Classical Dressage - Truth - Myths - Delusions

This article is somewhat longer, because it includes stories about my experiences in, and with, this madness called today the "classical dressage"

Revealing the "secrets" so more idiots can do this at home, so more horses get abused and tortured till finally someone says "ENOUGH" to "dressage" and trick training of horses. They are not dogs!
It is one thing when done in the circus, and another at home by totally clueless people or by the same in competition.

Click image to enlarge!
"Classical mad house" in relevance to our time, hence the "classical dressage" is not only obsolete style of riding, but mainly totally useless.
The motto for the Timex watch could be applied to a well trained military horse:
"Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

    The so-called classical dressage in the baroque era, as well as the western European military training of horses, was among other things about adjusting the horse to pain.       The more pain the horse could tolerate the more reliable in the battle it became, as well as easier to control via the amplified aids, like curb bit and spurs. This is where the dressage discipline inherited the use of amplified aids, like spurs and curbs in the higher levels.
  Needless to say that this type of training of horses is of no use since we no longer use horses in battles. For this reason the modern dressage today is totally messed up, not only in the execution, but mainly in the justification of such, in these times, useless training of horses.

    It would be best if I start first with clarifying the word classical, because this alone will be helpful in identifying the various misconceptions and misinformation, as well as the delusions of the contemporary participants.

   Furthermore I would like to remind the reader that it is important to remember that the term dressage was used exclusively when referring to the advance riding and training of horses, as opposed the today's concept held by many, especially the amateurs and greenhorns, who believe that dressage is just plain riding/schooling of a horse in a riding ring that is marked by letters.
   And so for this reason the word school, or schooling an unbalanced horse, is no longer used. And so it is no surprised that in these days it attracts people that believe that they are so-called "riding dressage" without even knowing or learning first the basics of riding. They go as far as saying that dressage is for everyone, totally misusing the term and misleading themselves and others, which simply resulted in the corruption, or better said destruction, of dressage as it once used to be.

   The word classical or classic refers to, among other things:
   1. Of or relating to the most highly developed stage of an earlier civilization and its culture.
   2. Of recognized authority or excellence.

   Also the word class should be brought to attention since it is much relevant to the horseman's lingo and will help you understand how these terms like classical and class were added to the horseman's language and what they actually represent.

   The word class among other things refers to:
   1. Elegance in dress or behavior
   2. A league ranked by quality


   The term classical dressage used today is referring to something else than in the early part of the 20th century, when dressage was part of the military training of horses. The term classical at that time was more or less referring to the 2nd definition "Of recognized authority or excellence." The recognized authority on excellence in the treatment, riding or training of horses rested on the latest and the most modern military horsemen's concepts of riding and training of horses, and the civilians sort of played with it, and used it as sport in much lower version (class). Of course that "modern" military style dressage no longer exists since there is no practical use for it.   

Click to enlarge!

    What do you see in this picture? A guy on a horse, no reins, only spurs pressed against the horse's belly. Been there done it, except we did not use the poles (pillars) since they were not available, so instead we used two men on each side holding the horse by a halter (via lead rope), which sort of complicated the situation, while the rider (bereiter), like my self was also using the reins, besides the spurs, when on top, and the fourth guy, the trainer, was using the whip on the ground. I was only 17 then.
    The common fault in dressage, especially in the higher levels, is that horses tend to pull into the bit with the incompetent rider, which are just about all of them. Notice that when the horse is cross-tied to the poles, it not only lifts its head up and sets its hind end under, but also deters the animal from future leaning into the bit and going out of balance on the forehand.
   All this is fairly simple, providing one is aware of what is going on with the horse when training it. In short: The man behind the horse whips the hind legs of the horse, and since the horse is aware that it cannot go forward, it simply lifts its legs to avoid the whip whenever it expects the pain of the whip. The guy on top applies the spur on the same side before the whip hits the same side hind leg (in the picture the right side of the horse). Whenever the top guys applies the spur the whip follows, until sufficient response of the horse is achieved, and the horse responds only to the spurs.
   Once the horse accepts both aids, and responds to them accordingly, the rider than rides the horse, but carrying the whip, just in case he has to "remind" the horse if and when he does not get a proper responses of the horse to the spurs. It could not get any more primitive than that, or could it?
   The guy on the top is training the horse to associate the spurs with the required movement. In short, the horse instinctively exchanges the pain of the whip for the lesser pain of the spurs and does the piaffe (horse's legs, like fingers in us, are more sensitive than the body). The horse also associates the spur with more collection, obviously, while at the same time coming to terms with (accepting) the use of spurs. This is called "riding on a schooled horse" when finished, and has nothing to do with "riding the horse". One does not need to be a decent rider to present this, once the training is finished, as the horse is programmed similarly as the liberty horses in the circus are.
    In short most horses can do this with nincompoops once the nincompoop knows the so-called cues. Training this required a mediocre expertise, but most people and riders (99% these days) are well below even the mediocre level.
   To understand this method in the training of piaffe (as well as passage), all you need to imagine the frequent western movies scene, when the guy with the gun is shooting under the feet of the victim saying: "Dance"!

