The Spanish Riding School and Art in Equestrian Sport

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is on the “I simply have to go there one day” section of my travel wishlist. The main attraction for me is of course the rich history of horsemanship, despite the fact that the beautiful buildings with amazing features such as chandeliers in the riding arena, are just about enough to warrant a visit on their own.

Maestoso Basowizza & Oberbereiter Hausberger

Previously, I had read many interesting things about the Spanish Riding School, but I have just had a fantastic refresher course on the classical principles that are the heart and soul of their work. It has been a great opportunity to reflect on how much this faraway place has influenced my mental approach to riding and training. In one of those serendipitous moments that I love the internet for, this refresher course came in the form of a randomly stumbled upon youtube video, which you can see here, and part 2 here.

The truly heartening thing to see from this video on the Spanish Riding School is that good horse sense and horsemanship run through everything they do. Although the riders may dress in uniforms from a bygone era, it is difficult to spot anything about their practices that is so old fashioned that it should be left to the history books. Much has been made of the gap between classical dressage and competition dressage of today, but from this video I see much that can be learnt from the past and applied to the competition arena.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Zen of Horseriding by Ingrid Soren

The Zen of Horseriding by Ingrid Soren takes a look into the mental component of horseriding from a unique perspective. The result is a book with many interesting insights into sports psychology in equestrian sports, which is sure to be of interest if you’re a thinking rider, riding coach, nervous rider or someone who likes stories of personal journeys with horses.

“How you approach the horse is a reflection of how you approach the world.”

The Zen of Horseriding follows the author as she embarks on two simultaneous journeys of discovery – one into the world of horse riding, the other into the world of Zen Buddhism. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as although I know quite a bit about horse riding, my experiences with Buddhism are quite limited. Continue reading