USDF Recommended Reading List Books Produced into Audio Books

May 30, 2014 - 11:09 AM

Audio Horse has produced three classical dressage oriented horse books to download or stream from the web. The collection of audio books includes the first documented book on horsemanship, Xenophon’s, The Art of Horsemanship. Two additional classics include School of Horsemanship by Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, who is credited with creating the shoulder-in, which he called the “alpha and omega of all exercises,” and Nuno Oliveira’s Reflections on Equestrian Art.

The books chosen to be produced into audio books were selected because they form the foundation of modern equitation and they also have a broad appeal to all levels of riders. School of Horsemanship by Gueriniere and the soon to be released audio book of Gustav  Steinbrecht’s The Gymnasium of the Horse are both on the United States Dressage Federation’s “recommended reading list” for the “L” Education Program for dressage judges, participants, and auditors.

The Art of Horsemanship by Xenophon is also on the United States Dressage Federation’s “other reading list” for the Instructor Certification Program.

Xenophon’s The Art of Horsemanship is the earliest known work on choosing, caring for, and riding horses. A student of Socrates, Xenophon was an accomplished cavalryman and one of the foremost scholars of his day. Though Xenophon wrote his treatise twenty-three centuries ago, it still provides the modern-day equestrian with much food for thought.

First published in 1733 as Ecole de Cavalerie by Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, the School of Horsemanship is most famous for its introduction of the shoulder-in. The theories in this book provide the basis for all modern equitation, and it is probably the most important work on the subject ever written.

The School of Horsemanship is divided into three parts, but this audio book only includes Part Two, which is the part about training and riding. Part One describes the physical parts of the horse, tack, and how to feed a horse and Part Three explains how to treat illnesses in the horse.

From the Forward of School of Horsemanship by Paul Belasik: “Alois Podhajsky, the late Director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, said about the writings of Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere in his own classical book, The Complete Training of Horse and Rider: ‘there is no need to discuss Gueriniere’s teachings in detail in this work, not because they are not sufficiently interesting, but because they are applied unaltered at the Spanish Riding School and may be seen there in daily use.

Nuno Oliveira’s Reflections on Equestrian Art emphasizes lightness and harmony, reflecting a deep love and respect for the horse. Oliveira began his riding career with maestro Jonquin Gonzales de Miranda, Master of the Horse to the King of Portugal. In the 1940’s he opened his own riding school and soon became an international name in the world of classical equitation.

As Sylvia Loch said in her book Dressage: The Art of Classical Riding, Nuno Oliveira was “a man who could bring magical steps out of the most ordinary horse, a man who rode like a king, so that his horses carried him like a king.”

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