It is very helpful to find a more contemporary example to refer to in trying to make sense of what the masters wrote and how to apply that knowledge to your every day practice of riding. The trainers listed below are from the current era, are well read and are a fantastic resource. All of them have some kind of reading material (books, magazine articles) or video that you could obtain. Some of them are currently giving clinics around the world. Some, who have passed on, have left behind students that you could seek out. The summaries below are concise compilations taken from the trainers’ books and/or from their websites.
Philippe Karl dropped his medical studies in 1968 to dedicate himself to working with horses. He obtained his national riding instructor certificate and went on to head the riding department at the Centre d´Enseignement Zootechnique in Rambouillet. After several years, he ran his own stable and competed in show jumping and eventing. In 1985 he became an Ecuyer at the Cadre Noir, where he trained and performed for 13 years. In 1998 he left the Cadre Noir and now devotes his time to writing and training instructors through his Teachers Course. Philippe Karl is an ardent advocate for the horse. He has written books, articles, and letters refuting the validity of modern competitive riding practices that are detrimental to the horse. He has petitioned the FEI, written and entire book on the subject, and created a DVD contrasting the classical school with the modern school. His books: “The Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage”; “The Art of Riding: Classical Dressage to High School: Odin at Saumur”; and “Long Reining, The Saumur Method” are available in English as well as his DVD’s, “Classical Dressage, Volumes 1-4” , “Classical vs. Classique”, “Modern Equestrianism”, “Teaching a Language”, and “Philippe Karl School of Legerete 1&2″.
Anja Beran at the age of 15 began her official equestrian studies with Luis Valencia in Portugal. One year later she met Manuel Jorge de Oliveira, the man who was to become her equestrian mentor. Portugal subsequently became Anja Beran’s second equestrian home. From the age of 16 onwards, she rode with Marc de Broissia, who had trained in France before moving to Portugal in order to perfect his skills as a master of classical dressage.Marc de Broissia’s yard became Anja Beran’s first “workplace”. At the age of 19, immediately after passing her higher school leaving certificate, she became a member of his training team and rode under his auspices for the next 14 years. Anja has her own farm at Gut Rosenhof in Barvaria where she trains many high level stallions. She teaches and gives clinics as well. She has a very beautiful and comprehensive book, “Classical Schooling with the Horse in Mind” and several DVDs.
Francois Lemaire de Ruffieu grew up in France and was first trained by Maitre Jean Couillaud. He graduated from the Cadre Noir and spent six years in the cavalry at Saumur and Fontainbleau, studying and showing in dressage, stadium jumping, three day eventing, and steeplechase. He came to the US in 1971 and he teaches clinics all over the US and Europe. He has written two books, “The Handbook of Riding Essentials” and “The Handbook of Jumping Essentials”. He has written for several magazines and is a talented artist.
Jean Claude Racinet a graduate of St. Cyr, he completed the Superior Equitation Course at Saumur. He became a teacher, trainer and writer in civilian life. In 1983 he moved to the US and taught until his death in 2009. His books include, “Another Horsemanship”, “Total Horsemanship”, “Racinet Explains Baucher”, and “Fallling for Fallicies”. His work was very influenced by Baucher and his work was branded, “Riding in Lightness”.
Pat Parelli calls his work “natural horsemanship” without going into the history of the term, it has come to indicate in today’s horse world, a method that is very different than common training practices found in the US that were not so horse-friendly.
It means a focus on humane handling of horses, using pressure and release to create a language for the horse to understand. It is typically taught by trainers who use a western saddle and most of them can trace their educational lineage to Bill and Tom Dorrance. Bill and Tom Dorrance, interestingly enough, studied French Classical Dressage and specifically, Francois Baucher!