Now you may understand the idiocy of people calling the dressage dance, or even more absurd, a ballet.

Above, the finished product, but not quite, as the rider still carries the whip. Unlike the horse below, this horse is in a fair riding balance due to the training off the poles. The horse below presents literally the parody of the above (as all in the so-called competitive dressage do), and even worse than most circus performers. In addition to this, only the dressage people today can manage to get the horse hurt during this process, which requires greater level of stupidity and ignorance, hence the top riders in dressage today can be qualified as the worst. Any kid riding ponies is better than them; hence one should be more concern with not getting worse than with getting better in this world of idiots.

Today the dressage riders are clueless nincompoops trying to replicate what they think they see or understand, while they see nothing and understand even less, not only about dressage, but mainly about what it means to actually ride a horse. The head is down, the horse off balance on the forehand, and obviously pulling as hell, hence the need by the women to lean back, lest she pulls her self off the horse over its head. This could not get more grotesque if one would try, hence a comedian, like Charlie Chaplin riding a horse.

We can see what the misunderstandings of the bible has done to people, but we cannot see what the misunderstandings of the books on riding did to horses, because horses do not speak, they only silently adjust to any fool and environment they have to live with or in.



    The term classical dressage today is referring more or less to the first definition of the word as in " Of or relating to the most highly developed stage of an earlier civilization and its culture." In this case, since we are referring to some earlier civilization, we could truly and simply replace the word "classical" in this case with the word "obsolete" or archaic.
    And so, the true term for today's so-called "classical dressage" is "obsolete dressage", or as the phrase goes, "So easy even the cave man could do it", when viewed from the horseman's perspective. During this article I will clarify just how easy it is, because I have not only seen it, but done it, ridden and trained it, while working for one of the best at that time in the circus.
    Yes folks, the today's "classical dressage" is nothing more but a circus presentation for the public and has nothing to do what so ever with what the horsemen called classical dressage, or better said "riding with class" (class as in "a league ranked by quality"), which is totally different concept than riding for show, because the former is all about the well being of the animal in order to improve and prolong its service (logical and reasonable obviously), as opposed to the latter that is all about entertaining the public (obvious vanity), one self or someone else.

    In addition to that it hardly even resembles the so-called "old-masters" way of training and riding", but one has to have somewhat trained eye to see the difference.
    One of the typical things that you can see and notice in either of the two types of dressage, the modern military or the obsolete Spanish style, that there are no horses behind the vertical/behind the bit in the paintings (from the old) or photographs (from the modern) alike, as opposed to today's dressage performance where most horses (sometimes even in the "riding schools" like Vienna and others) at one time or another go behind the so-called vertical, which in reality means on the forehand and out of balance, but nobody cares, since the public has no clue, while the curved and cramped up necks of these poor horses are more familiar to them from their childhood days of cartoons, or reminds them of the Barbie horse, hence girls and women like and adore it so much.      

     I am not referring to today's dressage riders as comedians to insult them, but rather referring to them as such according to their own statements, as in the "classical dressage" that they are trying to perform and are referring to, sometimes going as far as calling it a ballet, imagine that. Of course who could possibly come up with this delusional comparison but some silly girl-woman that never grew out of her animal cartoon frame of mind or some childhood dreams, or some men that aimed to exploit these weak female minds?

