The Art of Riding by Phillipe Karl


Written March 2, 2014 by Marsha Heiden

Ride Your Dream! Buy an Andalusian!

Ride Your Dream!
Buy an Andalusian!

If you own an Andalusian buy this book! If you are thinking about buying an Andalusian buy this book! If you ride dressage buy this book! If you only have one book in your equine library this should be it! I avoided buying this book for a  number of years because  it was more money than I wanted to spend on it.   Truly my loss! Finally as my exploration into French Classical Dressage   continued it was a necessity to add The Art of Riding: Classical dressage up to High School Odin at Saumur   to my shelf. It was written by Philippe Karl and published by Cadmos in 2010.

This book tells the story of  Odin a Lusitano  stallion and  his training  with Phillipe Karl primarily while at Saumur. It however is more than the story of one horse’s journey but an in depth look at the progressive  training in the French Classical tradition that regards lightness and balance  as primary in the  development  of the horse. It is a method and way of  training I have sought to embrace for decades in the training of my own Andalusian horses.

The book begins with a ‘Hippo-thesis’, a frank analysis of Odin’s confor-mation as a riding horse, then proceeds with ‘The requirements of bal-ance’ interspersed with Phillipe Karl’s well articulated process of educating  a horse are also stories of Odin. Antidotes about Odin’s problem areas in training and trials in exhibitions, as well as, the political climate at Saumur that at times made Odin’s presence at Saumur precarious.  The book continues through the end of Odin’s education discussing lateral suppling, longitudinal flexibility, work at the canter, collection, flying changes, piaffe, passage, pesade, and canter pirouettes in-hand, on long reins, and under saddle. Instead of overwhelming us with detail Karl lays out with great care a step by step process the nuts and bolts of developing the horse in a classical approach. The book demands a certain understanding of training principles, assumes the tact and feel of the rider is adequate it lends it-self to those of us who wish to be better rider’s and trainers. Most notable those riders and trainers looking for the way of lightness and balance.

The Art of Riding: Classical dressage up to High School Odin at Saumur is well worth the money. If you have been looking for a book that speaks in a methodical way about training for lightness and balance then look no further. Clearly written, beautiful photographs, and helpful diagrams in my opinion a must have for any dressage rider that want to rider lighter and better. I love to ride my Andalusians and this book makes every ride better than the last. Ride lighter! Enjoy the ride! I know I do!