Looking back at the old masters, Xenophon (430-354 BC), Federico Grisone (founder of the first riding academy 1532), Anoine Pluvinel( 1555-1620), Francois de la Robichon Guérinière ( 1688-1751) and Gustav Steinbrecht ( 1808 -1885), we discover the equestrian spirit. While at times of Pluvinel armed cavalry was highly important, later at times of Gueriniere, as sovereigns had withdrawn from the battlefields, riding for the arts became possible and also practiced. Then at times of Steinbrecht , due to the use of firearms in ranged combat ,the need for larger horses, which could overcome long distances even without a high level of education, became stronger. These horses, which are more comparable to our modern warmblood, replaced the smaller, more agile type which needed to have a higher ability to carry itself and bend its haunches.
Yet we can still find the spirit of the older times in the parts of equitation where horses are still valued as a reliable and essential partner in work and life. Vaqueros, cowboys or gauchos can still be observed riding one handed, comparable to the weapons cavalry of former times. The reason for both groups is still the same- the rider needs one hand to hold a lasso, the lance etc.
In difference to working equitation, the Academic Art of Riding reaches its aims however, through a simplified use of aids. As we are no longer confronted with having to fight against an enemy, we are able to dedicate ourselves to the art of riding. In the Academic Art of Riding psychological as well as physiological equitation comes to life. The rider attains complex aids which allow him to lead the horse through each phase of movement in order to nurture it mentally as well as physically
“Only few activities form your character as the education of a horse does“