Follow along as four young horses—Corsana, Kara, Elsa, and Escarpa—leave their babyhood behind and begin their training for future careers as sport horses, well schooled in the art of classical dressage.
Renowned rider, trainer, author, and equestrian philosopher Paul Belasik shares the daily schedule, weekly events, and his own musings over each horse’s character, physicality, athletic ability, and training as the months and seasons pass. Belasik’s honest and enlightened journal entries give the reader an inside look at training horses according to the classical system he has used for almost 40 years. His style of writing allows the reader to “live” the experiences as he did—in the moment, and without the benefit of hindsight. The result is a true account, both thoughtful and thought provoking, and by turns tender and efficiently practical.
While many horsemen may have the opportunity to train a young horse in the course of their life, it is only he who both breeds and trains who benefits from working with full and half siblings, horses both closely related and distant. Training horses that share bloodlines, birthplace, and breaking-in techniques enables one to witness the power of nature and the influence of nurture on the eventual result—a “finished” riding horse. Whether that horse is a pleasure to work with and ride, or dull and dispassionate, or worse—a danger to himself and others—is ultimately dependent on the right mixture of nature and nurture, and a sensitive knowledgeable hand to offer lessons in fair and yet effective measures.
It is this that we witness, in words and photos, in the pages within. Paul Belasik opens his farm and his experience to us all, in the hope that his continuing education in the realm of horsemanship can be our own.
Also, listen as Chris Stafford of Horse Radio Network in Lexington, Kentucky interviews author and classical dressage trainer and clinician, Paul Belasik. In a five part series, Paul introduces his new book, Nature, Nurture and Horses: A Journal of Four Dressage Horses in Training – From Birth Through the First Year of Training.Click here to listen to this 4 part series.
Book Review from Dressage Today: A Search for Collection An American dressage rider and trainer discuss the physical and artistic elements of training in this review of A Search for Collection.
Hardcover, 160 pages, Trafalgar Square Books, $31.95, www.horsebooksetc.com.
"You have to hand it to a veteran author like Paul Belasik, who keeps coming up with books about horses with remarkably fresh angles. In this one, he frames his 40-year-old practice of starting young horses with the centuries-old classical method he learned from Europeans. An enjoyable and entertaining writer, he has an ample intellectual view of the world that layers his work, plus an unabashed love of the natural world, combined with a scientific rigor regarding the role of equine biomechanics. It is rare stuff, indeed."
"Anyone who has raised a foal from birth knows just how hard it can be. But imagine multiplying the stress, frustration and joy by four. Live the experiences of helping to birth, wean, break and train four foals with internationally known rider, trainer, equestrian philospher and writer Paul Belasik in his latest book, Nature, Nurture and Horses."
"Easy to read, beautiful photos and I learned quite a bit. In this era where we are exposed to many demonstrations of saddling and riding unbroke horses in a matter of hours, it was so educational to see the benefits of using the classical method. It is such a pleasure to ride a horse that is eager and willing to work under saddle. I had no idea that it was a trainable trait until I read this book."