With stunningly beautiful photographs and clear descriptions, classical dressage authority Anja Beran breaks down the physical requirements of the rider's seat on the horse, as well as its responsibilities during various movements--from the gaits and paces to lateral work, lead changes, piaffe, passage, and pirouettes.
Beran provides a unique perspective on the use of breath when riding, citing the recommendations of a classically-trained opera singer who regularly works with Beran and her riding students to develop their deep breathing skills. "A relaxed seat," Beran says, "is never possible with restricted breathing." In addition, she explores the need for an improved inner attitude in order to truly refine your seat on a horse. Fear, stress, and tension all interfere with your ability to focus on the horse and connect with him during the time you are together. Simple practices can help open and calm the mind, and over time, contribute to an overall better outlook and enhanced physical capacity.
In the second half of the book, Beran is joined by her personal physiotherapist and dance teacher for an in-depth look at human anatomy and how it functions in conjunction with the horse. Practical exercises give readers easy ways to improve mobility, strength, stability, coordination, perception, and overall posture, with superb results.
Anja Beran spent a major part of her childhood at her grandfather's hunting lodge in Bavaria, surrounded by hunting dogs and horses. There she decided she would one day be either a forester or a professional rider. Beran ultimately chose riding as her life's work. Horses brought her to Portugal in 1985, where she initially rode with Luis Valenca, and later met and worked intensively with Manuel Jorge de Oliveira, who remains her mentor. At home in Germany, she spent 16 years under the tutelage of Marc de Broissia, training horses of all breeds, before eventually managing and running Gut Rosenhof, an astoundingly beautiful mountain farm and training facility in Bidingen, Germany. Horses are now sent from all over the world to work with her and her outstanding staff--at Gut Rosenhof, every horse is allowed to develop at his own individual speed, gently, with great care for the classical ideal of true harmony between horse and rider.