Wisdom from the French Masters

The eighties were a fruitful period of time for us North Americans hungering for knowledge of classical horse training.  The first book to explain dressage in English that I ever say was “Dressage” by Henry Wynmalen.  Of course for a couple of centuries, there had been books in English about riding, but this one spoke about the old French Masters of the manege, who could train to a very high level of collection.

In this book, which came out in 1971, I read about the french master Francois Baucher.  Controversial as he was, he presented a game changer in developing lightness and balance in his horses.  Years after reading this I was fortunate to have a teacher, a Spaniard, who had worked with older trainers in the French method.  He taught me the in-hand work of Baucher’s second manner.  His English was about as good as my Spanish, but we communicated anyway.  

One day he announced “the most important thing that you must get the horse to do is gel the yow!”

It took me a few minutes, but I finally got it.  The most important thing you must get the horse to do is yield the jaw!

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