Classical Principles

 “You must abstain from pulling at his mouth with the bit, or applying the spur and the whip… That is to say, by dragging the mouth up they render the horse blind instead of alive to what is in front of him; and what with spurring and whipping they distract the creature to the point of absolute bewilderment… Let the horse be taught to be ridden on a loose bridle, and to hold his head high and arch his neck, and you will practically be making him perform the very acts which he himself delights… training him to adopt the very airs and graces which he naturally assumes when showing off… you have got what you are aiming at – a horse that delights in being ridden.”

                                                                             Xenophon (approx 350BC)
 
Xenophon is the father of Classical Dressage and this quote, taken from his book, ‘The Art of Horsemanship’ sums up the overall meaning of what is Classical.
Classical, as defined in the english dictionary, represents an exemplary standard within a traditional and long established form or style. Classical dressage has been tried and tested over thousands of years, embodied in the words and the writings of the great Masters of the art. 
 
How do we know that Classical principles are the best form of practice? 
 
The Classical Principles, through time, have proved themselves pure. Humans have defied nature by mounting the horse but also working with nature to allow us to be our most conservative in maintaining his generosity, contentment and health, both mentally and physically achieving as Xenophon says, “ a horse that delights in being ridden.” 
 
This tradition remains today through those who have searched for a purer and more logical way for working with horses. For the well being of the horse, we need to work hard in keeping this tradition alive for many more centuries to come. We need to share our knowledge and understanding to others and discriminate against those who look for a quicker, more forceful and detrimental process, even if they should mean well. 
 

The importance of classical training is to maintain the natural beauty of your horse. Our focus should be on developing only his natural tendencies through natural methods and rather importantly, in your horse’s own time! I aim to help keep the classical principles and the great Masters alive through passing on knowledge and the desire to never stop learning. Helping riders to develop their relationship with their horse, both mentally and physically. We can begin to feel as if we are centaurs, at one and in harmony with our horse. Imagine how beautiful that could be! The magical thing is, Classical Principles are available to everyone!

 

 

Be inspired to work in harmony with your horse.