The Allen Classic Series brings together in a collected edition important out-of-print works of equestrian scholarship, which would otherwise be inaccessible to the dedicated enthusiast. Originally written and published in 1949, Academic Equitation was considered by dressage experts to be the most important contribution to classical training in the twentieth century. This book was intended as a preparation for international dressage competitions but is far more than this. It discusses the subjects of academic equitation, the riding master and the choice of horse before introducing the reader to the author's systematic programme, covering the very early training right up to the most advanced movements. The appendix deals with lungeing, work in hand, long reins and pillar work. General Decarpentry was not only a distinguished scholar of artistic equitation but also equally versed in putting the theories into practice. He deals with the education of the young horse and the complications and details of advanced schooling with the hand of a master.
Although he claims that nothing in the book is his - his training system is based on the methods of D'Aure, Baucher and L'Hotte - the General's wisdom and deep knowledge are manifest throughout. It was the General's great wish that traditional teachings on the art of equitation should not be lost to those who wished to study equitation. In this most important work he has succeeded in presenting these teachings in such a way that allows both layman and expert to obtain a deeper insight into this fascinating subject.
General Decarpentry was born in 1878 at Lambres near Douai. As the son and grandson of enthusiastic pupils of Baucher, he developed a keen interest in equitation and decided on a cavalry career. He served in the Cadre Noir at Saumur from 1904 to 1913 and again from 1925 to 1931 as the school's second-in-command, having been in command of the cavalry section at St Cyr for two years. During the First World War he was badly wounded at Verdun resulting in a stiff left elbow which, he used to say, left the arm bent in the right position for riding. General Decarpentry died in Paris in 1956.