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The Truth about Classical Riding

Posted in: Classical Equitation

The Truth about Classical Riding

written by Sylvia Loch

“…The truth is there is nothing new or innovative about classical riding. It is about discipline and real understanding of how the horse is put together, both morphologically and psychologically. Classical riding has been with us for hundreds of years; the only new thing is we are beginning to bring it to the attention of the general rider, instead of to the select few. It is undeniable that the term ‘classical riding’ has tended to remain in the domain of equestrian academia until recently…

…Having been teaching this philosophy now for over twenty-five years, travelling world-wide to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and all over America as well as Europe, I have found that there are remarkably few problem horses, but a great many problem riders. Unfortunately, people have to be learn to be humble to accept that they might have a problem. We have all been guilty of blaming the horse when things go wrong.

To understand a little of the history of classical riding we need to think ourselves back to Ancient Greece, just a few hundred years prior to the birth of Christ. Up until that point, there had been various cultures which had searched for something more aesthetic in their lives, but it was the Greeks who really elevated people’s consciousness to a new dimension. Initially, the term ‘classical’ embraced all the different art forms, music, literature, poetry, painting and sculpture being the most obvious. Classical implied working with nature, using nature’s laws to achieve a roundness, rhythm and balance to all man’s pursuits and creations. Only by adhering to the natural laws was it thought that harmony and grace would flow.

For this reason painting had to be lifelike, and form and shape was to mirror what Nature herself produced. Poetry and music should sustain the natural rhythms of Nature with a pattern and a constancy to everything as typified by the seasons, the phases of the moon and the tides of the sea. Gradually as the classical ideal took hold and was seen to enhance the arts, the idea spread into other pursuits to include dancing, the martial arts and finally riding.”

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The Truth about Classical Riding