   The so-called baroque style dressage, which they refer to as the "classical dressage", was formally called the "Royal Court Riding School". It was, among other things (like warfare) about entertaining the king or the aristocrats, as well as to provide the king or the aristocrats with animals that would move in a sort of "Royal" fashion to present (parade) the king on some fancy going horse ("fancy" enough so the public would notice).
   In short, it was very much about the show or presentation, or a parade if you will, and so no wonder that today it is also all about the show, and of course "the show must go on" as the infamous comedian quote states. Needless to say however that horses trained for the king and the elite had to be 100% reliable, weather on the battle field or in the parade when riding horses through the crowd, which justifies the use of the amplified aids, like spurs and curb bits.

    However, in our modern days it is only all about entertaining the public that for most part have no clue what a horse is, let alone how it should move. One could actually go as far as calling the classical dressage the training of horses for political purposes, because that is what it was, as it was all about presenting the king or aristocrat on some "royally trained" horse, noticeably different, even to the public, than the going of some pheasant's horse. And so it is no surprise that there is so much politics in that style of riding, as well as divisions between the so-called elite class of the wealthy and the lower commoner's class, hence the lower and higher levels, which are not only about the performance of the horse, just in case you have not noticed.

   Unfortunately in this day and age of democracy people end up with nothing but chaos and confusions due to their endless varieties of ideas, judgments, opinions and such and so forth. In contrast with the royal days the king either liked it or not, and everything the king approved of was good, and everything that he disapproved of was bad. A very simple way producing same or similar results but without the arguments and chaos.

    The concept of classical dressage, or riding with class, was completely something else in my younger days or before, and it was held primarily by the military. These two factions of dressage, if you will, were foes and hated each other as I have witnessed, but not in the open, as hardly anyone would write about it, since it was fairly irrelevant to the public, because it would need the understanding and expertise of a genuine rider-horseman to be understood, and so there are hardly any records left, at least I am not aware of any, except what I've seen, lived and witnessed.

     It would be also fair to add that no self-respected horsemen of the military would partake in any competition against the civilians (The Olympic Games and such and so forth) as it would be obviously very degrading, but one has to understand the military to understand that.
    However, some of the officers that were not horsemen did, but that mostly for economical reasons, as they became aware that their time in the military was coming to the end. These men then entered the civilians life, competing shamelessly against the civilians, writing books on riding, giving lessons, clinics and such, in short not counted among horsemen for obvious reasons.
    Furthermore, as mentioned before, no self-respected horseman would ever write a book on riding, because he was well aware of the damages that it would cause, but the self-centered egoistic goofs of the equine world of all ages simply crossed that line of horsemen's ethics. Now we can witness the chaos and confusion they left behind as a result of fools reading their books.

     Before I will go further in describing my experiences, I would like to briefly point out the core difference between the circus dressage (or as they call it today the "classical dressage) and the military form, also called then the sport dressage, which is no longer in existence, as you will clearly see.
   The major difference between them two is, that the military dressage was taught, trained and executed solely from the top of the horse, and so it was only through riding that the horse reached the higher levels of a genuine collection (excluding the work in the air that was never taught as it was deemed useless), and in no way anything was taught from the ground. The minute one would even attempt to help himself from the ground, or get help from another person from the ground, with or without a whip, he would be instantly disrespected and seen as a comedian, and mostly as an incompetent rider.

   One really needs to understand what it means to train a riding horse off the ground, and so I will simplify this by presenting a simple example from my life experience. If you have noticed in some places the riding instructors carry a bull whip or a longe whip when giving riding lessons, especially in jumping horses. This so they can assist the incompetent rider to get over the jump if the horse is refusing, lest the horse learns bad habits, obviously. Or, as I have witnessed in Germany on the track, when the trainer sometimes carried a bullwhip, to assist some incompetent riders to get the horse to the track when the animal refused.
   On one occasion, when a horse refused, the trainer came from behind and whipped the horse's hind end to urge the animal forward as it was refusing to go to the track. The trainer was also cursing the jokey calling him all sorts of names, to which the fairly experienced and successful jockey replied, also screaming back at the trainer, "I am no rider! I am a jockey!". At least this jockey not only knew who and what he was, but also knew what the word rider referred to, something that most people around horses today do not understand. And so, any assistance or training off the ground is preformed solely by or for the incompetent riders, who often need such assistance for obvious reasons.

