[As additional resources, links to book reviews and book purchasing information can be found beneath the quotations when this information is available.]
"The thorough knowledge of the horse teaches us to draw conclusions about his behavior from the most insignificant signs and movements."
"...the rider goes on learning as long as he lives."
"...theory is proved by practical demonstration. But action should always be preceded by knowledge, and knowledge is provided by theory which shows the best line to take. Theory and practice cannot be separated."
"What makes it so difficult for the horse is when a person lacks a basic understanding of how their smallest unaware actions can affect the horse."
"I know that I still have much to learn, and will go on learning until my dying day, not only by riding, but by studying, thinking deeply, and observing."
"All books are of use to the very advanced rider who has had great practice in riding, so that he can pick out the good advice, using it profitably, while knowing which parts to discard. Above all, it is necessary to ride often, while not entirely allowing the books to gather dust on the shelves."
"To be or beat the best, you must learn from the best. This is not an easy task, because true masters seldom announce themselves, and there are many pretenders to the throne. Money can be helpful in your search for excellence, but cost alone doesn't define quality, so if you want to rise to the top, you must shoulder the responsibility of educating yourself. In order to acquire excellence, you must first acquire the ability to recognize excellence. Further, you must be an active seeker, not satisfied to wait on your doorstep for that which you need to seek you out."
"Every horse is unique every horseman is unique. Set recipes constrict you but guiding principles bring understanding and provide a foundation on which each person can build, using the methods at hand."
"The Cavalry is the only art for which it seems there is only need of practice; however, the practice, stripped of sound principles, is nothing more than routine that only results in a forced and uncertain performance...."
"...unfortunately, it is definitely much easier to turn to false practice than to achieve what is correct."
"The opinion of those who feel that there is no need for theory in the art of riding will not prevent me, in any way, from supporting it as one of the most important necessities for the attainment of perfection."
"...in order to attain excellence in this art, it is necessary to be prepared for the difficulties encountered in the practice by a clear and firm theory."
"Theory teaches us to base our work on sound principles, and these principles, rather than being opposed to what is natural, must serve to perfect nature with the aid of art."
"An understanding of a horse's nature is one of the first basics in the art of riding, and all horsemen must make this their principal consideration."
"A good many riders who get on a horse do not have the slightest idea of how the animal moves its legs at the different gaits. An understanding of this is absolutely essential to the horseman."
"Nobody knows all the answers...and there is much still to learn and always will be."
"If all young riders embarking on a course of study of equestrian qualification were to have the classical ethos briefly but succinctly explained to them prior to their entry into college or in the riding school itself, we might look forward to a radical change in the attitude of riders not only towards the horses in their care, but also to life in general."
"There is no doubt that every one of us needs constantly to reassure ourself on horseback about any form of academic theory."
"...those who open and devote themselves to a life of scholarship without hope of material reward, only of increased understanding, will find themselves much more able to manage whatever trials come one's way — not necessarily in one's riding but in life itself."
"...it is a mistake for the student [of a particular teacher] to assume that other clinicians are wrong because their techniques are different."
"...abusive horsemanship is commonplace where ignorance reigns."
"We can easily miss good information if we do not believe it applies to us or we don't expect to use it personally...."
"I find that getting better at knowing what is happening is the key to getting better at what we want to happen, in riding perhaps more than any other sport."
"I have always found that those who know enough to understand the various mechanical devices well don't need them much."
"The better the rider understands what the horse is already doing and about to do next in any gait, the easier it will be to convey to the horse how we would like to change things."
"...developing ever-finer understanding of what the horse is doing, how the horse experiences us, and how we help the horse's physical well-being makes sensible, reality-based, two-sided body language conversations under saddle more interesting, understandable, healthier, and performance-enhancing for horses in any sport."
"...critical self-analysis and openness in the face of constructive criticism are the first and most important steps to a well-ridden horse."
"It doesn't take just years but decades to gain the necessary knowledge and ability to be a good horseman or horsewoman."
"It's not just that horses learn from us. When we are ready, we can learn much from them."
"At some point, we are forced to admit that one human life is not long enough to really learn to ride."
"The beautiful thing about riding is that you always have more to learn, assuming you are ready to work on yourself and to examine yourself critically."
"Experience helps, but the behavior of horses is often a puzzle for even experienced trainers."
"It takes many years, if not decades, to gain the necessary technical knowledge for full appreciation of the nuances that are the essence of dressage."
"The trainer/instructor must be technically grounded in pedagogically impeccable theory."
"There is always a reason for a change in a horse's attitude and it is up to us to discover it."
"The appetite [of the horse] for discovery that can turn into a real thirst for knowledge, if it is nurtured, is all too often killed off at a young age."
"...a good master opens our minds and helps us to understand what we are doing and what is possible. But in the end, it is experience coinciding with a receptive mind that makes the rider."