanced forwards, an “Elevated Terre-a-Terre” is produced.

At the start of the genuine Pirouette initially both inner legs go before the outer ones, but then the outer hind legs crosses over and around the inner one. This lesson occurs when the rider sits very straight and in absolute equilibrium and shoves the horse’s neck to the inside with the outer rein just before the forehand begins to rise. He should not sit to far forwards in the saddle, to enable the horse to rise its forehand far enough up. (Cavendish: ”Is the rider’s hand high, the horse goes high, is the rider’s hand low, the horse goes low”).

If the rider gives his aides confusedly, a mix of Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette and genuine Pirouette can occur: rider’s belly not enough forwards and only hesitatingly leading outwards the outer rein, and then a too early leading back of the rider’s hand to the inside (= shoving with the outer rein) with a straight seat might lead to a genuine, but not very high Pirouette. If noticing his mistakes  the rider brings forward promptly his belly, takes the rein hand more to the outside, and puts minimally weight onto the outer stirrup, the horse puts his hind legs wide and stays closer to the ground, so the turn gets changed into a Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette. If then the rider is scared by his getting moved backwards (because the buttocks of the horse are moving backwards) and drives his horse forwards, it then might elevate its forehand higher again.

Cavendish writes, that the horse has to come to complete standstill before the rider can initialize a Terre-a-Terre, as canter and Terre-a-Terre are completely different movements; sometimes he even lets his horse perform two or three Falcades before executing the Terre-a-Terre.

Cavendish: „A Terre-a-Terre on a wide circle is but a petite-gallop!“ Wide circle here is synonymous to “angle less than 80-85°”.

An important sentence by Gueriniére has just corrected my inner picture of the Terre-a-Terre: he writes: “In the Terre-a-Terre the horse doesn’t push his haunches as far forward under its belly as in canter” (he doesn’t mean the hind hooves which of course are far more forward under saddle girth).
That means, though throughout our complete education of the horse our main goal is, to put it more and more unto its haunches, we have to reduce this somewhat in the Terre-a-Terre: this a a big change and feeling for me!
Regrading the Falcade the same is necessary, and because the Falcade is a pre-lesson for the ridden Capriole, also for the Capriole, and also for the Falkade to initialize a Carriere.

Gueriniére is the only one who remarks that: “If there is no tril (“fredon”) of the horse’s hind to be seen, it is not a genuine Terre-a-Terre, but a canter (a bad and low one)”.

Gueriniére is the first one to use the term “Canter-Pirouette”. For this he brings the hind legs of the horse more and more to the centre of the round volte by a strong Croupe-In  with an angle of ar. 70°.
Here the question poses itself if he proceeds in this way, meaning a canter on a small circle with creating a small circle by the hind legs (as it is done nowadays), or if he actually can then change into a genuine Pirouette, in which the horse turns on and around the inner hind leg (which seems improbable).

His type of Passade is executed with two Demi-Voltes “a soldatte”, as La Broue called it, in a petite-gallop at the ends of the long side: this he starts with a half-halt (as here occurs no change of the movement), and canters then in 70°-angle (a strong Croupe-In) sideways, parallel to the short side of the wall, and turns after two-horses length onto a new sideways stretch.  The last “canter”-beat, by which the all four legs must meet the wall-line simultaneously,  actually is a Terre-a-Terre of the the hind quarter. In his sketch on page 135 regrettably he violates his own very good rules he laid down in the chapter “Croupe-au-mur”, as he now lets the rider drive his horse massively into the short wall, at which the horse has no other option than to break out to the side, lest it get hurt:  pedagogically a severe mistake, which can destroy its possibly until now still strong trust to the rider!
On top of this, the horse afterwards will get rewarded and cherished for its disobedience (if afterwards while in the country the horse remembers this and breaks out to the side, quite a few riders might be unseated, all the more as this type of lesson is mostly used for and by the weak riders.).
That means, in order to stay in the trusting of the horse, one has to start this demi-volte a soldatte at least two or three meters before the short wall, and keep this distance.

