Sylvia Loch
Eden Hall
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Dressage Videos - The Classical Seat

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I had read Sylvia's book The Classical Seat and it had made all the difference to my riding - and my horse! Then, by chance, I found the video - and hesitated before switching on my TV - was all I had learned correct? Were my interpretations of the written word all I had hoped? My horses seemed to think so, but I was eager for confirmation and desperate to find out!!

Studying the video was the very best thing I could have done. It confirmed a lot of what I had gleaned from the book, but I hadn't realised just how important the exact position of my seatbones in the saddle and my leg on the horse's side could be! Here, for real were horses that would stop if the seat was wrong, and do the same if the leg was wrong. Also the opposite... I could see how my seat was permanently driving my horse onto the forehand and why it had been difficult to achieve good downward transitions.

I've watched horse videos before, but always with perfect horses and perfect riders. None had actually told me how and how not to do things and showed the different results in so many different horses. Now, I need never be confused again. The Classical Seat if properly pursued does indeed work for everyone - and every horse - including my own, who until recently never had a dressage lesson in their lives!!! Chris Reeve, York.

(This review was published in l997 in a local Riding Club magazine)

REVIEW! The Classical Seat: A Guide for the Everyday Rider - now in Video
Intended as a companion work to her book of the same name, this video features British rider, judge and instructor Sylvia Loch refreshing and reinforcing the basics of quiet hands, a balanced seat and effective legs....
Loch uses her Lusitano horses and students to separate the classical seat into its many elements, stressing how a shortcoming on the rider's part inluences a horse's performance.
An interesting element is Loch's clear explanation of the 'panel of buttons' on the horse's side. By placing your leg on the correct 'button' you can elicit the exact response you'd like. By using average horses and riders, Loch shows us that these equestrian skills are indeed used by the everyday rider.
Loch completes her tape by urging riders to stay in shape through exercises for strength and suppleness. She also demonstrates how to walk the movements you are asking the horse to develop more feel for your own natural response.
This review was first published in DRESSAGE TODAY (USA) in l995.

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(To order this video, please scroll down to the bottom of the menu at the side of this page and click onto Buy Videos - where again, by scrolling down, you can email orders direct from the Classical Seat Video Company)

Sylvia Loch's refreshingly simple, logical approach to the classical training of horses and riders will be familiar to most dressage readers. Now, after the success of The Classical Seat video (red cover) her long awaited second video is out now!

CLASSICAL SEAT II (blue cover) helps novices progress towards more collection - in preparation for the Elementary level dressage tests, for example. It's also invaluable for more experienced riders seeking to achieve more lightness and harmony. Collection is introduced to the horse in a quiet, unpressured way, starting with figure work in the school - correct circles, figures of eight and serpentine and so on. Lateral work is introduced step by step, teaching the horse and rider the value of the turn on the hocks and working with the hocks more engaged. Sylvia explains how all these exercises lighten the forehand, to ensure better lengthening in the stride without dropping the horse onto the forehand. Finally, the video demonstrates how to obtain flexion in the poll and jaw and ask the horse to come onto the bit.
This is a truly hands-on instructional video with unique attention to detail. A variety of horses and riders from novice to advanced, show us how to do the movements - and how NOT to do them! The movements are discussed from all angles. What the rider should feel and how to position herself so that the horse understands, and what the horse should feel through the application of the rider's weight aids, are explained, interspersed with diagrams and exercises on the ground. Practical and inspirational, this video is highly recommended!
(This review was published in Horse Talk, Horse and Rider, January, l997)

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To order, scroll down to the bottom of the menu at the side of this page which will link you to the Classical Seat Video Company. You can order on line or by e-mail... again scroll down to choose!

If you want inspiration - here it is! The previous two videos were brilliant but this is even more exciting, since it is dealing with more advanced work - advancing the elementary horse and rider. All of Sylvia's videos are so clear and concise that even my youngest and most inexperienced pupils have commented on how she makes things look easy to understand. This one is no exception.

In CLASSICAL SEAT III each sectiion - Shoulder-fore,
Travers on the circle, Half-pass, Counter Canter, Medium or extended work in trot and canter, etc is interspersed with Sylvia's clear and enthusiastic explanations. The video features both less experienced and very talented horses and riders, but it is refreshing and very helpful when slight errors are made, which are then explained. This will help us all to remember that we must not expect perfection during training - that can only be the end result of long, systematic, patient work. We must reward the horse and feel justifiably elated when he understands and tries. I have seen some wonderful videos made by equestrian masters which certainly give one something to aim for and an ideal to keep in the mind's eye. However these can be a bit daunting to some people, when this ideal seems so hard to attain.

CLASSICAL SEAT III shows us how to make a start with a lesser trained horse - how much or how little to ask for at that stage; as well as the finished article, showing some truly beautiful movements. I found the sequence of Shoulder-in to Half-pass particularly helpful, showing very clearly the change in the rider's inside leg aid when moving from one movement to the other.

There is a sequence of Half-pass in walk illustrating the horse moving sideways, almost totally in response to the rider's weight aids. One can practise this every day at home and feel the horse's response, but seeing it shown slowly and clearly, the horse responding in one direction, then the other, makes it crystal clear just how rider position and weight movement is to the horse. In all movements shown on this video Sylvia makes frequent mention to the Weight Aids in conjunction with the legs, hands etc. telling us how and when to employ them.
In short, this video is a must for anyone aspiring to train their horse or to teach to this level and definitely for sheer entertainment, it is a joy to watch.
I can hardly wait for Classical Seat IV....
(This review by classical trainer and writer, Anne Wilson, first appeared in the CRC Magazine, Spring l999)

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