Book Report: Reflections On Equestrian Art by Nuno Oliveira

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A big fan of Nuno Oliveira’s work, I was really looking forward to reading this gem.  It took the holidays and a couple of SNOW days in the desert to find time to enjoy it, but I did!  A really lovely read.  It is not technical like many contemporary horse books.  The book is divided into sections by theory or gaits and movements.  His discussion of classical work and it’s benefits to the horse are some of the best descriptions I have read on the subject.

I particularly like his continual discussion about the horse’s individuality and how important it is that the rider adjust the work to the horse.  There is no blanket formula for creating a through, connected, engaged horse.  He talks about how different types of exercises benefit different types of horses.  One example I quite liked was the Thoroughbred versus the Iberian breeds.  They are very different conformationally and he succinctly discusses the type of trot he recommends for each to improve and balance their strengths and weaknesses.

Having read so many technical pieces, including a review of the USEF Rules for Eventing and Dressage recently, it was refreshing to think of riding and training as an art.  The collaboration with our horses should be a project in refining and defining our craft throughout.  To all the artists out there… see you in the canvas.

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