His Pirouette in the Passage is not very clear: He writes, that in preparation for it at first the horse has to learn the passage on a single hoof beat (starting between two pillars). In his sketch on page 135 in this type of Pirouette it goes on/around its inner hind foot in an angle of 80°; but as the trot-passage must always be advancing forwards, the hind foot cannot stay in the same place, so this can only be a trot- (or walk-) sideways, which his predecessors called “Passege” or “Passage”. (trot sideways (80-85°) probably was only in use after 1700, and has the disadvantage, that the meditative effect of the sideways-walk is lost and the horse gets rather more restless than calmer).
In this part of his book again the question arises, if he might actually mean by “Passage in the trot” not the severely floating trot of today, but simply an very calm and collected trot with a more than normal accentuated, only a bit prolonged lifting of the horse’s legs?

Update 18.04.2022:

In Guérinière’s description of the Terre-a-Terre he also mentioned (initially ignored by me because of not understanding) , that  in this lesson the hind is under great tension like a spring.

But exactly this enormous power of the hindquarters only waiting to explode had always been the reason for the queasy feeling in my stomach, I realized today!
This tension feels especially high with Paco with his short, broad and powerful back, actually for very many years now I always had the feeling, that he was only waiting for the chance to show me his capacities regarding Carriere and Capriole.

As for some months now I had gotten the feeling, that trying to produce a Carriere or Capriole will succeed much better out of a Falcade than out of a Levade, I had started already to feel my way to this sort of execution, and succeeded often in the Carriere and three times in the Capriole.

With my now changed inner picture, I am going to test if my new speculation is correct:
If in a Falkade one drives the horse while holding the hand low, it will rather result in a Carriere; but if the hand is held high, it will rather  get to be a Capriole ( > according to Solleysel, for several Caprioles in succession, the rider must move his hand up and down like a bell ringer).

The same tension like a spring in the haunches occurs here in the Terre-a-Terre, but gets  released in the swift sideways movement or the swift turning in the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette.

Meanwhile the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette doesn’t give me this queasy feeling in my stomach any more, as I’ve succeeded to trigger it successfully very often by now (but always having in mind, that one is completely in the hands of his horse then and must have great trust in it!).


Update 23.07.22 The hip-prop about 1740



Intrigued by this picture for some weeks now I try (while holding the switch pointing downwards) to understand better the effects of the hip-prop.

The rider in this painting holds his rein-hand slightly open in maximal supination with his finger middle (=DIP)-joints pointing to the left side; the other hand is supported on his hip, thumb back and forefinger in front form a “V”. The elbow joint led back so very far brings his left shoulder very far back, and when the rider yields the reflex arising by the pressure of the thumb into his flanc, his belly will come forward even more and simultaneously his upper body back. During this stance the rider can bring back and forth his whole body from the hips upwards like a  tree trunk without pulling in his belly in any way, which allows for very finely tuned aids.      

The rider's calves are extended with a slight rotation outwards, which is allowed by very short spurs, the has firm contact to the stirrups, the tense calve-muscles operate a bit behind the girth.

The rider is left-handed, as his pistol holster hangs on the left side and the  ring on his left hand makes holding the reins with the left impossible; that he nevrtheless bears his sword on the left might be to show his rang in this picture, or maybe to prevent entanglement with adjacent riders' swords?

Update September  6th 2022

                        Another kind of hip-thrust we find with Georg Phillip Rugendas:

The rider holds his right fist with his finger-nails downwards while initializing a Falcade. This leads his right shoulder minimally forwards and so facilitates the execution as a Falcade (which always implies the shooting-off in a Carriere) as it lets the horse’s shoulders extend.

Would the rider to the contrary use this hip-thrust with his nails upwards, his right shoulder came backwards a bit and his horse would tend to execute  a Levade instead: its forehand would be retained.