     The Vienna Riding School also trains much of the ground "tricks" (not genuine gaits), like passage or piaffe, off the ground, which basically points out that these people can't ride a horse. There was a time in the Vienna Riding school where the true military type dressage was starting to seep in, but it was short lived, as much as the more advanced and more modern military style dressage was also short lived, as there was no longer any practical use for it, since the horses were replaced by technology and became obsolete. And so this dressage simply died out, because it proved itself totally useless and impractical, especially for the comedian (show) riders, as well as the public for which they preformed.

   First of all the Vienna School had no use for it, because the public simply could not appreciate the modern and improved way of riding horses, because there was nothing extraordinary about it, as to the public it looked like some horse just going around in the ring doing nothing but what any other horse does. In short, no one would come in and look at it, let alone pay for it.
   And so the need for all this exaggerated movement (the fools see it as some dancing) of horses was obvious in order for Vienna to survive.
   One of the greatest contributors of preserving the Vienna Riding School was Alois Podhajsky, who pretty much transformed the school into a circus show, and by publishing often a downright bullshit in his writings gained many admirers among the fools, greenhorns and wannabes, as well as the unsuspecting public interest (what the public does not know is what makes it the public), which is another story for another day.

   In short, Podhajsky in the true light was a promoter of the circus show practiced in Vienna. If he would not have transformed it into some circus-horse-freak show there would no longer be any Vienna Riding School, and the same goes for all the similar riding schools of today, in France or anywhere else. For this reason you will also find more and more female participants, because by nature women just love to shine in the spot lights, and what better place than a show or podium.

    To describe my experiences with the circus training of "dressage", the Vienna style, I would like to start by saying that "where you are I was, where I am you will more likely never enter".

     After I graduated the school for professional riders and breeders of horses in June 1963 (see my bio) I went to work on the farm that paid for my education, where I had a contract with, and where they bred and raised, besides other horses, the steeplechase horses, not all thoroughbreds but also some high-blooded warm-bloods as well (Mocna, multiple winner of the Grand Steeplechase in Pardubice). I was young, not yet 17, and I got myself into some trouble with a local farmer, the details not relevant at this point.
   In any case I got fired, or better said demoted to work on the chicken farm that was a subdivision of the same agricultural complex as the horse farm was. You can imagine my horror from being a horseman to becoming a chicken farmer. And so I went and "cried and complained" to whom else but my mother, who knew many people in the city of Prague, and found me a job in the "winter station" for the state circuses. Everything was owned by the state, obviously, since it was around the end of 1963 in the former socialist Czechoslovakia.

   I had no clue what I was getting into, all she said that she has found me a job outside the city, so I could live at home (hopefully staying out of trouble), working for the best "dresseur" of horses in the country. (The word dresseur basically referred to any animal trainer in the circus only, being it a trainer of camels, elephants, zebras, horses and such, and never anywhere else. The word dresseur is not the same as tamer (tamer = dompteur, e.g. le dompteur de lions), also commonly used internationally in the circus lingos, which was primarily referring to the trainers of wild cats and other predatory critters).
   I do not want to go to more details, lest I lose the point I am making. Skipping many of the other events, I recall one scenario so vividly that I can still feel now what I felt then. Please, it is very important that you keep in mind that I've already had almost three years experience in working (working not playing, when on the job it was 8 to 10 hours per days, 7 days per week) with horses at that time, and so I did not see them as the public does, or most amateurs do, that for most part think of a horse as a large dog or even worse, a pet.

The "Liberty Horses".

