Wynmalen – On Passage

“I do not expect everything at once; on the contrary: for the only type of horse fit for this movement will be a high-couraged horse of much blood, who must also be a brilliant natural mover. Such horses are ambitious and will, on being pressed from a school-walk into a trot, be only too keen to achieve the ‘elevation’ at once. But if we let them, we shall have great difficulty in subsequently maintaining suspension, cadence and regularity, and I do not therefore look for elevation in the beginning; on the contrary, I prevent it! “

“And when the horse can do this low passage with perfect regularity, with real cadence, and with the period of suspension well marked, I shall then have no difficulty whatever in finishing off the brilliance of his work by now adding elevation.”

Taken from “Equitation” by Henry Wynmalen. Published by R. MacLehose & Co, University Press, Glasgow. 1966

Henry Wynmalen’s books have a world of practical advice in them, so much love and respect for the horse that they should never be out of print or out of fashion. I discovered his work  “Horse Breeding and Stud Management” first. I really liked his attitude to horses So I went looking for his other books.

Wynmalen’s ‘Equitation” is a wonderful work on general riding, on training the horse from backing to be a good riding horse. He also wrote “Dressage – A Study of the Finer Points of Riding” and this must be one of the finest books on the subject ever written. 

One of the things I love about Wynmalen’s writing is that he offers insights designed to build a sound relationship with the horse throughout training; to create a horse that is mentally balanced and physically healthy. This was a man who bred generations of very fine Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, trained them to the highest levels, hunted his dressage horses, including the breeding stallions, and ensured they led balanced contented lives. The first sentence of his introduction to “Equitation” says it all.

“In writing this book love of the horse and of horsemanship have been my only motives”


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