HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON DRESSAGE
CARLOS N. GOMEZ
Allow me to stress that the books in the list below are only for advanced dressage riders. Beginners and medium-level riders will trap themselves on how to understand their contents. In my experience, they become completely ineffective riders, trying to feel what they are "supposed" to feel, instead of developing a legitimate contact with the horse.
The golden list:
1- The Principles of Riding, Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation, Book 1;
2- Riding Logic, Wilhelm Museler;
3- Lungeing, Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation, Book 6;
4- Complete Training of Horse and Rider, Alois Podhajsky;
5- Advanced Techniques of Dressage, Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation;
6- Basic Training of the Young Horse, Dr. Reiner Klimke;
7- Cavaletti: Schooling of Horse and Rider over Ground Poles, Dr. Reiner Klimke;
8- The Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse, Charles de Kunffy;
9- Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prix, Walter A. Zettl;
10- Das Dressur Pferd, Harry Boldt;
11- Reflections on Equestrian Art, Nuno Oliveira;
12- Horsemanship: A Comprehensive Book on Training the Horse and its Rider, Waldemar Zeunig;
13- School of Horsemanship, De La Gueriniere;
14- The Art of Horsemanship, Xenophon;
15- Give Your Horse a Chance, D'Endrody;
16- Von der Koppel Bis Zur Kapriole, Waldemar Seunig;
17- Dressage: A Guidebook for the Road to Success, Alfred Knopfhart;
18- System der Reitkunst, Ludwig Seeger;
19- Die Dressur Diffiziler Pferde, E. F. Seidler;
And, of course, the best of them all:
GYMNASYUM DES PFERDES (The Gymnasium of the Horse), Gustav Steinbrecht. This book was first published in 1884. A few quotations will show its power:
"Both yielding at the poll and suppling up of the hindquarters go hand in hand”.
“Ride your horse forward and set it up straight”.
"...all [training exercises] follow one another in such a way that the preceding exercise always constitutes a secure basis for the next one. Violations of this rule will always exert payment later on; not only by a triple loss of time but very frequently by resistances, which for a long time if not forever interfere with the relationship between horse and rider."
“If the art [of riding] were not so difficult we would have plenty of good riders and excellently ridden horses, but as it is the art requires, in addition to everything else, character traits that are not combined in everyone: inexhaustible patience, firm perseverance under stress, courage combined with quiet alertness. If the seed is present only a true, deep love for the horse can develop these character traits to the height that alone will lead to the goal.”
"Motion is the element of the horse and all motion starts in the hindquarters. If therefore the flexibility of the hindquarters must be the ultimate purpose of all dressage training, this in no way means that lateral bending of poll, neck, and spine are unnecessary. Rather, the flexibility of these parts must first be obtained so that it can then be used as a means for the main purpose, namely to work the hindquarters."
"If the ridden horse has the advantage, among many others, over the unridden horse that it is able to move easily and with regularity in a small space in the gaits nature gave it, this is because of the flexibility of its entire body that dressage training has given it."
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