NSAE NEWS 5/28/97



these are the standard faire on our plate for all issues they may not always have anything written, but it is a start. feature are always welcome * suggestion are prayed for

MOLDY OLDY - rare book quotes
THE DIRECTOR - camera and action


"Equitation, is not the search for public acclaim and self satisfaction after applause. Nor is it the pleasure of every prize or a judge or jury's admiration at a show. It is the head to head dialogue with the horse and the search for communication and perfection." Nuno Oliveira

Taken from "Notes on the Teachings of Nuno Oliveira" Edited by Jeanne Boisseau (Translated by Craig P. Stevens -original translation copyright, NY Feburary,1993 - all rights reserved)

MOLDY OLDY - rare book quotes

Excerpt from "Equestrian Questions" by General L'Hotte (as taken from his personal note books in 1894) L'Hotte is considered by many to be Frances finest rider... He was head of the school at Saumur . He coined the phrase, Calm, Forward and Straight... This is one of two books he wrote. The other is a biography which covers his life and work. He was a student of both D'Aure and Baucher.

Translated by Craig P. Stevens (copywrite Dec. 1992 New York, New York all rights reserved) (available for sale through the NSAE - contact for further details)
"To ride a horse correctly it is necessary to know him. To acquire this foundational knowledge, it will be necessary for the écuyer to study and practice almost as much at teaching the horse to submit and to govern his movements, which is the purpose of what is properly called equitation. A study like this is not found either in painting nor in sculpture.

If one considers the horse as raw material to fashion, one sees emerge a body of difficulties that are not met in the other arts. For example, the sculpter finds in the marble that he sculpts or in the clay that he kneads a raw material which is gradually brought to a form, always the same. The element on which an écuyer has to exert his art can vary infinitely.

Each horse indeed represents an individual resulting from his morale, and physical conditions which to him are proper. Though directed the same, the horseman proceeds in an unique manner.

Horsemen have often been discouraged by these first difficulties, completely failing in the work, only on the next day succeeding. In the practice of other arts the artist can, it is true, have one day not as good as another, but he will never attain as complete a disappointment.

Passing beyond this and supposing that the horse has been submitted to this long and difficult work, which consists of obtaining submission and elastic flexibility in every one of his joints; it still remains to make these joints play. Here I will make a comparison to a musician.

If one thinks about the ways each of these two artists makes use of their instruments, one is first completely struck with the simplicity of the musician's instrument compared to the mechanism of the horseman. Indeed, for the horseman, it is not the same as it is for the violinist with the hands and arms with which to show skill and ability. Every region of the rider's body is called to act, and to act in agreement with the play the joints of the horse, extending or restraining his movements, harmonizing them, just like the musician must harmonize the sound.

The instrument on which the musician acts is inert by itself. Therefore the same actions will invariably produce the same effects if the same conditions are presented. It is completely different with the instrument that the horseman uses. Life and will animate the horse, and from there one thousand and one nuances show in his manner and appear in his movement, and to which the horseman must respond. Here is a whole maze of difficulties in the middle of which the horseman will only be mislead, if he does not have equestrian tact, which is the discriminating feeling of which I have spoken, to guide him,

Finally for the écuyer one particular disappointment comes from which the musician is found completely free, which is the loss of the instrument. The musician can immediately replace his instrument with an other when he has lost it. The écuyer does not have this recourse. When the school horse that he rides perhaps for several years, and which for him is his appointed living écuyer dies, several years are necessary to condition a new horse to completely replace the one he has lost. It will be necessary for him to work all the time if he possesses a high degree of feeling for the art, because like the horseman, the horse 's progress is without ceasing; his movements can be shaded to infinity, and the purity of the work is not limited.

That may seem to be an exaggeration, but why would it be it otherwise in equitation than it is in other arts?

As a general statement, in the moment when an artist believes himself to have reached the final summit of his art, he exposes with that statement an indication of his mediocrity. The true artist to the contrary believes in seeing within the duration of his efforts the distance as his talent grows, and thus proves the value and the reach of his feeling. This makes him see increasingly greater purpose, by making him better and better able to feel what perfection is.

Thus it is with the real horseman artist, the écuyer. He becomes completely one with his horse and he feels that his ability and the execution by the horse are indefinitely perfectible.

Viscount d'Abzac, when he was eighty years old, said that he learned again every day. Baucher's quest, by having never reached an end, testified that as great as his talent was in the training of his horses, despite the fact that they presented great perfection, they did not give complete satisfaction to the master. His feeling revealed to him yet a higher perfection. One day I said to Baucher that he would never be completely satisfied with the training of my horses. He replied to me: "But it will be always so and thus always there is something remaining to desire."

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