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.
"Paul Belasik is a modern master and a rare horseman who can relate his vast wealth of knowledge to his students as flawlessly as he practices it with his own horses…Together the books [Riding Towards the Light, Exploring Dressage Technique, Songs of Horses] express the thought process of a true equestrian artist, teaching a reader/rider to view horsemanship as a dynamic process, a creative process, and a journey through the self. It’s such a pleasurable read that one almost doesn’t perceive the wealth of technical and historical information that it provides on every page. This is a must-have for any classical dressage rider’s library."
"Although [Cathy] Hughes liked all the books, this one was her favorite. In the three books, Belasik discusses his life, dressage theory, and how one has affected the other…Hughes feels that everyone from beginner to advanced can enjoy and benefit… Hughes is adamant, “I can’t say enough about the man.""
"This trilogy, a compilation of Riding Towards the Light (1990), Exploring Dressage Technique (1994), and The Songs of Horses (1999), is a wonderful collection of author Paul Belasik’s work. The trilogy gives readers a three-dimensional view of riding and teaching, offering practical information of riding as well as reflective thought…Take the time to read it slowly. Belasik’s book is heavy, but not dry. And it’s not just for dressage riders. It could only help to make anyone think about riding on another plane."