All of the three variants can be used  wonderfully during a cross-country ride for the schooling of one’s seat, because then the going is mostly straight forward and the duration of each test can be chosen freely. Regrettably my seat is still not so far advanced that I can try to use spurs, so I have to ride still with the switch only.
With the V-hip-thrust this poses no problem, as I can easily and safely hold the switch downwards with my middle-, ring- and little finger. In the 3rd variant with the nails upwards though I have to bear the switch horizontally holding it in its middle, because otherwise it would be to heavy.
Variant 2 with nails downwards is the most tricky one for holding a switch, here I wish the most for a seat so good yet, that I would never be tempted to use the spurs to  override my seat deficiencies =   that finally I would have earned the spurs.

Especially well can the lightening of the horse's shoulders be felt while riding it on the forehand in walk through the country like La Broue recommends: the switch hand takes the end of the reins, the rein-hand lets them fall, and the rein-hand with the reins sinks down to the withers. If one now alternates variant 2 with variant 3, oneself (and the horse) gets to be so finely tuned, that the wider and higher taking forward of the horse's legs in variant 2 is clearly  palpable. This is very valuable in horses which tend to stumble. One could say: "The horse is on the free forehand".

Update 17.10.2022

Once again I have begun to ride every lesson differently than before: as I found out, the pushing forward of the rider’s belly is a very decisive aid, which (at least with me) produces eminent effects on lightness and voluntariness of the horse.

The schooling of the rider’s seat while riding in the country by the different forms of the hip-prop is meanwhile effecting, that in the riding arena, too, I’m often remembering to take my shoulder joints far back for the collection of my horse: if one lifts the rein-hand simultaneously only a bit higher, the horse will take appuy at the curb-chain much more, so its forehand gets lighter and steps higher, its steps shorter and the hind takes over more weight.   

Shouldn’t one take care not to retract his own belly,though, often everything remains somehow unsatisfactory. But if I then remember, that I am determined to never retract my belly again in every lesson and shove it forwards, a little miracle takes place and the horse gets relaxed and free  and performs its lesson much more freely, quasi from its own will.

By training the different sorts of hip-props I have found out, that the horse  collects itself when I use the V-hip-prop with pressing my thumb into my own back (pressure direction forwards): this works similarly as the hip-prop with the fingernails upwards.
If on the contrary in the V-hip-prop the rider shoves his index-finger into his belly (pressure-direction backwards) this produces a freeing of the horse’s forehand, that means a lengthening of its strides, as here the rider’s shoulder-joints come forwards a little bit.

All of these above mentioned effects but work only efficiently, if the rider shoves his belly significantly forwards, resp. doesn’t pull his belly backwards!

Markedly these collecting effects can be observed in a halt or in the sideways/the passege, wherein the horse then will take its head pronouncedly higher, as is seen in the old depictions.

So my currently desired seat is  compounded as follows:

1.  The feet of the rider take a fast, steady and light  support in the stirrups in a way which ensures, that the perpendicular force-line in the rider’s body is not broken by a bending in the rider’s knees.

2. The hands are held supinated (palms up)  pronouncedly and often maximally, in a way, that the finger-middle-joints point to each other.

3. The elbow-joints of the rider are held as far away from his chest, that a distinct lightening in the horse occurs (ar.10 to 20cm away and always a little bit more as seems comfy for the rider).

4. The rider never looks downwards, but always forwards through the ears of his horse. He never forestalls by a turning of his head towards the circle-line the movement of his horse, but firstly bends the horse onto the line of the circle and then, only by looking through the ears of the horse the rider looks over this line.

5. During every lesson the rider avoids strictly, to ever pull in his belly in any way: it shall always point forwards relaxedly. Also a riding more forwards or a collecting never should lead to a retracting of his belly!

6. The collection will be initiated only by a pulling backwards of the rider’s shoulder-joints (which leads to an approaching of his shoulder blades and hereby to a pushing forwards of his chest ( “uprighting of rider’s forehand”) in cooperation with  a slight lifting upwards of the rein-hand (the appuy of the rider’s hand  changes from the mouth bit to the curb chain) herein the rein-hand will be pushed slightly forwards.  

