“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)
The Classical Principles of riding are simply summed up in the beautiful quote above. Classical, as defined in the english dictionary, represents an exemplary standard within a traditional and long established form or style.
Classical principles of riding and training have been embodied in the words and writings of the great Masters. It is the legacy of thousands of years of knowledge and teachings passed on through Masters and their students confirming the best equestrian practice.
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 horses, 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 process, even if they mean well.
I aim to help keep the Classical Principles and the great Masters alive through knowledge and education. 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.