Conventional or Classic. What is right?

There should be no right or wrong, but only what the horse needs. There are many abuses in equestrian sport that are unacceptable. But equestrian sport should not be about proving that one is better than the other and pointing one at the other with one finger. If you deal sufficiently with the nature of the horse, its biomechanics, anatomy, evulotion, the nervous system and the psyche, the horse is really included and won't be left behind throught thoughts about methodology and blind following of riding styles.

Good trainers of conventional training accompanied me in my youth and later. The training was sport-oriented and focused on success in the respective discipline. I have taken along many important elements. But most of all, to focus on a lot of suppleness in combination with dynamics. In general, but especially in the high level movements and on the jump, so that the horse is able to coordinate its body completely and to move freely. However, questions remained open for more health-improving work. When the movement of overflexion started slowly in the 80s / 90s, I looked for alternatives.

I was given the opportunity to gain more insight into the classic and the historical art of riding-related work. This work already answered many unanswered questions and taught me how to train the horse according to its naturalness. Each movement was a gift and was considered special. Thoughts were made about how to build these movements up and only one foot in front of the other was made. Nothing was rushed or subjected to pressure.

Then I also got to know the French classic dressage, which I have dedicated myself to for almost 20 years. It offers in gymnastics and dressage work the necessary structure and a concrete building plan. This work has certainly shaped mine the most sustainable, because it is extremely conclusive and profound. I look with gratitude to the first achievements of more flexibility of the horses that I have trained in this work. Relaxation, strength and a stronger self-confidence was one of the numerous results and for me a significant successes in terms of the horse's health.

For me the following masters are the ones who have dealt with the horse most clearly and respectfully:

1530-1610 Salomon de la Broue

De la Broue was one of the most important riding instructors of the 16th century. He is, with Antoine de Pluvinel and Chevalier Saint-Antoine, one of the three major students Giovanni Pignatelli from the Neapolitan school. Together with Pluvinel he is considered the founder of the French riding school. De la Broue dealt extensively with certain riding exercises and the education of the rider to responsible, thinking, quiet, planning "horse people". All negatives had to be avoided in the work with the horse, and thus the humiliation of the horse was considered unacceptable. An anxious, nervous, tired or overstrained horse could never learn the high schools, let alone perform perfectly.

1555-1620 Antoine de Pluvinel

Pluvinel was riding instructor of Louis XIII and one of the main representatives of the non-violent teaching method in cavalry. Although he was a pupil of Giovanni Pignatelli, and at the time the Italian school of equitation was the leading force in his practice of violence, Pluvinel believed that the horse could not be brought to cooperate with no sympathy for his character, praise and patience. This non-violent method should contribute to the horse's performance and extend his life. This attitude is clearly shown in the following two quotations from his book Le Manège Royal (posthumously published in 1623):

"The horse must enjoy the riding course itself, otherwise the rider will not succeed with grace."

"We should be anxious not to annoy the horse and preserve its natural grace, it resembles the flower scent of the fruit, which will never return once it has flown away."

Pluvinel took the view that all riding figures were only an elaboration of the natural movements of the horse, which should be made more expressive by the cavalry.

1687-1751 François Robichon de la Guérienière

De la Guérinière invented the correct seat of the rider still valid today. In his 1733 published book École de Cavalerie Guérinière first described a systematic training for the horse, which leads from the easy to the serious, and is still considered the basis for the classical equestrian art. Guérinière rejected any use of force in the training of the horse and demanded that each horse must be trained individually, as required by his facilities. In addition to the seat still common today Guérinière also invented the shoulder-in (French épaule en dedans) and the flat seated saddle to create for the rider the new form of the seat, which was hardly feasible in the hitherto customary saddles, to facilitate.

 1796-1873 François Baucher

Baucher was a French champion of dressage in the French style. He spoke out against an exaggerated counteraction of various aids. In 1843, a German translation of his ‘New Method of Equitation’ was published. After various editions, this new method became known as Baucher’s "first manner". This was followed by his "second manner".

Baucher already split the equestrian world into two camps during his lifetime. This division has survived to this day and is expressed in the existence of two famous riding schools, the Spanish Riding School, which was based upon the methods of François Robichon de la Guérinière and the Cadre Noir, whose training program was influenced by Baucher's methods.


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