You are warmly invited to follow my journey in the Academic Art of Riding!
When I started this blog, I was just a regular, first-time horse owner. My horse, Nazir, however, made sure that my childhood passion developed into something much more.
To the right you can see me and my horse, Nazir, a Polish warmblood gelding. Nazir was born on the 6th of June 2006 (if that date doesn’t mean anything I don’t know what does…), and came into my life in 2011. He is the source of my daily inspiration, everybody’s friend, hater of ducks, and a great pear enthusiast.
I bought him as a five year-old from a Warsaw riding school (you can read about it here). As a school horse, he got used to showing clearly what he likes and dislikes, so that I could gradually find a method that he could approve of. He can get extremely cranky when things don’t go his way, you know. Together, we arrived at classical dressage, more specifically the Academic Art of Riding as taught by the Danish dressage master Bent Branderup. Based on old masters such as Pluvinel, Newcastle, and Steinbrecht, the Academic Art of Riding is characterised by a solid education from the ground, gentle gymnastic exercises, an emphasis on the seat as primary aid, and a step by step approach that always puts the horse first. It is a great tool for the education of any kind of horse to become a strong and healthy riding companion.
Every day, Nazir reminds me to see things from his point of view. He is my most important teacher. Again and again, he forgives my mistakes and is willing to try something new. I guess that everyone who wants to become a good horse rider meets that one horse, the one that challenges you until you find the right path. Nazir was, and still is, that horse for me.
This blog records our journey, and I hope you enjoy reading about us as much as I have fun writing it!
And then there is Weto, a black Frisian-mix gelding, also born in 2006. When, in summer 2014, Nazir had to undergo surgery to remove cartilage fragments from his right stifle joint, Weto became a more constant part of my life. He is owned by my best friend Karolina and I’m very grateful that she lets me train him. You can see Karolina in my Girl’s Sunday at the Stable posts.
Weto is a very different horse than Nazir. Much more sensitive. He gets upset if you make a mistake or if you are unfair. As an introvert, he looks very calm most of the time, but can also suddenly explode for no apparent reason. He is hard to read and can endure lots of tension until the proverbial last straw. With his previous owner, e.g., he had decided at one point that he won’t be training dressage anymore. I am making sure that he has a say in his education, something that he had to learn. It is O.K. for him to not understand or not be able to do something! Then it is up to me to ask the right question.
Once I gained Weto’s trust, he started to be very focused and always gives his best. There is hardly a day on which he doesn’t want to do something. Nazir on the other hand, can be very difficult to work with and needs very clear rules to be able to trust. Thus, Nazir taught me to be precise and sure about myself, whereas Weto is now teaching me softness.
A little bit about me:
Although I’ve always had a great passion for horses and been riding since I was a little girl, it took some courage to follow my dream and actually work towards becoming a horse trainer. I studied translation (English and Spanish), finished my teacher’s degree in German and English, and then went on to write a doctoral thesis on the works of Muriel Spark. Half way through the thesis, however, I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was so unhappy with what I did and the prospect of teaching at university. There were far more hours in solitude at my desk than standing in front of students. It all felt so artificial and my heart was not in it. Because of the support of my amazing husband, I was able to take the time to work on my riding skills and develop an understanding of good horsemanship. I went to be a working student for Bent Branderup in Denmark and for Marius Schneider in Germany, not such an easy undertaking when you are not 20 anymore.
In 2016, I started to organise courses with trainers of the Academic Art or Riding in Warsaw. The interest in this fantastic method slowly grew and the first students asked for lessons. My dream is becoming reality!
The articles on my blog are either based on my own experiences or result of my research about a certain topic. Please feel free to comment, I’m always open for a discussion!
All the best for you and your horses from Warsaw, Poland,