Paul Belasik’s Newest Contribution to Dressage and Education: The Classical Training Scale and History On a Beautiful Oversize Poster

On a single page, Paul Belasik has presented a beautiful, frameable large poster that should hang in every dressage stable. It is a synopsis of dressage history from the Renaissance to modernity. The genealogy of five centuries of different national schools is a telescope into the past, and illuminates some of the outstanding contributors to classical dressage around the world.  The training scale that is included codifies the universal collaboration that overcame national rivalries and prepared a masterful body of evidence on how to train a dressage horse that can guide any thinking rider toward the future.

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A Short Interview With Paul about the Creation of the Poster

Q: Paul, I’ve talked to several people who have seen your poster and said they were amazed – they had never seen this much information on a single page. What was the spark behind creating this poster?

A: My intention was to make a simple and attractive guide. It was not meant to be an exhaustive historical treatise, but more a brief homage to a long river of cumulative evidence that people like to forget.

Q: Why have you clearly gone out of your way to include a classical training scale?

A: When any training system seems to appear with no acknowledgement of sources, no footnotes or references, it has to be suspect. How can it stand alone and ignore the past? These particular principles have stood the test of time. They are repeatable and bear the results of good dressage.

I have long felt that the universal principles of the classical system have not been clearly illuminated. They get lost in different nationalisms when in fact the scale I show here came first, and the nations came second. There have been and continue to be many systems of training. How popular they are is often a result of the power of the organizations promoting them, or the charisma of the particular promoter. Are they promoting dressage or are they self-promoting?

Q: Why is this history so important?

A: It’s not a particular training system that is important. They float in and out like boats on a river. What is important is the river that carries them, that graciously allows the pomposity of some and carries away the debris of others. What the classical scale does is it listens to all of history and like the river guides the sounds ones forward to keep them available to others who come later. The longevity of the classical riding is its own proof that it is repeatable and universal.