In the 1950s in the USA, and particularly in Texas, classical equitation was only a vague hazy notion. We didn’t even really know what dressage was, and we barely knew that there was such a thing as an Andalusian horse. We rode Quarter Horses, and roped and cut cattle, and we rode “throwed away”, or loose-reined. Our methods were predominantly derived from the influence of Mexican vaqueros a century before, but we knew little of the theory and practice behind that “Spanish” equitation, which was the root of French classical equitation.
Now, decades later, and volumes of books and weekends with clinicians, videos, and a whole nation-wide movement of “natural horsemanship” later, we have been gifted with a much deeper understanding of what it means to “put on a horse,” like putting on a suit.
Once one of my Spanish mentors quizzed me, “Glenn, what is rassamble’?” After I stumbled and fumbled with words trying to bullshit my way through an answer, he shook his head and smiled “It is when the center of gravidity of the rider is directly over the center of gravidity of the horse!” I have chuckled about his Spanglish many times. However, I have fought, striven, cried and despaired over the concept for over a decade. Only with the help of many teachers, books, articles, and videos have I experienced rassamble,’ otherwise known as balanced self carriage, perhaps for two or three strides at a time!