How do we train liberty horses?
So easy even the cave man could do it,
when taken from the horseman's perspective. In principles it is very similar to what many of you, when taking riding lesson in riding arenas, more likely experienced. When the instructor gives a command the old lessons horse responds to the command, and the foolish greenhorn beginner often thinks that the horse started to gallop and such and so forth, because he requested it, totally unaware that the horse responded to the words of the instructor which the animal previously associated with the particular gait, motion or place.
The training of the "liberty horses" is done the same way (been there, done it). Horses are first taught as individuals, than in pair, then in fours, then in eight and so forth and such. The rider rides the horse and the trainer requests certain "trick" (movement into place, change gait and such) and first the rider guides the horse accordingly. Since this routine is practice day by day to the letter exactly the same way (timing/place over and over), the horse in time starts to respond to the trainer in the middle. The trainer in the middle uses the whip (actually two whips, a touché whip and a long longe whip) to speed up and guide the movement of the horse, but also always moves in certain way and position in relevance to the requested trick. In time the horses start to respond only to the trainer's movement in the arena (no need for voice commands by a fair dresseur), then the rider goes off, and we have finished product. One needs a fairly decent rider who is at least aware of what is going on, in order to help the animal to eventually disassociate itself from the rider, hence the rider needs to have some training attributes as well. Today the presentations of the liberty horses are actually fairly poor when compared to what I was accustomed to when taking part in this circus crap. (At one time a woman, a ballerina on a horse, became disabled from further performance, but they had to give her job as per contract. They gave her a vacated position in the "Freiheitsdressur", and I actually had to teach her how to crack and use the long whip, that is how little she knew. One can learn to perform this in only couple of weeks. I am not talking about training it.)
Next time you see some silly woman riding a horse in some performance without the bit or any equipment, you are looking at a horse that has been trained in similar way and could be doing the same thing with a sack of potatoes. Now the dressage riders are for most part riding horses like this, hence it can be presented by a completely incompetent rider, since the horse can do the same things without the riders on the top. Next time you see a horse "dancing", please become aware of your stupidity by imagining the above described western movie scene. Horses do not dance; they have no comprehension of music! Only the stupid and ignorant "suckers born every minute" think they do.

The "Freiheitsdressur", just in case you still don't get the word "dressur", German for dressage, which obviously has nothing to do with the equestrian dressage, but today it does.

"I better pic my leg up, lest I get smacked"
"Look mommy, the horse is dancing".

"What else do I have to do to get some food?"
"Look mommy the horse is bowing".

Ignorance is bliss.

    In any case, as I have entered I've asked for that particular trainer ("dresseur") my mothers sent me to, and I was told that he was working with his horses in the " manège " (term for the round ring or stage if you will, where animals, not horses only, train or perform in circus or show). I've asked if I could go in, and they led me there and sat me there where the observers would sit, and so I saw this performance all by myself, and without any show off or any sound like music and such. All was quiet and very ordinary, and I could see everything clearly, though I was simply mesmerized in awe of what I saw. Immediately I got afraid, as it came to me that I know nothing of this and that I will surely be no asset to the trainer or be found incompetent to do my job. To tell you the truth I was so scared that I almost left without talking to him after he was finished, but he caught me on the way out (Talking about destiny, right?) as he was desperately looking for a rider that could help.

   What did I see? I saw 8 stallions (not all Lipizzaners) 6 years and older, 4 black and 4 white, enter the manège by themselves, with no one around. They all started to fight as stallions would do, screaming, rearing, striking at one another and kicking. This lasted less than half a minute, but it felt longer, as I had no clue what was happening, obviously, sitting there alone and totally clueless as I never saw anything like that. Then the curtain at the back entrance opened, the guy walks in cracks a long whip and they all lined up like ducklings according to their numbers, and since I had no clue what I was looking at I could not understand that.

   This trainer truly had the best "freiheit" (a German word for "freedom" or "liberty", a circus term for free horses show in the circus, or as in English also called the "liberty horses".) in the world, and he was also respected at that time in most of the Europe among the circus horse "dresseurs" (like to call themselves artists), which is what actually helped me to get a job in the future working for Circus Krone in then West Germany. (The Krone job lasted only few days as I could not stand it anymore, but I got out of communist and by Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. And so, my escape was the main purpose for me to acquire that job and once when out I would not go near any comedians ever again, as I could not hold these "horse-people" more in contempt if I would try).

