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Today there are no horses used in large wars with heavy artillery. The art and science of the ancient equine battle movements defined by Xenophon so long ago is called dressage and split into as many different styles as there are countries exhibiting this form of riding. The astonishing leaps are seen in what is called 'Classical Dressage' and usually shown only in a few advanced schools using their own breed of War Horse, or in touring exhibitions.

Many different breeds of horse are ridden in dressage shows and most breeds of horse can benefit from the balancing movements, however, forcing the advanced movements and head set on equines not bred for this form of work is cruel and unjust. Pure blooded Desert Arabians, especially, are not suited for the high collection and head set needed for the advanced movements of dressage. The beautiful desert Arabian horse naturally will toss her/his head and offer the characteristic floating trot that has made this breed so famous. No horse should be forced into any movement for which s/he is not suited by conformation or attitude. Today there are few pure blooded horses of the ancient Barb breed. Those remnants should be cared for as the last carriers of an ancient dance so beautiful that 'gods' would weep. They should be bred with care to keep both the horses and the dance far into the future.

Let us go forward into that future, being fully cognizant of the past, behaving, like the ancient pagans, as if horses were our partners in this world, not inanimate objects to be used and/or abused then thrown away. At the least, we can say "THANK YOU" and "PLEASE FORGIVE US" to those horses who have given their lives beside humans in our wars.

Chuck Grant, father of American Dressage

Music is an excerpt from"Road To The Faire" by David Arkenstone from his CD

"The Celtic Book Of Days" (Windham Hill)

Title clip art is from:

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