The teaching of equitation
Classical equestrian teachings are timeless.
Procedures of instruction
A teacher of equitation must know a great deal about equitation even if he is only teaching the basic principles of elementary equitation. Besides being knowledgeable, he must have sound judgement and determination. Above all, he must have an instinctive feeling for the equestrian art. He must know and have an understanding of basic principles which are the foundations of the teacher’s equestrian art, and which he has acquired by experience and justified by logic. The totality of these principles, when joined togheter, can become doctrine. He must establish definite methods by which he can regulate the use of these principles in a systematic manner. But the means used to apply these principles ought not to be invariably fixed.
The principles used by the teacher must be concise and based on carefully thought out and mature reflexion.
They should be in accord with a practical intelligence and sound judgement. He must point out the goals to his pupil with clarity and never follow two goals simultaneously.
Anyway the teacher must read and study equestrian manuals. The instructor must be guided by sound judgement so that he is able to choose the correct precepts for a particular pupil. First of all, it’s important for the teacher to take into consideration the nature, characteristics and conformation of the individual horse. The character of the rider must be also taken into account. Every rider must be also be advised about conformations, that is, the distribution of weight which is indispensable to the regularity of the horse’s gaits.
The teacher must be familiar with the language of vocabulary used in equitation. The teacher must be sober when talking, that is, he must possess a sobriety of words. Great Masters know a great deal but say little. Equestrian art lies primarly in practice, less in theory. The teacher can achieve this brevity only with the help of mature reflections, which takes time, and to which one must add perseverance and practical intelligence.
It’s there, that is, in perseverance and practical intelligence, and not in speculation, that the teacher find his inspiration. From this source alone he can develop principles which are truly useful in the use of the horse and give them permanence and total devotion.
(By general Alexis L’Hotte)