Art of Traditional Dressage Vol. 1

Charles de Kunffy is a well respected teacher, FEI judge, and author of several books on classical dressage principles. This video covers the Seat and Aids. Overall I enjoyed the video although Charles’ voice put me to sleep the first time I watched it! I was more awake for my second attempt and watched it all the way through.

Charles presents his material through a combination of ‘fire side chat’ lectures, demonstrations of him riding as well as others riding.

Charles is a strong proponent of a very stable, adhesive, and authoritative seat. He spends a bit of time talking about how to sit, the position of the pelvis, the legs, arms and upper body. He demonstrates the use of the seat and back while sitting in a chair and tipping it forward suggesting that this can only be done if one is using the seat properly. He also shows how deeply the ankle should be flexed by standing on his heels with toes raised. This is really hard to do! But, then it seems to me that he has an almost inhuman ability to lower his heels anyway. So, while low heels is an important indicator of a correct seat one should keep that in mind before you make having heels that low (as low as he does) your top priority!

The portion of the video that got a lot out of was the part demonstrating riders being longed. I got several new ideas from those demos that I will be using to help my riders improve their seats.

There were only a couple of question marks for me while watching the video. One is Charles will lean way back with his upper body in order to obtain a change in the horse’s balance. I was concerned about how exaggerated this leaning was and I wondered if it was a normal practice for him (in that case I didn’t like it) or was he looking to demonstrate something for the video and exaggerated for that purpose? I made some inquiries to those who I know work with him regularly and was assured this wasn’t intended to be normal. If anything, a very quick correction which should ultimately be reduced to something ‘inside the coat’. I think anyone watching should keep that in mind and also the fact that the demo horses had not been ridden by him prior to the filming.

All in all a good video to help riders improve their effectiveness in the saddle.