Sylvia Loch
Eden Hall
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Dressage Books - Sylvia Loch

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Dressage the Art of Classical Riding

publ. by Sportsman's Press, London and
Trafalgar Square Publishing, Vermont, USA
RRP - 24.95

November22, l990 by Gillian Newsum
In this major work, Sylvia Loch has recorded the Classical teachings of the great riding masters of the past 2,000 years, and against this backcloth she has set her case for a return to Classical philosophies in the training of the modern dressage horse. Is today's competitive dressage really Classical Art, she asks, or has it been unwittingly transformed into yet another equestrian sport?
In presenting a comprehensive and well-researched history of the Classical Art of riding, Sylvia Loch emphasises the importance of the early teachings. The historical information is enlightening and inspiring, but more importantly, it draws the reader towards the author's own conclusion that these traditional teachings are still of great relevance, and that competitive riders should not lose sight of the creativity and artistry of dressage, The emphasis should be on beauty, lightness and harmony between horse and rider, rather than on the mechanical aspects of accuracy and timing.
The author blames the methods of marking dressage tests and the form of the test themselves for some of the attitudes and training methods that have developed in recent times. These could both be adjusted to ensure that horses are ecnouaged to produce a more fluid test, with greater consideration given to the aaesthetic qualities of the horse's movements. Sylvia Loch also advocates the need for a national academy of classical equitation, which would provide a source of knowledge and inspiration to trainers and riders, who would then raise the national standard of riding.
This beautifully illustrated book is of great value both for its historical content and for its conclusions. Loch's concern for the direction of modern dressage is shared by many, and if this book can persuade more people to stop and think about what they are trying to achieve, it will have done a great service.

NB Shortly after this Review was published, Sylvia set about designing her own dressage tests and devised a system of marking, where a greater emphasis on correct riding technique allows judges to reward more for harmony than simply on athletic ability alone, Further details can be found by logging on to The Classical Riding Club site at

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Now in its 2nd edition and publ. in both French and German this highly acclaimed examination of Dressage - from Xenophon to the Romans, from France, Portugal and Spain to Vienna, to English hunt seat and the riding of North America, to FEI competition and how it evolved - is a must for anyone who wishes to understand their subject.

To include post and packing, an autographed copy direct from the Author will be sent on receipt/ clearance of a normal UK cheque or an international money order in s sterling. Dollar cheques not acceptable.

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