SYLVIA LOCH BOOK REVIEWS
Classical Rider - Being At One With Your Horse
JA Allen 1997 - £19.99
JEAN CLAUDE RACINET REVIEW (excerpt)
publ. in his own magazine, Riding in Lightness, USA Issue no 9, l999
The title of the book is intriguing, but may be misleading. One could expect some elitist theory, a condensed description of the 'classical' rider who sticks to the 'truth' bequeathed on us by our ancestors...
But revolutionaries are often conservatives in disguise. Conservatives want to preserve what IS - even perhaps in its corrupt state; revolutionaries want to retrieve what WAS.
This is certainly true of Sylvia Loch. This explains why the conservative British Horse Society, sticking to today's conceptions and practices of horsemanship, might consider Sylvia Loch as a dangerous revolutionary, as she set out to teach in her native country the horsemanship of yesterday to which she had been exposed in Portugal.....
There is in some Gospel (don't ask which one) a word of Christ which has always stricken me by its profoundness: "You would not be looking for me, had you not already found me." We all are looking for things we deeply, inside ourselves, know exist. We are looking for balance on horseback because we are programmed for balance (and so are the horses).
Sylvia Loch found in Portugal what she, in some obscure way, knew that she already knew.
...Let me now make you enjoy a few excerpts from her book which, as I was reading them, made me exclaim 'yes! yes! yes!" (or was it oui! oui! oui!?)
"One of the great tragedies of the horse is that, unlike the cat or the dog, he cannot vocalize his terror......"
"....In riding, we are always hearing the words 'straighten the spine' but to do this correctly, the back must maintain its natural contours. Indeed, stretching up and sitting tall increases the definition of our shape, so that the lower back may look slightly hollowed, the bottom more emphasized. There is nothing wrong in this and everything good when the front of the body is open and expansive, giving support to the whole....
"...Lightness, therefore, is the key to forward impulsion and flow....."
"...As Pembroke wrote in l778, 'the natural weight of the thighs has a proper and sufficient pressure of
"...It is always the horse that should do the pushing, never the rider....."
"...If the horse does not learn to rebalance and elevate more in the walk, what hope is there for the other gaits?...."
"...Indeed in some cases, the more refined the riding, the less the judges are impressed...the greater the struggle, the more the performance is valued..."
"...One does not chat in an Art gallery; why do it in a Manege?..."
"...You can never blame the horse when you made it impossible for him to give you what you wanted in the first place...."
"...How can a horse know we want right lead when our body is actually saying something else?..."
"...The argument that draw reins and balancing reins are safe in the hands of experts makes one wonder just how good these experts are if they need to resort to artificial aids of such an unyielding nature..."
"...These nuances between horse and rider form part of a living process which simply cannot be replaced by gadgets. Buckles and leather cannot be made to feel; with the human body nothing is dead or irrevocable..."
"...I know I am not the only person to rue the subjectivity of dressage judging, particularly at times by people who are not able to ride, let alone school to the level they are judging..."
And so on....
In her book, Sylvia Loch offers photographs of her late first husband Henry Loch on horseback and they are just outstanding. This man certainly was displaying the true position. He would have made jealous (and probably did) more than one Portuguese rider! JCR
BALANCE NEWSLETTER, UK, Summer l997
Sylvia Loch is one of the most eloquent equestrian writers around today. Her understanding of the physiology and psychology of the horse, her depth of research into the history of classical riding and some fascinating autobiographyical details make this an important book for everyone. You do not have to be a dressage rider to enjoy this!
CRITTERS REVIEW, UK, Spring l997
Concentrating mainly on the physiology and psychology of the horse, this is a book which has been written in a clear and concise manner and is equally suitable reading for the advanced student of dressage as well as the beginnin.
A committed Christian, Sylvia Loch believes that the horse is a gift from God and that we owe it fo Him to ride in humility and in praise of its beauty and generosity. A book to take time over and to refresh and stimulate the reader to a more enlightened approach to their own riding.
This book was Allenıs number one equestrian bestseller ever, selling over l0,000 copies world-wide in its first year. It gives all the reasons for the passions and techniques of classical riding as well as an account of how the author reached her conclusions through her scholarship in Spain and Portugal.
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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