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The Dressage Collection

Compiled for New Mexico Dressage Association
Ashley McConnell

Belasik, Paul. Dressage for the 21st Century. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2002.

Paul Belasik is a highly respected teacher who has ridden and successfully competed at Grand Prix and above. This book is a well illustrated text generally regarded as a seminal work on riding and training from the basics of working with a young horse to the most advanced figures in the haut ecole. It is considered suitable to all levels of riders.

Bryant, Jennifer. The USDF Guide to Dressage. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, LLC, 2006.

This book, not yet released, is the official guide from the United States Dressage Federation, and provides illustrations and explanations of the sport. It is considered particularly suitable to beginners.

Burkhardt, Barbara. Dressage from A to X: The Definitive Guide to Riding and Competing (Revised Edition). North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2004.

The author is a dressage judge, competitor, and trainer (and is local to the area). This text focuses on dressage as a competitive sport and provides information to the beginner and intermediate rider on how to participate in dressage as a sport.

Cammaerts, Judy. Dressage Test Technique. ( Carole Vincer, Ill.) Threshold Picture Guides Number 29. Kenilworth Press, 1994.

Somewhat dated but the illustrations are valuable for individuals just starting out in dressage.

Davison, Richard. Dressage Priority Points. New York: Howell Books, 1995.

de Kunffy, Charles. Dressage Principles Illuminated. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2002.

de Kunffy is one of the highly respected names in the sport of dressage and has judged and competed internationally as well as conducted schooling clinics for all levels of riders. He is a proponent of the “classical” school of dressage, and this text, on the methods of that school and its principles, is considered a basic of any dressage library. It is appropriate for all levels.

---. Dressage Questions Answered. London, UK: Arco Publications, 1984.

This book answers common questions and addresses problems raised by dressage riders. It is appropriate for all levels.

---. The Ethics and Passions of Dressage. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1993.

This book connects the modern sport of dressage to its roots when riding was the primary form of long-distance transportation. It is a book of philosophy about the relationship of riders to their horses and examines how the horse responds to the rider in turn. It is highly recommended by trainers.

de la Gueriniere, Francois Robichon; Tracy Boucher (Translator). School of Horsemanship. New York, NY: Hyperion Books, 1999.

de la Gueriniere, born in 1715, is considered one of the “fathers” of modern dressage. He was one of the early proponents of the balanced seat, which is essential to good riding position. This book is one of the classics of the sport and is of interest to all levels.

Ffrench Blake, Robert Lifford Valentine. Intermediate Dressage: Work at Second and Third Levels. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977.

Ffrench Blake is the author of several books on dressage and on military history, particularly the use of cavalry in the Crimean War. This text is selected for its particular interest to the rider who is no longer a beginner but who has not advanced as yet to the higher levels; it focuses on training and riding the movements at Second and Third levels.

Gahwyler, Max. The Competitive Edge: Improving Your Dressage Scores in the Lower Levels. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1995.

---. The Competitive Edge II: Moving Up the Levels. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1992.

---. The Competitive Edge III: Gravity, Balance, and Kinetics of the Horse and Rider. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 2000.

Dr. Max Gahwyler was a founding member of the American Dressage Institute, the predecessor to the USDF. He trained under Hans Handler of the Spanish Riding School. The first two books in this series are designed for the beginning to intermediate rider interested in competition; the third is applicable to all levels and focuses specifically on how the rider’s balance affects the balance of the horse.

German National Equestrian Federation. Principles of Riding (Official Instruction Handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation) (Revised Second Edition). Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1997.

This is the official training textbook (translated) of the German national riding organization. The German school of riding and training is recognized as one of the foremost in the world, and has produced numerous international dressage champions. This book covers basic to advanced instruction.

Gray, Lendon. Lessons with Lendon: 25 Progressive Dressage Lessons Take You from Basic "Whoa and Go" to Your First Competition. Gaithersburg, MD: Primedia Equine Network, 2003.

