Paul Belasik first put pen to paper in the 1980s determined to write an account of his personal journey to discover the ultimate truths of riding dressage. During a span of almost twenty years, he wrote this masterful trilogy filled with honest appraisals of riding and training horses not only from the practical, physical point of view, but also with a keen eye toward the artistic, scientific, and philosophical components of horsemanship as well.
Riding Towards the Light begins the chronicle of Paul Belasik’s self-described apprenticeship. He traveled thousands of miles of observe and learn from the latter-day masters, spent countless hours practicing in the saddle, and researched centuries-worth of equestrian literature seeking the wisdom of great riding masters of the past, for example Dr. HLM van Schaik and Nuno Oliveira. His wide-ranging studies even encompass the concepts of Zen Buddhism and martial arts. However, he offers more than unadulterated inspiration, the book is filled with plenty of practical information on important issues such as use of the seat, hands, legs, balance and the half-halt.
Exploring Dressage Technique follows as a sequel. Here Mr. Belasik recounts his study of the biomechanics and philosophy of riding and training dressage horses. Using state-of-the-art findings, he debunks many commonly held dressage myths. Each chapter offers a fascinating discussion on a different aspect of riding and training, with many thought-provoking ideas for today’s riders. Chapters include: A Fog of Walks; The Hovering Trot; Lateral Work—In Search of the Mother Load; The Myths of the Outside Rein; Riding as a Meditation; and numerous others. The author points a way through some of the contradictory and confusing tenets that exist in the world of riding and offers refreshing new ideas and revives a few forgotten ones.
In The Songs of Horses, the final book in the trilogy, Paul Belasik uses two of the oldest teaching devices known to man—allegory and story-telling—to communicate some of the current theories and offers insight as to how people are taught and learn. Through these fascinating stories, readers meet unforgettable teachers, and it is Mr. Belasik’s hope that The Songs of Horses represents the completion of a circle, the last phase of decades of research: now the trained apprentice must train the apprentices.
This inspiring body of work by a modern-day master of horsemanship, Paul Belasik, will provide food for thought for all students of the horse and the art of riding.