Horsemanship can find expression in many forms, from the dressage arena to the mountain trail. Regardless of riding discipline, a physical and psychological harmony between horse and rider is what is most important. This harmony can only be fully realized if a means of communication between partners is established, a need which has led to the development, over time, of bridles, bits and reins. Despite generations of horseback, many riders still see bits and bridles as a means of coercion, rather than lines to facilitate communication. In this book, renowned horseman Gerhard Kapitzke clarifies the important role of these frequently misused items of tack, illustrating the horse's natural movement and how a rider can seek to develop an independent seat and allow the evolution of a common balance, rather than forcing a particular head carriage. The author provides a basic training outline that ensures the young horse has time to build musculature, understanding, and the desire to communicated with his rider before he is asked to respond to a complex bride and intricate rein aids.
The rider's ability to fulfil his role as partner is also addressed, and Kapitzke explains now only how to properly choose and adjust tack, but also how to cue for half-halfs and hold the reins of a double bridle in various ways. Perhaps most valuable are the accurate descriptions and illustrations of various types of bits and their adjustments and corresponding effects. Kapitzke acknowledges that, in order for a rider to be sensitive enough to 'hear' what the horse is telling him, he needs to have a thorough understanding of the action of the bridle and bit he is using. Every trainer who desires a harmonious relationship with his mount, in competition or recreation, will value the honest dialogue that will commence with a comfortable, happy horse and unhindered lines of communication. Then, the author writes, the act of riding will become 'a conversation between two friends'.
Gerhard Kapitzke has loved and studied horses all of his life. He is a passionate rider and has become a renowned expert on horse behaviour, writing numerous articles and several respected equine reference books, including the best-selling The Horse from A to Z. He lives in Hanover, Germany. Friederike Butler, who translated this work from the German, was born in Germany and has since lived in both Canada and the United States. Horses and dressage have been her undeniable passions all her life. Currently, she teaches English and German to high school students in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she lives with her husband, son and their horses, Rajah, Tessa and Flame.