Lendon Gray is an American rider, judge, and instructor. This book is a compilation of a series of illustrated articles, originally published in Practical Horseman, for the beginning rider interested in learning to work with her horse based on the principles of dressage.

Henriques, Pegotty. Conformation. (Carole Vincer, Ill.) Threshold Picture Guides, Number 19. Kenilworth Press, 1997.

Pegotty Henriques was an international dressage judge and an examiner for the British Horse Society, and wrote a number of books on the art of dressage. The Threshold Picture Guides very short (about 25 pages) and are clearly written and illustrated basic topic descriptions.

---. Dressage for the Young Rider. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 2000.

This text is aimed specifically at teen and pre-teen riders and serves as an introduction to the sport.

---. The Rider’s Aids. (Carole Vincer, Ill.) Threshold Picture Guides, Number 20. Kenilworth Press, 1994.

Hill, Cherry. 101 Arena Exercises : A Ringside Guide for Horse & Rider. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, LLC, 1995.

This book was selected over a superficially more appropriate companion volume, 101 Dressage Exercises, because it is better organized in terms of increasing difficulty of exercises, and is of interest to individuals who are not necessarily focused on competition but wish to use the principles as applied to arena exercises to improve their riding.

Holzel, Wolfgang, Petra Holzel, and Martin Plewa; Claudia Staubitz (Translator). Dressage Tips and Training Solutions. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2001.

Wolfgang and Petra Holzel are international judges and competitors from Germany. This book is focused on specific problems in riding, both physical and mental, and how to resolve them It is appropriate for all levels of riders.

Klimke, Reiner, and Werner Ernst. Klimke on Dressage: From the Young Horse Through Grand Prix. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1992.

The late Reiner Klimke, a German rider, is still the world record holder for Olympic medals in equestrian competition, and was World Champion six times and European Champion eleven times. This book begins with the selection and training of the young horse and follows it through the levels to Grand Prix competition. It is of interest to individuals who want to choose and start a dressage horse as well as to those who are interested in competing at the higher levels.

Ljungquist, Bengt. Practical Dressage Manual. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson, 1983.

Col. Bengt Ljungquist competed several times with the Swedish Olympic teams in fencing and in dressage. When he retired from the Swedish military, he came to the US and coached the US Olympic team to World, Pan American, and Olympic championships and medals. This text is based on the principles of instruction he used in training all levels of riders as an instructor in dressage.

Loch, Sylvia. Dressage: The Art of Classical Ridinga. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2001.

Sylvia Loch is an internationally known and respected teacher, judge, and rider, as well as the founder of the Lusitano Breed Society of Great Britain. She is a proponent of the classical school of riding and these books are focused on the application of classical principles to balance, lightness, throughness and impulsion for the dressage horse and how the rider can help the horse achieve them. These books are appropriate for all levels.

Loch, Sylvia. Dressage In Lightness: Speaking the Horse's Language. London, UK: J. A. Allen, 2005.

Marshall, Leonie M. Choosing a Dressage Horse. London, UK: J. A. Allen, 1999.

Leonie Marshall is a judge, competitor, and trainer certified by the British Horse Society. In addition to riding she also competes in driven dressage. This text is one of the very few which is focused completely on how to select a horse which is physically and mentally suited to the sport of dressage.

O’Connor, Sally. Common Sense Dressage. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1990.

Sally O’Connor is a dressage rider, judge and competitor. She studied with Bengt Lundquist and Nunio Olivera, founded the Potomac Valley Dressage Association, and has conducted judges’ training programs for the USDF. This book takes the often complex language and exercises of dressage and restates them in clear terminology for the beginning and intermediate rider.

Podhajsky, Alois. Complete Training of Horse and Rider. Chatsworth, CA: Wilshire Book Company, 1979.

