Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A followup to last week's controversy

Last week's renvers/travers posting is what passes for "hot controversy" on my blog :-). Recall that I posted some videos of renvers and travers, and several readers responded in scolding tones that the movements were not correct. While acknowledging their points, I secretly felt that the videos -- while admittedly not correct -- were suitable for the article. One could argue that the trainer/rider was exaggerating the bend to illustrate the differences in the movements. I like to choose videos that use non-warmbloods, and that probably swayed me more than anything else. Anyway, we don't need to revisit last week's article. In fact, thanks in advance for not revisiting :-).

Who is that guy, anyway?
The whole incident prompted me to delve a littler deeper into this trainer/horse combination. And I'm not sure what to make of this trainer. The video below will surely fan the embers left from last week's article...

A canter pirouette

Readers will be gratified to know that I feel this is a less than ideal representation of the movement, starting with the absence of a true canter.

I'm not going to mention the trainer by name lest he call up this article when he googles himself. Take a look at the web site. Read the bio. He's studied with Nuno Oliveira and others. He does have a following and many of his clinics are videotaped if you want to go out and find them. His students write about him reverently in blogs and vblogs. The spotted horse is blind and (according to the Web site) has broken three of his legs. If nothing else, the site is interesting reading.

There must be a microculture of classical dressage enthusiasts who don't subscribe to the modern dressage standards. Or maybe they're just a little loony. Your thoughts?


  1. There are many of classical dressage riders who steer clear of anything 'modern' dressage has touched, and for very, very good reasons.
    I personally do not like this trainer at all, he feels very 'parelli' to me. A bunch of fanatics following him who just don't know any better.
    Philippe Karl, though... THERE'S a sight to behold! Puts modern dressage to shame every time.

  2. I don't know this trainer. But there certainly is a "classical dressage" microculture out there. Like the above poster, some of it does feel a little "parelli" (cultish, groupy) to me. But I think there are some good principles out there, like doing no harm to your horse, working at his/her pace.

  3. Hmm...I wonder if some of us are WAZ groupies?

    Maybe if that horse has had 3 broken legs he is doing the only dressage he can.

  4. But isn't that the same horse doing a levade at the bottom? Certainly a horse with three broken legs should be honored for being under saddle at all :-)

  5. I'm interested in what bit he has on that horse?

  6. The rider is quite famous in Europe, riding dressage the old-fashioned way, or "Academical". The movements are not identically executed as in modern dressage.
    When that is said, both versade, travers and renvers can be executed on three or four tracks. In dressage competitions a three track is described, but can be deviated with a hoof width.
    And in renvers, the haunches are to the wall.
    A discription of the movements can be found at:

  7. You can also find the movements in USEF rule book, chapter DR111,

  8. The classical dressage stems from the early history. It not based on a bunch of quacks or 'fanatics' who train along their own ideals.

    Modern dressage has been modified to fit in with the warmblood movements. Even the Olympic rules were changed to accommodate Hanoverians.

    Nuno Oliveira used ancient methods of horse training for dressage which are frowned upon by the 'modern' dressage community. There is nothing wrong with his training. The classical training was for 'war horses' and I notice no one today has a 'war horse' but a competitive dressage horse for the ring.

    It's very sad the classical method of training has carved a small niche for itself where it should be available for everyone.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.