7. A lengthening of the strides and the horse will be produced only by a bringing forwards of the rider’s shoulders (not of the rider’s upper body!) in sync with the lowering of the rein-hand (hereby effecting a change of the appuy from the curb-chain to the mouth bit): herein the rein-hand will be brought a little bit backwards.

8. In every lesson this shall be the  basic stance of the rider from his knees upwards: only s.t. will a thigh be brought nearer to the horse, and also the position of the shoulder-joints and the hands will vary  when required, but no falling forward of the rider’s upper body (all very difficicult in the carriere!). And never is a broken perpendicular force-line in the rider’s body by a bending in his knees allowed. All this leads to a seat very similar to those old depictions before 1789: the upper body skligthly bent backwards. And, if one owns a “slight” stomach like me, ones seat approches that of the old Duke of Brunswick  before the Brunswick town castle (see “Fundstücke”).

9. To turn the horse from a straight onto a circular line the rider leads at first the horse’s hind inside by bringing his own elbow slightly forwards. The he shoves the forehand inwards with the outer rein and by bringing his upper leg nearer to the horse.
If the horse brings its hind to far inwards, the riders brings his inner elbow a bit forwards, which leads the horse’s hind outwards until forehand and hind are on one (or if required on two) lines.
So every time, when the  rider is not satisfied which the movement of his horse, he  has to ask himself one after the other the following questions:

As the first one: Is my belly far enough forward?

As the second one: are ma elbows far enough away from my chest?

As the third one: Do my finger-middle-joints really point to each other?

As the fourth one: are my hands really supinated enough?

As the fifth one: Am I really looking always through the ears of my horse, and do I really never my gaze or my head down?

In this type of the hip-prop after a while the rider's fingers will wander forwards and his thumb will hook in his back: this also brings a collecting effect and the rider wonders, why his horse goes in the country not lightly forwards any more.

Update 06.11.2022

„Keeping one’s posture/countenance!“ This admonishment at myself sounds so easy, but meanwhile  it is becoming clearer every day, that for a long time the question will not be IF I will loose my posture, but only WHEN, and more precisely: HOW OFTEN within a riding  unit! Only twenty times during a 40minute ride in the country at the moment seems to be a very good  achievement!

Another figure of speech possibly coming from the riding : „ To have someone under one’s thumb.“  Simon Georg Winter (Adlersflügel) shows us that he normally is not putting his thumb on top of the reins, as sadly we all have learned to do: riding with a curb-bit the rein-pulling is not allowed  to be nearly as strong as with a snaffle or a cavecon.

Update 26.11.22: The right within the wrong

For some days now I was delighted, because I was able to bend my horse easily by the Pinky-Push and Pinky-Pull of one hand: while strolling in the country on the forehand, with long reins, I had found out that the Pinky-Push of the switch-hand (which holds the reins also) led the horse to bend to the contrary side: Pinky-Push of the right hand > horse bends left; Pinky-Pull of the right hand: horse bends to the right.

But today it dawned on me that I had misinterpreted Gueriniére's advice for the stroll: “The switch hand takes the end of the reins which the rein-hand lets go, and then the switch hand shall be lowered to the withers”. I had assumed, that I should do it as I had done it always before: fetch the rein-joint/-buckle from above, which leads to the rein running through the palm.
Only today it became clear to me, that this naturally leads a rolling-in of the switch-hand’s shoulder, because its result is a pronated hand (the hand’s back pointing upwards) and the pointing forwards of the finger-middle-joints!

From now on I will also hold the long reins as normally, so that a little loop appears above the rein-fist. Regrettably now it is not possible any more to hold the switch downwards in this hand  without falsifying the hand’s positioning. So from now on:  either the switch upwards, if it is held in the same hand with the reins, or in strolling, too, taking the rein into the other hand.

Hereby another change occurs,too: Pinky-Push and Pinky-Pull effect now a bending to the contrary side as before.


Update 08.01.23

When in December the Paddocks were frozen and the horses couldn't really walk over the frozen hoof-imprints, I let Picasso roam freely in the riding-hall, after the training at the hand with the cavecon.