Alois Podhajsky was the Director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, probably the best-known of the ancient European dressage academies. This text is one of the classics of the sport,

Savoie, Jane, and Lynn Palm Pittion-Rossillon. Cross-Train Your Horse: Simple Dressage for Every Horse, Every Sport (Book 1). North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1998.

Jane Savoie is an internationally-recognized US rider and judge. This book shows how the principles of dressage can be applied to all equestrian sports, not just to arena competition for dressage alone. It is a useful book for individuals who want to use dressage training techniques for other equestrian sports or simply for improving their own riding ability and their horse’s athleticism and balance.

Schusdziarra, Heinrich, V. Schusdziarra, Reina Abelshauser, Cynthia Hodges (Translator). Anatomy of Dressage. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 2004.

This book was originally published in English as Anatomy of Riding. The authors are medical doctors and address riding from the perspective of the rider’s anatomy. This book is a part of the required reading for the USDF Instructors program.

Swift, Sally. Centered Riding. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1985.

Sally Swift developed the “Centered Riding” training philosophy as a way to deal with her own physical disability (she has scoliosis). The original book, Centered Riding, has been translated into fifteen languages; it is used to teach riders balance and how to move with rather than against the horse. It is highly recommended for all levels of riders.

---. Centered Riding 2: Further Exploration. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2002.

The second book takes the concepts of the first and extends them.

Wallace, Jane. The Less-Than-Perfect Horse: Problems Encountered and Solutions Explained. Shrewsbury, Shropshire UK: Kenilworth Press, 1991.

Jane Wallace is a former international-level three-day event rider. This book recognizes that no horse is completely perfect for any sport, and describes problem areas in conformation and how the horse and rider can compensate for and overcome them.

Xenophon; Morris H. Morgan (Translator). The Art of Horsemanship. Canaan, NY: Sydney R. Smith Sporting Books, 1999.

Xenophon’s Art of Horsemanship is, literally, the original dressage text, dating to the fourth century B.C.E. This book not only describes how to ride but how to train the horse, and describes what to look for in buying a horse. This book is not only of historical interest but its principles are still sound today.

Zettl, Walter A. Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prixa. Boonsboro, MD: Half Halt Press, 1998.

Walter Zettl is one of the most highly respected names in dressage. He certified as a Chief Reitlehrer (professional instructor) by the German National Federation. He was the dressage coach for the Canadian 3-day Olympic team in 1984 and has been the keynote speaker for the US Dressage Federation’s annual convention. This book is considered one of the fundamental texts on riding and training the horse to its highest potential, whether in competition or not.


New and used books can be found online at amazon.com, alldirect.com, abebooks.com, and many other sources. In addition, several other sources specialize in dressage titles. Among these are:

United States Dressage Foundation Store: Books: As of March 28, 2006, this site listed 43 titles, of which 18 were specifically related directly to competitive dressage. Several others are about riding as an art, which is the foundation of dressage, or about arena exercises. As the national organization for the sport of dressage, USDF has created its online store as a source of funding, and its books, videos, and promotional items are specifically targeted to the competitive dressage community at all levels. Prices are provided.

HorseBooksetc.com: Dressage : HorseBooksetc.com is the book publishing arm of Primedia Equine Network. The “dressage” section of the site has 98 books (as well as VHS tapes and DVDs). Not all, and perhaps not even most, of these books are published by Primedia.

BitsandBridles.com, Dressage Book Recommendations: Bits and Bridles.com is a tack and equipment forum—a site for tack reviews, classified ads, message boards, and resource recommendations for several different riding styles, including dressage. The dressage book recommendations returns 126 titles, of which more than 80 are specifically related to dressage and are non-fiction. Many of these titles also receive customer reviews. Links are provided to amazon.com, but prices are not provided at the bitsandbridles.com site.

Half Halt Press Shopping Cart: Dressage Books : This publisher lists 38 titles in its online “dressage books” catalog.

British Horse Society Online Bookshop : The BHS bookshop lists 188 titles (including books, video, and DVDs) under the heading “dressage.”