   In any case, I kept watching the whole show of 8 loose ("free") stallions performing all sorts of movements and maneuvers, doing pirouettes, going in pairs, in four and finally all 8 across the whole manège, and then all rearing up at the same time, some individually performing some of the "high school" jumps like the courbette, levade, and more all sorts of tricks. However, nothing even remotely like you see today in the circus as today's circus dresseurs really suck, but one would have to see the better ones to become aware of that.
   These stallions were genuinely tight, next to each other when doing all these things, hardly any space between them, and lined up all the times as by some invisible string, better than if ridden. All this was done in such quiet and the man hardly said a word, it was all so silent and so mesmerizing, I simply could not comprehend how this can be done. Now remember, I've already had a professional experience and a legitimate education and I was mesmerized like this, imagine how the public must feel when they see any circus performance and yet they do not even see a half of what I was aware of at that time.

   I worked with that trainer for several months (Several times in different countries, like in the Royal Circus in Brussels, Belgium), training and riding new horses (replacements), taking care of horses and things etc. and then again sometimes latter for a few months. (In the winter there were five circuses stationed in that winter center, and so I worked also for other trainers, because I worked as the so-called "bereiter" (Pferde bereiter), roughly translated as a "working rider", as in not a performer or not a comedian, often doing most of the "dirty" and risky tasks like starting young horses.).
   The trainer often asked me to stay after work to help him, because no one would, and of course I was afraid to refuse for the fear of losing job, as my mother pointed out to me when finding this job, "this is your last chance, don't mess it up".

   And so I stayed often till late hours, because he had a lot of horses, and besides having the "freiheit" of the 8 stallions, he also had some what we called the "high-school" horses (or sometimes called dressage horses), the term "high-school" is referring to the work in the air, the jumps that is, and by the public here referred to as "the airs above the ground".
   We worked, me and him on these horses for hours a day and day out, as he was one of those perfectionists almost to the point of being fanatical, and if it was not perfect it was no good. He knew well that the public cannot see any of the flaws, let alone some imperfections, or see any difference between a poor performance and decent one, but he was guided by his conscience and more likely a lot of pride as well.
   He was then about 70 years old, born around 1890, smoking more than two packs a day, while drinking gallons of coffee. I do not recall seeing him without a cigarette and coffee in his hand, except when training he got rid of the coffee. (Trainers that smoke often tend to be better trainers on account of this acquired taste, because they like to take smoke breaks and so they equally give frequent breaks to horses when training these, often very strenuous, figures, that the clueless public calls "airs above the ground" These are figures not airs! Women do airs, not horses! If the word "airs" relates to the word air, why would we add the "above the ground", unless there is such thing as flying in the air on the ground, is there?)

   One day, after he felt happy with the work, not always that way, he said to me, "Come with me I'll show you something you will see no place else (right he was, I've never saw it again), and definitely not in Vienna". (Please keep in mind that then less than fifty years before it was one country Austria-Hungary e.g. Prague and Vienna same country. He was many times in Vienna, knew many people there including Podhajsky, and had no respect for most of them what so ever, which is kind of ironic because he himself was a circus performer-trainer as all are and most were at that time in Vienna.)
   To tell you the truth I did not have much understanding of what I was doing, nor did I have much interest in this circus crap. Once when I saw how everything was done and trained, and then doing it myself, I simply lost all the respect for it, and saw all this training as nothing more but a bagful of cheep tricks, especially when it came to the "freiheit" and not excluding the high-school.
   Once when the insides (the hidden back door) of the training were exposed I sort of felt like some fool that was mesmerized or intrigued by some "magic" trick, like a card trick and such, and then shown how it is done. Then of course, the next time you see that trick, well, you feel nothing except being amused by the baffled face of the one that has no clue what he is looking at, while being glad that you are not that fool anymore.

   And so, when the trainer said he will show me something I will never see again, I did not care much, but I went not to offend him. He told me to stay out of the arena, and so I stood back by the entrance curtain. He lined up the horse, set him into levade (off the ground of course) and had the horse execute a genuine and absolutely perfect capriole (one has to actually know what it is and what is supposed to look like), while I was about not more than 12 feet behind the horse.
   Well, you have to live this to imagine how it felt, not to mention the speed of it. He smiled under his nose, as the dirt hit may face, and I stood more to the side, while he pointed out: "See, my horse does it off the levade and not like in Vienna, they run into it". He explained all the details, referred to the common faults done in Vienna, while showing me the capriole and other jumps.

