Welcome to Classical Riding & Dressage Australia
Here you will find a collection of resources and links relevant to riders, teachers and trainers who aim to preserve and promote Classical Riding and Schooling. My motivation to 'spread the word' on Classical Riding comes from a lifelong quest to know, respect and protect the nature of horses, and to realise the joy of riding in lightness with the willing consent of the horse.
For Philippe Karl - Ecole de Légèreté - School of Lightness Clinics in Australia. See News - Events - Clinics
Find us on FACEBOOK at: Classical Riding (Equine Encounters)
Classical: Time honoured and multi-cultural
is not new, nor is this site intended to be about anyone's particular system of training. "Classical Schooling" has too much history and rich culture to be claimed by any one individual, though many worthy masters and scientists have added value to it, and still do. It is old but it is not static. The art and science of classical schooling remains dynamic and keeps improving with current scientific, physiological, ethological and bio-mechanical developments that we now have access to. But I encourage you to do your research carefully.
Horse trainers (and that is anyone who rides or handles a horse) tend to travel a long and winding road that rarely leads to the harmony and lightness we may have hoped to find. My hope, is that the resources here will help to straighten or shorten the windy road a little, and lead you to play with a philosophy of positive lightness. Living with horses is a humbling and highly rewarding journey of self-discovery, in more ways than one, and with respect for the horse, we invite you to come for the ride.
Classical schooling is a philosophy; a ‘way of thinking’ about horse training that has been practiced for centuries since Xenophon wrote; ‘On Horsemanship’ in 350 BC - one of the oldest surviving works detailing the principles of classical schooling, including training the horse in a manner that is non-abusive.
Sue Morris described it well:
“The education of a rider in the classical tradition has been likened to a journey through a mythical Dark Forest in search of an Enchanted Castle hidden in a clearing in the centre. There are many falsely marked paths that beckon with promises of short cuts and easy routes. Some riders are tempted to try out these detours only to find they lead nowhere and have to backtrack to the original path.
The journey is not just one of learning to ride better; it is one of self-discovery. It forces the rider to take stock of who they are as a person and for some that can be the hardest part of all.
There are no quick fixes or magic pieces of tack that make our work easier. What we do need is an open mind and the humbleness to be able to admit that even after (x) years of riding we may not know anywhere near as much as we perhaps thought we did.”
Finding the Balance
In terms of training, it’s much about balance... on so many levels. Apart from the obvious need for a balanced rider, and a balanced horse, it’s about balance between what the rider wants and what the horse wants. It's a balance between what the horse can do, and what it will do generously, and a classical rider will always favour the horse's welfare.
Respect for the feelings, emotions, physical abilities, disabilities and welfare of another living being is the foundation of classical training. If we want to befriend and work with another being, who speaks a different language to us – we can only do this by first learning their language, and then asking them what they are willing or able to do with us. Anything less, may be against their will, and counter-productive to the friendship. There is no point shouting louder in English to someone who speaks French!
If you would like to recommend an article or a website to be listed on our links page please email Susie Walker