Lessons in Lightness: The Art of Educating the Horse

Overview

Drawing on the theories of the old masters of dressage, Lessons in Lightness: The Art of Educating the Horse shows how both horse and rider can greatly benefit from traditional dressage techniques and exercises. Written by a veteran horse trainer with more than thirty years of experience, this is the only book that takes the core elements of classical dressage and applies them as the basis for good general horsemanship today. With this step-by-step program, both horse and rider learn from each other. The rider is...
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Overview

Drawing on the theories of the old masters of dressage, Lessons in Lightness: The Art of Educating the Horse shows how both horse and rider can greatly benefit from traditional dressage techniques and exercises. Written by a veteran horse trainer with more than thirty years of experience, this is the only book that takes the core elements of classical dressage and applies them as the basis for good general horsemanship today. With this step-by-step program, both horse and rider learn from each other. The rider is taught to focus on subtle nuances of communication, while the horse develops gymnastically so he can respond correctly to the aids. Once the horse masters the basic exercises, the rider not only has a very rideable horse, but also one that can perform and advance in almost any discipline for which it is suited-from dressage and show jumping to Western pleasure and performance riding. An exploration into the horse's physiological and psychological state is the basis for building that strong bond most riders yearn to achieve. Learning lightness opens the door to the art of riding.

About the Author:
Mark Russell trains horses and riders from his home base in Mosheim, Tennessee

About the Author:
Andrea W. Steele is a native of England and a lifelong equestrian

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is terrific. It is respectful of both horse and rider, written clearly and thoughtfully with an easy to use layout and beautiful illustrations that support Mr. Russell's ideas."-- Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar

"Follow this book and your horse will thank you for it."--Horse Connection

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599210711
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Edition description: First edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Veteran horse trainer Mark Russell studied twenty years ago with legendary dressage master Nuno Oliveira, an experience that revealed to him the concept of riding in lightness and forever changed his outlook on horsemanship. Today he trains horses and riders from his home base in Tennessee.

Andrea W. Steele is a native of England and a lifelong equestrian. She met Mark Russell in the early 1980s and has followed his vision for riding in lightness ever since. She lives on a small farm in Durham, Connecticut, with her husband and their horses and many other animals.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 3: Teaching Lightness
 
The principal reason for teaching the horse to be light to the aids is to create the healthy flow of energy through the horse's body. This is achieved through relaxation. In teaching relaxation to the horse, the trainer, in effect, offers the horse an understanding of how to let go and release tension. The horse's thought process is as important as the teacher's; in fact, the more the trainer recognizes the necessity for the horse to understand, the better a teacher she will become.
 
Relaxation of the horse facilitates flexion, which provides the foundation for building the strength needed to achieve an educated, or academic, balance. Every detail of this training program relates to this concept in some form. The exercises that follow progressively increase the horse's degree of relaxation, flexion, and strength. When the horse doesn't perform as expected, he either lacks the understanding or lacks the relaxation, the flexion, or the strength to be correct. This thought should be in the trainer/rider's mind during every schooling session.
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Table of Contents


Foreword   Bettina Drummond     vii
Preface     x
Acknowledgments     xiii
Understanding Lightness     1
Meet the Horses/How to Use This Book     9
Teaching Lightness     13
The Three Phases of Training     21
Working In Hand     27
The TMJ     30
Relaxing the Jaw     33
Lengthening Down     37
The Halt     40
Rein-Back     42
Shoulders-In     45
Counter-Shoulders-In     50
Half-Pass     54
Summary of Work In Hand     57
Longeing     61
Body Mechanics of Horse and Rider     71
Tack and Accessories     81
Phase I: Beginning the Circle     91
Phase II: Building a Working Frame     105
Phase II: Lateral Work Under Saddle     111
Shoulders-In     115
Counter-Shoulders-In     119
Half-Pass     122
Travers     126
Renvers     129
The Half-Halt     133
Rein-Back     139
Yielding the Chest     145
Developing the Canter     147
Cantering the Circle     149
Developing Collection     151
Transitions     155
Phase III: Counter-Canter     159
Phase III: Flying Changes     165
Afterword     171
Key Terms     173
Recommended Reading     175
About the Authors     177
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2004

    fantastic reading!

    This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to have a meaningful partnership with thier horse. I am fortunate enough to have him as my farrier and his way with horses is truely amazing. I have learned much from him personally as well as from reading his book. I cannot wait for him to write the next one!

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    Posted February 23, 2009

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