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The History of Classical Equitation

Posted in: Classical Equitation

A Brief Summary of the History of Classical Equitation

Written by Craig Stevens

“People often ask us to define “classical” equitation. Classical riding is not simply “riding in an older style.”  Some people argue that it only means one school or another– only the German classical approach, or only what you see at the Spanish Riding School, or only “baroque” riding for instance. Although people will get quite fierce about it, the term legitimately has different meanings for different people.

When we use the term “classical” we have a very clear, very specific reason for doing so. Anything that is “classical” has specific attributes. Our approach is “classical” because this form of riding began in antiquity, and more specifically, it traces its roots directly to the time of the early Greeks. The term “Classical” also refers to the Platonic notion of an ideal, a kind of surpassing beauty and transcendant reality that is instantly recognizable as being real. Classical also is used to describe an art form that can be traced through a series of masters through time, and this method has it’s champions from Xenophon, through the Italian masters, then the French, to the present era. There is an unbroken and verifiable lineage of masters who practiced this form of riding, who adhered to the principles with which we view training and teaching.”

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A Brief Summary of the History of Classical Equitation