Because of the inspiration by the wonderful Christmas-show in the Hofreitschule Bückeburg mid-December, partly conducted as free-work, I made a try for a free Levade, by lifting my arms up in the same body language I'm using successfully at the longe with cavecon. And he really did produce calmly a nice Levade, completely free!

After that he companionably cantered a nice small circle around me, as if being at a longe. Having produced a halt by my body language, his hind fell out

 and he stood straight before me, his head to me. On very small signals from me he then performed three Terre-a-Terre jumps to one side, then a levade, then three Terre-a-Terre jumps to the other side, always with his head to me! A wonderful Christmas present from him!

Update 16.03.2023

Havig tried for some months now the above shown hip-prop (17.Okt. 22) I became able to interpret the following picture correctly:

Shown here is a refinement of the hip-prop: The rider  demonstrates for us, in which way he supports the switch by his stretched out index finger. This leads, besides the main aim of using the hip-prop (the retracting of the rider's shoulder-joints together with a protrusion of the rider's sternum),  to an even further coming forward of the rider's switch-side shoulder, which now doesn't stand anymore behind the rein-side shoulder, but even s.t. feels to stand before it!

Now my seat feels nearly symmetrical! I'm confident, that from now on I will profit also with upwards held switch from this training, and after some days already get the feeling that the horse responds far more precisely to even finer aids!


Update 24.03.2023

Shown here is a hip-prop without switch during the execution of a school-halt:

Greece, ar. 1900(?)

Training the different types of hip-props I’ve gained a better feeling for the success of aids for my posture while leading the curb-reins one-handedly and can now understand better another category of aids, surfacing on the following depictions.
Rubens shows in this wonderful picture the initiation of a carriere while using right hand and arm to counter the backward torsion of the rider’s right chest. This aid for the rider additionally produces a pronounced pushing forward of the rider’s breast-bone: now he really sits like a noble!  Also now it is possible, by supinating the rider’s hand more, or less, to influence the horse’s bend.

Pieter-Paul Rubens,  Museum Genua,

This picture additionally shows the „Pinky-Push-Maximus“ of the right little finger, (similarly to the picture of the stallion Pompeux during the Capriole, in the Rosenborgmuseum of Kopenhagen), and also the distancing of the right rein be the stretched-out left little finger.

Tile from Delft

Regarding the same topic:

Another aid for the rider helping very well is holding something in his right hand, while stretching it away from his body:

Marc-Aurel produces this aid only by seemingly pushing away only the air before his hand, which also results in pushing forward of his breast-bone and retracting his shoulder-joints:

By the way, his rein-hand here produces the main aid for the sideways and the Terre-a-Terre: the “around-itself-bending” inner rein holds the horse’s forehand back, by which its hind comes in ( = in the direction of the movement).  

Update 07.04.2023

While holding the switch upright meanwhile I discipline my posture very often at intervals using the Duchatel hip-prop: as use as I get suspicious, that my breast-bone and my belly are not forward enough, I take the switch downwards into this type of hip-prop, and nearly always notice immediately a strong correction of my posture! (Holding the switch in my left hand though, this is not an easy thing to do: it will take some months for me achieve this change as fluently and  quickly as with my right hand now...)
Another cherished way to train my posture now has become the sideways extended switch-arm: holding the switch at its point of equilibrium (2/3 from its tip) just as the Brunswick Duke shows it:

Having trained this for some time the rider realizes that with an upright held switch he doesn’t necessarily has to keep it  tight beside the rein-hand, but can with profit hold it a bit away, with just the same supination and pointing the finger middle-joints /DIPs) to the rein-hand, too and possibly feeling even more free, stable and more secure.

Both of these new ways of improving the rider’s posture lead his feet to a more stable and calmer contact to the stirrups, all the more if he has by now learned to let his horse “advance from the hand”:

The old masters expected of an educated horse to start from the hand, meaning by a short twitch at the reins, preferably without any (or only small and invisible) additional interaction of the rider’s legs, spurs or switch.  

Success in this I reach more often now with my increasing surety in the seat of the old masters.

