“The definition of classical equestrianism: It is the ability, by means of good exercices, logically structured and based on the natural laws of balance and harmony, to train the horse so that it subordinates itself to the rider´s will contentedly and with self-confidence, without any detriment whatsoever to its own natural sequence of movement.”
This sentence actually contains everything which needs to be said. Nevertheless, I should like to summarize the most striking aspects of our work as follows: The trainer who schools his horses according to the classical principles works in a way which is far removed from the spirit of primitive constraint. This philosophy requires great respect for the living creature. Whereas “firm contact” – which conceals tensions and often makes horses appear dull, lacking impulsion and lightness – is commonly practised in modern dressage sport, the classical rider instead minimises his aids as soon as the horse begins to respond. In this way the rider makes the horse attentive, encourages impulsion and self-carriage. This high aim is achieved by gymnasticising the horse in a way which is specially adapted to suit its individual needs. This key sentence implies great knowledge, experience as well as sensitivity on the part of the rider.