It is wonderful to see the interest in dressage riding growing. However, dressage riding is classical equitation and should be artful riding, and differ from ordinary riding. The rider has to progress from the beginner level to a more advanced level.
Egon von Neindorff was aesthetic in regarding the rider’s seat. Only the correct seat could develop the foundation needed for accurate horsemanship with aids that do not disturb the horse. The rider’s goal should be to create a horse with a supple back. This can only be achieved through the horse’s hindquarters engagement which requires the rider’s correct seat. Von Neindorff attempted to clarify to his students that with their aids, they must sit into the horse! He was a talented educator with a rare gift for rhetoric. The picture of the horse that we should see is one where all the power is developed in the hindquarters, driving forward through the spine, not the forelegs dragging the hind legs after them.
The pure teaching of classical horsemanship is a guide for the rider in search of the only correct path. To provide direction and perhaps assist in the rebirth of the almost forgotten art of riding I want you to think and prepare yourself mentally. The number of riders not desiring a thorough education is greater than in the past. However, the conscientious horseman knows that he or she is not infallible and must always continue to learn by refining the practice and accomplishment of an almost imperceptible merge of the classical principles and nature-oriented art of riding with honest, practical and functional horsemanship.
In most cases at shows, we can see a downward trend, reducing the general standard of horsemanship with incorrect circles and corners, horses not flexed at the poll and jaw and not bending in the ribcage. If this is missing, a horse will never get completely supple and balanced. It does not matter how enthusiastic a rider is about learning to ride. If having never experienced all of these points, he or she will not acquire the correct seat or feeling on such a horse.
There are too few role models that serve as a guiding example. One seldom sees horses that are ridden with engaged hindquarters through the spine so that they come forward into the bit. The rider feels it in his hands. This is not an attack or even a critical comment, but just simply a fact. Good natural gaits are rewarded far more than how skilful horsemanship is demonstrated. It is very important to recognize the difference and appreciate good riders who get the best out of modest horses that are correctly ridden. Otherwise the quality will degenerate more and more if we accept it as such. Amen!
For questions and enquiries contact
Josef Thauer (519) 298-4144