The art here lies in holding the reins in just the appropriate height: if only a simple starting or a simple change into a higher gait is intended, the rider will keep his hand rather low: then mainly the mouth-bit is working and less the curb-chain: the horse extends rather forwards-downwards.
If the rider holds the rein-hand high the horse will start rather higher, for example by keeping its forehand higher in the canter; even higher in the Falcade, the Carriere or Kapriole, as by the effect of the chain-curb it will upright its forehand, shoulders and head more, and its drive will not be so much forwards but upwards.
While letting rise one’s rein-hand rise, in most situations it will be necessary to push it forwards a bit also, to avid an energy-loss in the horse’s movements.

Exceptionally sensitive the rider must work in the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette: here the legs stay in the centre of the volte and the horse’s body is pushed backwards over this place until the hind legs are exactly under the middle of the horse’s body. If the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette is executed as a fight-lesson, the forelegs are meant to circle close to the ground, so the rider must hold his hands low. In this case there cannot be an uprighting effect, which means the horse must execute this lesson completely on its own and must discern the rider’s will by other signals: increasing a little bit the weight in the outer stirrup, together with a very short touching of the inner neck by the inside rein (“as an around itself bending rein”), in the next instant followed by a more insistent and longer touching on the outer neck by the outside rein (as a “from itself away pushing rein”), accompanied by a distinctive pushing forwards of the rider’s belly, together with a leaning backwards of the rider’s upper body.  

Though a rider is supposed to look to the inside and turn his upper body to the inside only very little while inducing the Terre-a-Terre and the Terre-a-Terre-Pirouette, this cannot be upheld during a fight, as he has to watch his enemy and to use his sword. The next depiction shows a rider who therefore uses in training another type of holding the hand:

Seen in the castle of Blois; 17. century; oil on marble (!)

Update 01.06.2023

Today I have ridden Paco to his pasture for the first time in this year. For 8 years now I’ve always been proud to be able to jump onto a loosely laid saddle-blanket on his back from the ground, and then ride him, s.t. in canter, with the lead-rope knotted into his headcollar as reins; today under somewhat harder conditions: The urine of the mare in heat, who had days before pissed directly in front of him at the cleaning area he could still smell; additionally a very young foal ran around on a nearby paddock (not surprisingly, he got somewhat agitated!), and a temperature drop of 20° had occurred during the night before, and on top of this a bulldozer was working near stables and the pasture. So I could stop him not even by pulling very hard on the rope-reins, only pulling  his head extremely to one side stopped him to avoid cantering past the pasture-entrance!

This was when it become very clear to me how far I had come from using anytime the pulling-at-reins to stop my horses: for 16 years I have never used a snaffle-bit, for at least 6 years I have not used a cavecon for riding  (save the one week, during which I had researched the inner rein of the cavecon à la Cavendish solely for bending and stellning)! This was the moment I realized that this pulling-at-the reins of the headcollar again would severely undermine and  derail the achieved lightness of my aids! So from now on only a curb even for riding to the pasture, or going by foot!

Should I ride-in a horse again in the future, I’m sure I will listen to the recommendations of the old masters: “The use of a snaffle-bridling is foolish!" (William Cavendish); (“Never use a cavecon, as it will lead to pulling at the reins by rider and horse equally, which is the way to ruin both!” (Gueriniére); and will only occasionally use solely the inner rope of a cavecon à la Cavendish’s new method, only for bending to the inner side, which is fully in the sense of La Broue's constant warning: "The cavecon is only for showing the horse the meaning of the curb's aids!" (shall say: not for riding, slowing, bending or form-giving of the horse!).

For the peparing and supporting work from the ground with the cavecon these principles will apply also: permitted only ist the pressure of the cavecon onto the outer nose-bone, in longeing as well as in ground- or handwork: but slowing down and holding back by pulling both cavecon-reins is forbidden as it is extremely counterproductive for the riding: so for those aims we have to use other aids (the posture of the human body, holding of the switch, and others) to avoid  ruining the horse for riding.