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POINT OF VIEW


or the hand to secure rider’s balance, closing the legs to control the horse without stiffening the back, etc. On the other hand, the educated rider needs to know


how to act on the entire horse at once to modify his bal- ance without affecting his posture adversely. The hand must follow the body and not act exclusively on its own for the most part. The body weight becomes the pre- cursor of the hand action and the horse finds it much easier to follow the shoulders than a separate hand ac- tion that may invert his neck. “The hand” consists of the wrist held straight, and the thumb and forefingers securing the reins without fail. The shock absorber be- tween the shoulders and the mouth are the three re- maining fin- gers that can close to resist, or soften, or play on the reins (like the moderato on a piano). In that


version of riding, the hand follows the rider’s shoulders, that influence the seat, that affects the legs. This is a way to change the angle of the horse in the lateral work or to sit him down without hollowing his back. It is how one modi- fies the balance, the speed or the position of the horse by controlling and angulating the pelvic floor of the rider with an erect back.


The Saddle This is why the saddle is the “clutch” between the gearbox in the rider’s seat and the motor in the horse’s back. The front of the saddle must be wide and rounded so the rider can push with his/her fork without fear of being hurt. The twist must be narrow so the legs can drop easily and the seat deep enough to be secure but without excess so the pelvis can be supported without collapsing backward. The panels must be long, wide and flat, so the horse is en- couraged to lift his back to carry the rider under the least amount of saddle pressure possible.


In this 1978 picture from a British dressage mag- azine, I (JP) am riding "Sammy," originally an Irish field hunter who qualified for the 1980 Mos- cow Olympics as a dressage horse after I trained him and sold him back to Ireland. My seat and position, acquired while a student of Oliveira, hips in front of my relaxed shoulders, allowed his back to come through. In turn, his good use of his rounded top line made him very easy to sit.


JP Giacomini’s career spans 50 years, during which he has trained close to 20 Grand Prix horses and worked on thousands of reme- dial horses of every imaginable breed, both in Europe and in the U.S. He studied under of Nuno Oliveira and later at the Nation- al Portuguese Stud of Alter Real. He has produced international winners in all three disciplines and invented a unique training method called “Endotapping.” JP also focuses on training the Ibe- rian Sport Horses he breeds at his and his wife Shelley’s Baroque Farms USA in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. JP can be reached at jpgia- comini@gmail.com.


Herbert Rehbein


alist Liostro that he had trained throughout his brilliant career. I shared my admira- tion for his presentation with him and he invited me to his Grönwoldhof facility to ride him. This is where he and his wife Karin trained international competitors as well as many of Germany’s leading riders. Rehbein was German Professional Champion seven times and was crowned in-


W


ternational trainer of the year by the International Trainers Club in 1991 and 1994. He had trained with Bubi Gunther who was a direct student of Otto Lorke, the fa- ther of modern German dressage. As a result, his training was very different from anything we see today: his horses went forward with amazing impulsion but they also collected with a true lowering of their haunches and their piaffe stood out as the real thing. When I rode Liostro, I found him very pleasant to ride, light in the aids and quite similar in the training to Oliveira’s horses. I remember an old picture of Rehbein piaffing a horse that looked exactly like Oliveira’s position. This visit cemented a long friendship between Herbert and me.


60 September/October 2018


hile I was coaching British Team dressage riders at the 1978 Dortmund In- door, I met Herbert Rehbein, who was retiring Karin Schluter’s Olympic med-


Top: Liostro and Herbert Rehbein. Bottom: Rehbein schooling Pik Bube.


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