I just read Jean-Claude Racinet's "Falling for Fallacies".  My mind is blown, this is the dressage I thought ALL dressage was back in my innocent youth, light handed with the willing cooperation of the horse.  As a Forward Seat rider I never got into learning competition dressage because I could never see a way to go from the free forward movement to full collection that did not BREAK the flow of the horse, until I started reading Nuno Oliveira, and now Racinet.   I can now see a way to go from full Forward Seat to full collection without compromising my horsie moral code.

If you've read Racinet what are your thoughts on his methods?

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Thanks so much for the reading list
Small world have just been deliberating on which of Racine's books to read first. Any advice very gratefully received! Where did you find Falling for Fallacies Jackie? Also what are people's opinions on the work of Dr. Gerd Heuschmann?
I ordered the Falling for Fallacies on the net, in fact I think I ordered it through amazon.com itself.
I haven't read Heuschmann. I am also interested in other people's opinions.
I HIGHLY recommend Udo Burger's "The Way to Perfect Horsemanship". This is one of the two riding books that I've read that actually lives up to its title! It is about dressage, and the only dressage book that I've found stuff I use EVERY time I ride. I don't ride dressage (I ride Forward Seat.)
Hopefully next year I can afford more of Racinet's books. I especially am interested in his translation of Baucher's book, the one on Baucher's second method. A Racinet student recommended to me that I read "Another Horsemanship" first. Xenephon Press has a special through the web on the other three of his books, you get all three and you only have to pay the postage for one. I'd do it now but I've got to save up for birthdays and Christmas. It is so totally ridiculous how many dressage books I have since I do not and probably will never ride dressage, but I have all the Forward Seat books written in English and I am always willing to learn from other methods, so long I can do it non-abusively.
you should read them in order - Another Horsemanship, Racinet Explains Baucher, and then Total Horsemanship. It doesn't really make sense otherwise. Plan to read the Baucher book twice. I rode with JC for over 10 years before I read it and still had to read it twice.
Cheers Heather, I have been dithering which to buy myself as a birthday treat & so will go with your recommendation. Also thanks Jackie (again! )for sharing your experience: there are soo many books & so few I've found that actually make sense or build any sort of treatise, too many reiterate similar tenets that are it seems learned by rote without questioning basic principles & promoted as quick fixes/routes to success by celebrity competitors.
Jackie could you explain to me what you mean by forward seat? do you mean light 2 point seat such as I would usually expect to use whilst jumping or whilst riding a youngster, with shorter stirrups, your weight off the back & in the stirrup as opposed to deep dressage seat with weight thru your seatbones & legs? Is there a Forward seat methodology? Sorry to be so ignorant.
Best wishes to you allx
The forward seat was developed by Federico Caprilli of the Italian Cavalry in the late 1890's to early 1900's, and when he died in 1907 (?) the Italian cavalry allowed officers from all other cavalries to come and learn the new system.
Today, you mostly see the pure FS just over jumps, and often badly done.
I personally follow the FS system of Vladimir Littauer, his best book on it is "Common Sense Horsemanship". There are great similarities between the FS position for slow equitation and the light seat of dressage, except there tends to be more weight in the stirrups in the FS position than the dressage position.
If you are interested, please read my blogs. With my MS all I can do is FS on the flat, mostly at a walk and trot. I also have some blogs on the theory, I'm listing the links below.

http://www.barnmice.com/profiles/blogs/the-forward-seat-position-for (for my blog The Forward Seat Position for Slow Equitation)
http://www.barnmice.com/profiles/blogs/the-forward-seat-position-for-1 (for my blog The Forward Seat Position for Fast Equitation)
http://www.barnmice.com/profiles/blogs/the-forward-seat-position-for-2 (for my blog The Forward Seat Position for Jumping)
http://www.barnmice.com/profiles/blogs/32-faults-in-position-to-avoid (for my blog 32 Faults to Avoid While Jumping)
http://www.barnmice.com/profiles/blogs/anothe-blast-from-the (for my blog Another Blast From the Past--Caprilli on Contact)
Or you can go to my blog page and there is a list of subjects of my blogs on the right hand side of the page. Click on the forward seat.

