Long Reining – The Saumur Method
ISBN: 1 57076 238 4
Hardcover, 96 pages.
For those of you who have ever thought about it, long reining can be an excellent way to build muscle, keep older horses in work and generally develop your relationship with your horse – and if you’re thinking of trying it, you’ll want to take a look at this book – it’s the definitive guide to long reining by one of our ‘live and kicking Masters of horsemanship.
About the Author:
“Philippe Karl is a member of the Saumur Cadre Noir and a former director of a famous equestrian center near Versailles, France, instructed at l’Ecole Nationale de’Equitation from 1985 to 1998.”
Filled with beautiful pictures, this book will have something for beginners and experts alike. Almost a quarter of the text is devoted to a clear and detailed picture of equine locomotion / mechanics / anatomy and equipment recommendations. We’ve made some notes at the bottom of this review to show you the tack and equipment we keep on hand for long reining. If anyone can work out where to find the pulleys mentioned, (photo 2 below) please post comments below – reward offered!
Karl divides his program into three distinct phases: Initiation, Consolidation and Bringing to Perfection, following the education of 3 horses at various stages of training. Within each section is an outline of exercises and general intent of the abilities to be developed. It’s not an instructional manual and a certain level of knowledge is assumed.
This book won’t give you step-by-step instructions to achieve a piaffe or levade on the long reins. The information in this book should however, supplement your knowledge and understanding of those movements and provide Karl’s perspective on order of introduction, how to compose the positioning and most importantly a little thought as to why we might like to suggest our horses posture in such a way.
I found this book excellent as a supplement to ridden work and knowledge – for those of you that have never tried a leg yield or shoulder in, half pass or pirouette, the on the ground work not only helps you get a hold of it in your head and see what your horse is doing – In the wise words of Mr Mike Schaffer, it lets your horse practice one thing at a time. The benefits of trying an exercise without the added (mental) pressure of a rider’s weight onboard “must be obvious to all” (Sylvia Loch).
It’s worth noting too that there’s a fair amount of text devoted to jumping in here. Remember Saumur is famed not only for high school airs but specifically for their incorporation of jumping into their other haute ecole activities. Just google for a display or visit our youtube channel for a few examples.
A couple of downers: Unfortunately the pictures are of a bygone era – they’re certainly not up to snuff when compared to our luxury of DSLRs which seem commonplace today. The pictures do however illustrate the overall composure, positioning and feel – I found myself referring again and again to these images. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words and every time you refer back, you see a little more of the puzzle.
A thoroughly enjoyable book, I only wish it was 1000 pages rather than 100 to accommodate more and more pictures – there’s some great eye candy in here. Better yet, how ’bout a DVD special! (Well there is one, but it’s in German – so you might need to bribe a friend to translate).
Highly recommended, our copy is very well-thumbed. Keep this book on hand and refer to it as you would consult a good and trustworthy friend.
Recommended product matches: Check out the links below for related tack and equipment to get you started.
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