...According to the introduction in the book, he recommended the one mentioned and "Dressage" by Henry Wynmalen
. It also said when asked if there were any books to read, he replied, "There may be, but I have not read it yet
If anyone was thinking of reading Henry Wynmalen's book...don't. Unless it is free. And then read it looking for an occasional nugget of goodness lurking in the BS.
For example, only the most highly trained horses can move under control on a loose rein. "Normally, the horse is in a sense a prisoner, enclosed between the effects of hand and leg.
" And, "So, in any serious riding, we use both hands; there is not the slightest merit in trying to do with one hand that which can be done infinitely better with two.
Spurs and whips are essentials for riding. Not to punish, of course, but as necessary ways of communicating. And without a spur, one is left with just a clumsy heel - which I suppose may be clumsy, if your goal includes keeping the horse a prisoner between your hand and leg!
Discussions of center of gravity are utterly meaningless, he says, since on cannot know exactly in advance what the horse's center of gravity will be - as though we cannot feel it and do not, in fact, almost instinctively try to match it with our own.
The loin of the horse, BTW, cannot carry any weight, since the spine functions to carry weight, and the spine is reinforced by the ribs. So where the ribs are not, the horse cannot bear any weight - regardless of the fact that they undeniably do - just as I can carry an 80 lb sack of pellets on one shoulder, well offset from my spine.
Perhaps the greatest divergence is revealed in a section where he and I are also strongly in agreement:
"In training a horse, we are in reality trying to form a partnership, wherein the horse shall supply the motive power and the rider the directing power or brain. But the horse is possessed of a brain himself, and this cannot be short-circuited...the horse and the rider must learn to think alike, in order to be able to act alike.
The first underlining highlights were I disagree, and where I in fact dislike much of traditional or classical dressage - the horse is the muscle and we are the brain. Fundamental to how I wish to ride - even if it means I will never go beyond being a 5 Ingredient Rider - is that I believe horses can be taught judgment, and SHOULD be taught judgment, and that the secret of good riding is to truthfully
convince the horse that he WANTS to do what the rider also wants to do - normally. But it also includes the concept that the horse can and should refuse the rider at times, and that is what makes horse and rider a real team and not a phony one.
But I also agree that all our work is done through the horse's mind, and that "the horse and the rider must learn to think alike, in order to be able to act alike
I can see some nuggets of goodness, but I find them overwhelmed by a lack of understanding about how a horse moves and how a horse carries weight.
But in fairness - he writes with a very different goal in mind. He views dressage riding, which he says needs to be done in a level, controlled arena, as the pinnacle of riding. I view any riding that must be done on level, smooth ground as circus training. And while I believe some dressage riders manage to make their horses full participants - I think the current Olympic champion has done it - I also think it takes a truly gifted rider to do so.
And in fairness, I really like what Harry Chamberlin wrote about position and balance, but dislike his approach to reins and spurs as strongly as Chamberlin disliked western riding and riders! But this is NOT a book I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't consider Haute Ecole the supreme goal of riding. And even then, too much of what he writes simply conflicts with what I have watched and ridden and done. I do not understand how anyone can reasonably expect to train a horse in movements if one does not first understand what the horse DOES to get that motion.