   In any case to make this story shorter, as much as I was mesmerized at the beginning by all of the performances, by the end of my employment I simply had no respect for any of, since everything was so fairly easy for any half-ass horseman as myself, hence "so easy even the cave man could do it." (Though it required a lot of time in respect to the conditioning of the horses, and of course one has to be at least a half-ass horseman.) How could I possibly respect these people? Especially fifty years later, supposedly in more advanced stage of human development or evolution, or should I rather say corruption? Well, judge and see for yourself.

    Ironically I have also worked with a trainer, rider and horseman, not using the word "dresseur", for obvious and above given reasons, that was formerly employed and worked at the presidential stable, then working for the president Masaryk (see pictures below). Needless to say that this former employment of this horsemen was to his detriment as he had to endure all sorts of political repercussions after the communists took over in 1948, only to find a job at the circus merely working for other "dresseurs", which needless to say must have felt extremely humiliating, and so no wonder he was an alcoholic, since all that he has learned in his life was completely useless at that time and place, to him or to anyone else. (Most of the genuine horsemen-riders at that time were older and alcoholics as they outlived their use, obviously).
    You must realize that at that time the communists perceived the riding of horses as the entertainment of the "bourgeoisie" or the noble elites.

     In any case, I have received much of insight into the dressage world and the horse world of the past, not to mention that I held this man in high esteem when watching him riding and training horses. It was nothing like the other guy, all done from top of the horse strictly by riding the animal, that is if he had the chance and was allowed to. He was one of the broken men, who was so rich with knowledge and experience that was completely useless to him or to anyone else at that time.
    I have spent a lot of time with him working, often traveling the country as he was taking me to many places, showing other riders, their deficiencies, and mainly pointing out what it meant to ride with class (not really using that word, but the meaning was clear) as opposed to being a brute, crude and rude to horses as most people are today, mostly through ignorance.

    Even though he was not my boss, in many ways he was one of my mentors, should I use such word, and people working there could not understand why this man was treating me as he would be my boss, often yelling at me or reprimanding me for whatever I was doing wrong with horses.
   After about two years I held the position of the "futermeister" and was actually his boss, and yet nothing has changed between me and him, as to the amazements of others I still got yelled at or reprimanded by him (It was at those days that I have finally started to associate the word "stupid" with my name").
   The coworkers simply could not understand what was going on (they were no horsemen), and yet to me and him it was very clear, he was an older horseman and I was young one, and so he treated me accordingly and I have accepted all appropriately. There is always a mutual respect for one another among the genuine horsemen, no matter what age or experience, race or nationality, and the young always submits to the older, as it is all about seniority and mutual respect, and most of all horsemen do not debate horses for obvious reasons.

   What has become also fairly apparent and clear that the military man had no respect what so ever for the famous "dresseur", as much as I did not, but only to an extent. In short, we saw that kind of training and riding that the dresseur did (that shit people call "classical"), or as it was presented in Vienna, as riding and training without class (crude). As matter of fact the word class was commonly used among horsemen describing someone else working or riding horses, often simply saying, "he has no class" (as in "he is crude"), and that is all one needed to know, as nothing further was said or presented about such person. In short no class also meant "not worthy to talk about" or "too crude to talk about".

President Masaryk
Needless to say we needed well trained horses for the royalty, statesmen, or the elite, for obvious reasons.

President Masaryk
Any mediocre rider can ride a well trained horse. It takes a very fine rider to get the horse trained to such level only through riding, and without the aid off the ground and the related whip. Before the WW II this military "elite"/"classical" dressage reached its peek, and since the war it was on the way down, till this day when it reached its lowest level of all time.

   Also people around thoroughbred racing often use the word class when talking about racehorses, and that is pretty much the same meaning as referring to a person around horses, because it is all about the same thing, the heart and as above defined "a league ranked by quality".
   And so, suffices to say the riding of horses today, or people all over the world that ride horses, simply lack class, in short there is no class to be found in the horse world today, but some remnants of it can be found only here and there in the thoroughbred racing. That is why I went there to work when coming to USA, because there is hardly any need for showing off something, nor do people breed horses according to fashions or their opinions, but mostly according to performance. Of course the latter corrupted thanks to the technology and the advanced veterinary science, that more or less fucked up the horse world, as people can make up for their incompetence with drugs.