There is most definitely a methodology for Forward Seat. In the USA it is called the American System of Forward Riding, the official site is http://www.anrc.org.. This system is based on Vladimir Littauer's work in turning the Italian sistema created for cavalry scouts into a system learnable by riding students in the USA. The system covers riding, control, and schooling, you ride in a forward position, your controls are based on the FS ideal that the horse best knows where to carry his own head, and the schooling is to teach the horse to move in a relaxed, energy efficient manner while obeying the signals of FS control (aids). As for the control there is one prime rule--YOUR HANDS BELONG TO THE HORSE'S MOUTH.
The reason that I have gotten interested in the French Dressage of Lightness is that it seems to be the only system of dressage I could do (if I did not have MS) without completely ruining a good horse trained in the FS system. In all the others I get this feeling (yes, it is just from reading with some experimentation decades ago) of BLOCKING the horse's forward impulse. If I were able I could do the French school I think I could do it without compromising my horsie moral code, which is based firmly on the FS writings, philosophies, and practices.
Wow: thanks Jackie, I have heard of Caprilli but was not aware of modern FS methodology and so will read with interest.
Jackie, when you are mentioning Nuno Oliveira, I wonder what you think about his video:

I want you to watch his hands. Closely. Watch the mouth of the horse at the same time. At those corner, watch his spurs. Stop it as many times as it takes to get a better view, since it is a bad quality. Tell me, what you make out of it. Perhaps it might be the most important eye opener ever. Perhaps not...
Quite impressive.
And you know the thing that impressed me the most is that though Mr. Oliveira wore spurs and used his leg aids quite a bit, I did not see the horse's tail lashing from side to side.
MUCH more pleasant to watch than modern competition dressage.
I doubt that I will ever be able to ride at this level, especially one-handed.
Not only have I read this wonderful new book, but I was a student of JCR for over 20 years whenever he came to our area. Like so many other people JCR's reasoned approach to riding changed my life and interaction with my equine friends. In addition I have taught all of his ideas to my students who are skeptical at first and believers after. Read all of his books in order starting with Another Horsemanship.

Once you have read and practiced what Jean Claude has written, try reading Phillippe Karl who was also in charge of the Cadre Noir at Samur and had a similar background. This book is more technical, but worth the study.

For a very understandable read of classical dressage read Mike Schaffer's "Right From the Start" and "In the Moment Dressage". Both are fashioned on the true classical methods and are in a language that is eminently understandable. A video of "Right From the Start" is also available.

There will never be another master of Jean Claude's ilk. Those of us who knew him will always feel the void in our lives. One of his favorite sayings was: "Horses pull, people don't". Really sums up the concept of Riding In Lightness.

Ellin Daum
I borrowed a book of Karl Phillipe, and I refused to read it. For the reason that is stated above, that "the flexion of the jaw is supposed to be a key to the horse". Karl Phillipe does a lot of flexion of the mouths, all right. He filled his book with many photographs how to do exactly that, and I placed it on the garbage pile, where it belongs.

Here is the video what Karl Phillipe regards as acceptable:


He is the trainer ordering the flexion - overbending. Other video, that has been taken down since, depicted Karl how he "works a horse mouth" from the ground. It was based on applying pressure on various points of the horse bars, including a top bar, and letting the horse to fight it until it found a comfortable spot. And keep it there!

I mean, how would these people ride their horses, if they could not manipulate the neck and the jaws of the horse like a rubber? My guess is - not very far. How different is this from rollkur?

Is this really, I mean REALLY, what dressage is about? Can anyone ride without rubbering the horse's front at all?
Well, yes you can. My horses necks are fine. It is because I ride Forward Seat rather than competition dressage. Forward Seat is a form of the champain (sp?) school, which a lot of dressage people considered a necessary part of the dressage horse's first 2-3 years of training just a few decades ago. The FS does not mess with the head carriage of the horse, and only advanced riders use jaw flexions, and this is usually at speed (galloping).
People get hung up on the prancing horses. The horses I ride do not prance.
My horses, in bits or in various bitless alternatives, often give me jaw flexions. The only times that a horse under me does jaw flexions or goes into collection, it is because it is the horse's idea of how to react to my aids. I do not DEMAND jaw flexions. I do not demand collection.
What I ask for is free striding forward movement with the horse keeping contact with a relaxed tongue and jaw. I view jaw flexions as the horse rewarding me for riding the horse with relaxed, yielding hands giving signals at the correct point of the horse's stride, that is I never give a rein signal when the horse's mouth is moving forwards (well, 99.9% of the time, I'm human.) When I give an rein aid I release it IMMEDIATELY. I practice riding off contact a lot--this forces the horse to learn how to balance himself under a rider. I practice going on-off-on contact a lot, keeping a steady speed and not altering the horse's head carriage. I absolutely and totally refuse to ride a horse behind the bit--to me that is a signal that my hands are too hard &/or I'm not giving the horse enough rein for the movement.
I don't know about dressage, since I don't ride it. There are many different schools of dressage riding, and each one says it is the best way. All I'm interested in is riding free striding horses with lightness, which ideal Caprilli voiced over a century ago. I am willing to learn anything that will enable me to do this better, including learning from other equestrian disciplines.


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