Harry Whitney Taken from Harry’s website… “Harry Whitney prefers not to call himself a horse trainer. Instead, he is simply someone who sees things from the horse’s point of view. Someone fluent in the language of horses. A perceptive, kind, and clear instructor, Harry is able to help folks understand their horses, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of their horses. You would never know it by looking at his old high toppers and cowboy hat, but Harry holds an animal science degree from Kansas State University. Harry has been a professional animal trainer since he was a youngster. His acts have included not only horses and ponies, but dogs, cats, goats, steers, and even chickens!” “A horse is always looking to have his feet and his mind in the same place” is something I wrote down as Harry having said. This pretty much sums up in the most concise way possible his training philosophy. Harry Whitney has no books or videos. If you want to learn what he is about you must go work with him. Tom Moates wrote a book called, “A Horse’s Thought: A Journey into Honest Horsemanship” about his experience learning from Harry. Harry spends most of his time giving clinics across the country as well as at his home in Arizona.
Mark Rashid Mark Rashid (pronounced RASH-id) is a horse trainer known for his ability to understand the horse’s point of view and solve difficult problems with communication rather than force. He began working with horses at age ten, when he met the “old man,” who taught him to work with horses, not against them, and to listen to what the horse is trying to say. Mark also incorporates the principles of aikido into his training. Mark has written many books including, “Considering the Horse”, “A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color”, “Horses Never Lie”, “Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse”,” Horsemanship Through Life”, “Big Horses, Good Dogs, & Straight Fences”, and “A Life With Horses”.
Leslie Desmond Leslie grew up in Massachusetts and Vermont where she trained her horses for jumping competitions and local gymkhana events. She went on to coach children and new horse owners in the basics of riding and horse care. After high school, she worked at a number show barns, racing stables and small breeding establishments on the east coast and Midwest USA. For 43 years Leslie has helped horses and their owners. In 1990, Leslie relocated her riding school to Novato, California, where she founded Diamond Lu Productions and released her first three-volume video series, “American Horsemanship for Young & Old. She was inspired to produce the best-selling “how-to” horsemanship series for beginners by her most influential childhood mentor, Ivan Taylor, a retired World War I cavalry officer from Manchester, Vermont . During the last years of his life, Bill Dorrance asked Leslie to accept his guidance during a 4-year apprenticeship while she recorded his knowledge and experiences for posterity. Between 1995 and 1999 they trained horses together, put on demonstrations and held clinics around Monterey County, California, while she co-wrote the classic text, “True Horsemanship Through Feel”. The sequel to their book, a 10-CD audio book called “Horse Handling and Riding Through Feel” that Leslie published in 2006, is a guide to better horsemanship through feel.
Jack Brainard Trainer, Breeder, Judge, Leader, Teacher, Author, Mentor and Friend are all accurate labels of Jack Brainard of Tioga, Texas, long known for his contributions to the equine industry and his lifelong commitment to horses and the people who enjoy them.He has bred and trained horses for over 53 years and judged for a variety of national horse associations for over 40 years. These Associations include Paint Horse, Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Palomino, NCHA Cutting and NRHA reining shows, both in the U. S. and abroad. Jack is known as “the master of the flying lead change”. He also is one of the few horsemen who regularly refers to Baucher, Beudant, and other French school masters at his clinics.
Some other folks worth checking out…
Dr. Deb Bennett Dr. Deb’s Equine Studies Institute website is full of helpful articles on training. Dr. Deb is a scientist and takes a very scientific, fact based look at training horses. This approach is very holistic and looks at how anatomy, biomechanics, and horse behavior all inform correct training.
Dr. Hillary Clayton at the McPhail Equine Performance Center “The McPhail Equine Performance Center is a multi-disciplinary team of veterinarians, animal scientists, kinesiologists, and engineers who work together to improve the health and well-being of sport horses.” This site contains some interesting research currently being conducted on sport horses. The research has significance for how horse training should be conducted.
Allen Pogue taken from his website…“We use Trick Horse Training to develop the intelligence, adaptability and predictability of the Companion Horse. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of Trick Horse Training is that it gives the horse an acceptable outlet for self expression and it gives the handler a way to solicit the individuality of each horse.”