#wednesdaywisdom from Erik Herbermann

Our riding will more consistently embody beauty and joy when we are motivated by respect and love for the horse. This outlook, above all, helps us to overcome the inevitable difficulties

Today’s quote comes from ‘Dressage Formula’ by Erik Herbermann. I chose this photo of Emile Faurie because he is a rider who embodies the spirit of the quotation – in his work there is beauty and joy because there is love and respect for the horse. As riders we all inevitably encounter difficulties in training but it is how we approach those challenges that comes to define us.

Photo Copyright – Dressage Perspectives.


#Wednesdaywisdom from Charles de Kunffy

Charles de Kunffy is a rider, coach and author who has inspired me a great deal over the years. Back in 2016 I was at a training seminar that he gave and I found it utterly fascinating. So much so that I took down pages and pages of notes! He is truly one of the greatest horsemen of our time and his love of horses shone through in every last detail of his work.

I discovered that he has shared a number of interviews on YouTube. There is a lot of valuable information in them for all riders. It made me reflect that there is no real link between the quality of content and the number of people who connect with it online. Unless you go looking, as I did, or unless the marketing is right then it will sit there undiscovered except by a fortunate few.  Although Dressage Perspectives is not a YouTube content creator (yet) it has a presence there in order to curate interesting and valuable content from other people.

Here is a link to one of the Dressage Perspectives playlists, which features some of the interviews which Charles de Kunffy shared. I really hope that you enjoy the wisdom and dry humour of this wonderful man as much as I do!



Brigadier General Kurt Albrecht – On Collection.

“The degree of collection is not determined, as many believe, by the degree of ‘bridling’, but by the degree of flexion of the hind joints. The resilience of these joints has to be developed by training.”

“A lengthy Period of gymnastic training is always needed before the more difficult movements can be executed correctly. How lengthy must depend partly on the physical and mental aptitudes of the horse and partly on the the extent of the rider’s knowledge and skill. Aptitudes are so variable that the length of the period of gymnastic preparation in each case cannot be defined, but the rider must understand the nature of the difficulties that make rapid progress difficult. The hasty rider will always be made to regret his impatience.”

Brigadier General Kurt Albrecht was Director of the Spanish Riding School 1974 – 1985. He was in charge of Judges Affairs for the Austrian Equestrian Federation from 1973 – 1987 and it is from his work entitled “A Dressage Judge’s Handbook” that the quotation above is taken.

This book is a great favourite of mine, as is “Principles of Dressage” by the same author. It is not only a useful book for aspiring judges but for all riders who decide to take part in dressage competitions.

Albrecht, K. “A Dressage Judges Handbook”. Translated by Nicole Bartle. J A Allen & Co, London 1988

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”


Xenophon – On Shying

“Consequently, when your horse shies at an object and is unwilling to go up to it, he should be shown that there is nothing fearful in it, least of all to a courageous horse like him; but if this should fail, touch the object yourself that seems so dreadful to him, and lead him up to it with gentleness. Compulsion and blows only inspire the more fear; for when horses are at all hurt at such a time, they think that what they shied at is the cause of the hurt.”

From “The Art of Horsemanship” by Xenophon. Translated by Morris H Morgan and published by Dover (2006).

Xenophon was a cavalryman, a mercenary general who fought for Cyrus of Persia. He was also a pupil of Socrates and I rate his ‘Apology’ a better, more trustworthy, account of Socrates’ trial than the one Plato wrote. I have a high regard for Xenophon. It is an instinctive reaction to reading some of the writing he left behind. He seems balanced, honourable and decent. I love the way he talks about horses. “On Horsemanship” is a very good read and I would highly recommend it.