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Tug of War: Classical versus “Modern” Dressage

Horse Books

Trafalgar Square Books is pleased to announce the publication of Tug of War: Classical versus “Modern” Dressage by German rider and veterinary surgeon Dr. Gerd Heuschmann. Dr. Heuschmann, known for his plain speaking regarding what he deems the incorrect and damaging training methods commonly employed by riders and trainers involved in dressage competition today, presents an intelligent and thought-provoking exploration of both classical and “modern” training methods against a practical backdrop of the horse’s basic anatomy and physiology. He describes parts of the horse’s body that need to be correctly developed by the dressage rider; how they function both individually and within an anatomical system; and how various schooling techniques affect these parts for the good, or for the bad. He then outlines his ideal “physiological education” of the horse: one where training and riding mirror the mental and physical development of the horse, fulfilling “classical” requirements—such as regularity of the three basic gaits, suppleness, and acceptance of the bit—rather than disregarding time-tested values for quick fixes that could lead to the degradation of the horse’s well-being.

Dr. Heuschmann’s assertion that the true objectives of dressage schooling must never be eclipsed by simple “mechanical perfection” is certain to inspire riders at all levels to examine their riding, their riding goals, and the techniques they employ while pursuing them.

DR. GERD HEUSCHMANN trained as a Bereiter (master rider) in Germany before qualifying for veterinary study at Munich University. There he specialized in equine orthopedics for two years before accepting a post as the head of the breeding department at the German FN, which he eventually left to start his own practice in Warendorf. He has been an active member of the “hyperflexion” (previously referred to as “Rollkur”) debate, weighing in at the 2005 USDF National Symposium and the 2006 FEI Veterinary and Dressage Committees’ Workshop. Along with Klaus Balkenhol and other prominent figures in the dressage community, Dr. Heuschmann is a founding member of “Xenophon,” an organization dedicated to “fighting hard against serious mistakes in equestrian sport” (

144 pp ∙ 6 ½ x 9 ¼ ∙ 76 color photos, 20 color drawings ∙ 978 1 57076 375 5 ∙ $24.95 hc