    I will have a follow-up article on "women and horses", which will help more in understanding why we do what we do with horses in this day and age, and mainly why we have the need to justify it. The decadence of our society can be clearly seen in the way we use and train horses, where the words "modern" and "advanced", or the words "more humane treatment" merely refers to "lowering the standards of human behavior" (lowering the class), often by finding new words for old things, or new definitions for old words, as well as by changing the meanings of words, and then finding the way to justify our failures and incompetence. The so-called modern or progressive women lead the way in this madness, and stupid men follow, in justifying or excusing, and sometimes even rewarding the failures, lest someone's feelings get hurt. God help us all!

   And so you have it, clear as day, the classical dressage of today is nothing but an obsolete and fairly brutal way of training and presenting of horses with the sole purpose to entertain the public, and the genuine dressage with class (decent treatment of the animals) exists no more, and you will never see it again. It died because no horseman with even a little class would ever participate with, or compete against, comedians, as it would be highly disgraceful for obvious reasons, not to mention crude.

   Any person that feels the need to go to horse show or to show the horse, has either some major psychological problems or just wants to get some money out of the sucker that was born every minute. And so what we have, in the horse world today, are fools and people exploiting these fools, and where is the class in that? In short, if you spend money on horse shows (dressage etc.) you are a fool, if you make money on the fools, well, you are nothing more but a comedian, and where is class in that, let alone decency?
   What man of intelligence ever takes an actor or a comedian seriously, were they not the very same people called by the kings "the fools"? And so, if you use the word royal in the classical dressage, well it just makes you into a royal fool, but since we have no kings to entrain but only the public you end up making yourself into a public fool, or in more simpler language, making an ass out of yourself for money, fame or what not, and the bigger asses even end up paying for it.
   One has to wonder what is worse, selling one's body as the whores do, or selling one's dignity and decency as the dressage people do, or as most people around horses do these days. I like the whores much better, at least they are honest, and most of all know what they are doing, as opposed to the clueless dressage people, horse lovers or animal lovers in general.


Better horses + better riders = no spurs, no curbs even on the battle field. Why can't' the dressage riders do this in only silly riding rings? Because they genuinely suck as riders, obviously. If and when you don't get it after reading this article you must be surely mentally challenged, so stay away from horses just for their sake if for nothing else, please!

The smaller and lighter, more agile and responsive horses were not only better balanced for riding purposes but also more suitable for the modern warfare in its days, and so they are also more suitable for dressage and other sport disciplines. Needless to say they require better riders than the type of heavy, dull, overgrown and clumsy warmbloods used in dressage and other sport disciplines today. The breeders simply adjust their breeding to the demand, simple economics.

      In contrast with the western European military training of horses, the eastern cavalries had hardly any use for spurs or curbs, as their training adjusted to the type of lighter and faster, and also more responsive breeds of horses. Most of the latter eastern military horses have much of the English thoroughbred blood, hence not only fast, but also very responsive to the rider. And of course one had to be much better rider, as well as trainer, to use these horses on the battle field or to train them for it.
    Unlike the western warmbloods, especially of these days, that are much less responsive to the rider, hence more dull, thus accepting all the crude riding that these "dressage" riders of today present. In the first half of the 20th century most horses used for dressage had a lot of the thoroughbred blood, which was inherited from the latter central European military breeding of horses, since they had to keep up with the eastern enemy speed.
    Needless to say that those days the riders were much better than today, for obvious reasons. Today's riders in dressage, and other disciplines simply could not use and ride the English Thoroughbreds or the warmbloods high in the thoroughbred blood, because such horses would not tolerate such abuse, and most would simply unload such rider. And so the need for the duller and the less responsive warmbloods of the agricultural type, that in previous times were strictly bred for the use in agriculture. Since these horses are not suitable for riding, especially not in some dressage ring, many get hurt just from being unsuitable, and the incompetence of the riders only finishes the job.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick" is the way of the deceiver or a politician seeking power and dominance, hence the way of a weak man. "Speak loudly and true, stand firm and carry no stick", is the way of a strong man, and as it stands, "a blow from a whip raises a welt, but blow from the tongue smashes bones".



Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek