Friday 6 April 2012

Toilet paper - check. Disgusting toilet brush - check. Sponge covered in hair - check. Dressage books - check.

As dressage riders, there are a few things we must keep by the toilet at all times.

I have listed them in the title of this post.

No, our friends don't get to read riveting stuff in People magazine, stuff like "WHITE POWER, SPOON, FOUND IN WHITNEY'S ROOM" or, "KRIS HUMPHRIES DOING ANYTHING HE CAN TO HUMILIATE KIM KARDASHIAN" when they need to relax on the can for a few minutes at our house (perhaps after eating my cooking - or maybe just when they need some away from Mr. Motard's incessant questions). 

No, instead, they are stuck with Dressage books.

Back in the day, it was Dressage Today magazine, but just as Cosmopolitan can only promise you the secret of how to "MAKE HIS ORGASMS UNBELIEVABLE!" so many different days, so many different ways - I got sick of reading about some permutation of "SIT YOUR HORSE ON THE BIT' month after month, and finally cancelled my subscription.  Sure, if you are incapable of conjuring up a way to get a man to...uh, you know... (Hey!  Here's one...try..1.Take off your clothes. 2. Touch his penis.  Ta-da!) you are maybe a bit more pathetic than if you can't  get your horse on the aids, but regardless - if you need to keep reading about either of these things month after month without making progress... may be time to become a trail riding nun

Dear Cosmo....I told my boyfriend I wanted to give him a Bad Ass Orgasm and he  got up and ran out of the room.  Didn't even stop to put on his pants.  I haven't seen him since.  Help!  What did I do wrong?  

But once you get a young horse, the dressage book on the toilet population does change - it shifts from treatises focused on how the hell an old bat like you is ever going to be able to "open her hips" and sit the trot, or have steady hands while doing so... and moves to books on all of the harmonious and wonderful things you should be doing with Baby.  Which you diligently study, try, fail ... before hitting the bulletin boards to get a good dose of clueless people commiserating with you, and a few realists telling you to get help.  And at least one recommendation to contact a horse communicator. Of course.

Being a good little bulletin boarder at the time, I did run out and buy "THE BIG THREE" recommended by the online know-all posse to guide me on my journey.  They would be...(anyone? anyone?)

1.  Complete Training of Horse and Rider - Alois Podhajsky
2.  Dressage in Harmony - Walter Zettl
3.  Basic Training of the Young Horse - Reiner Klimke

Actually, I am kind of lying, I already had a dusty old copy of Al's book - once upon a time, a long time ago someone had brought all of their old "Horse Lovers Library" books to a book sale (you know, the old ones with the orangey coloured covers we all had back in the day?) and I bought an assortment of them.  Al wasn't my favourite in the Horse Lovers Library though, that title goes to "Illustrated Horse Training" by Captain M. H. Hayes (published in 1889).  It has some truly innovative ideas to try when starting your horse, such as this:

Once you master that, your horse will apparently be ready for mounting.

Oh, after Fig 78., I am so ready for you, bitch.  Climb aboard. 
I would say that for sure, Basic Training of the Young Horse is the one that helped the most and that still makes a guest appearance at the toilet now and again these days.  (I do still help friends with their young horses sometimes).

Part of it's appeal is that it has cool pics of Euro dressage in the '80's - women wearing kerchiefs and men with nerdy turtlenecks.  And those little wool hats (duh, of course!)

I find it kind of odd that the book includes instructions on how to put on a bridle (page 25), then moves on to how to back a horse for the first time (page 43) - to me these things are kind of on different ends of the "do you know what the hell you are doing" spectrum - I would think there would be a few more chapters required in between (Well, I figured out that bridle thingy - whew!  Let's see, I guess it is time to climb aboard!).  But generally speaking It actually seems fairly real and applicable, and not written by someone surrounded by the singing bluebirds of classical dressage.

And it is probably the resource I turned to the most as I began getting acquainted with Ms. V.


  1. Man, let me say that I dislike children/adolescents of all species, but the one and only young horse I backed myself was a relatively painless experience. This was the advice I followed (not from a book):

    In the spring of the horse's third year
    1. Spend a couple days just tacking-up the horse
    2. Spend a couple months longeing 3 or so days per week
    3. Spend a couple days just getting on and off their back... maybe have somebody holding a lead while walking the horse around
    4. Ride the horse WTC a dozen or so times
    5. Don't ride for the summer then put them into full work in the fall

    Of course there was plenty of youthful exuberance, but I'd have been worried with anything less. I sold him when he was 6 and ready to show 2nd. Personally, I find most dressage books to be only slightly more helpful than message boards.

    1. Wow, your blog is going to be really dull, isn't it.

  2. Seriously, I laughed my ass off at "1. take your clothes off, 2. touch his penis."

    As for the dressage self help books. I quite like Klimke. Trying to remember the other ones I have...drawing a blank.
    Fig 78 is quite medieval.

  3. Bwhahaha! Make that two of us laughing. Although, you know you are reaaaaally asking for it from Google, publishing the p-word... I will look forward to hearing about more "interesting" searches!

    You are exactly right about magazines, no matter what the genre. Same old, same old, over and over, whether it's how to blow the BF's mind or get the right distances to your fences. So why do I keep reading Practical? I guess for the features that DO change (where would we all be without Jumping Clinic, I ask you), and the occasionally truly good nugget I glean from an article. "USE THE CORNERS!" How come nobody ever told me that when I was learning how to ride a course...

    Anyway, I haven't read any dressage horse starting books, but I do have some equally ancient tomes on the shelf which feature similarly unfortunate "horse breaking" techniques. As in, literally. I guess there were so many more horses back in the day that gittin' 'er done had to be accomplished as quickly as possible. Oh, wait, there are STILL trainers doing that! (See: Achieving the Perfect Headset On Your Two-Year-Old)

  4. I think you are okay as long as you stay away from the bulletin boards. To call them clueless is a compliment. I used to read UDBB back in the day, when I was training level. Now I am showing FEI, and the same people on UDBB are still posting the same stuff about how they are conquering their fear of cantering. These non-cantering people are, of course, full of advice about how FEI riders could improve their rides - and are very stern and judgmental about BTV and Rolkus, when of course they could not put their horse on the bit if they tried and actually putting their horses behind, rather than above, the bit is some sort of impossible dream.

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