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Tug Of War

Tug Of War

Tug Of War: Why Classical Training Works and How Incorrect "Modern" Riding Negatively Affects Horses' Health by Dr. Heuschmann presents a thought-provoking exploration of both classical and modern training methods. Includes the topic of hyperflexion (Rollkur). Read more...

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Equine veterinarian and German rider Dr. Gerd Heuschmann speaks his mind about what he feels are incorrect and damaging training methods commonly used by riders and trainers involved in dressage competition today. In his book, Tug Of War: Why Classical Training Works and How Incorrect "Modern" Riding Negatively Affects Horses' Health, Dr. Heuschmann presents a thought-provoking exploration of both classical and modern training methods. Included is the topic of hyperflexion (Rollkur) against a practical backdrop of the horse's basic anatomy and physiology.

In a detailed yet comprehensible fashion, Dr. Heuschmann describes parts of the horse's body that must be correctly developed by the dressage rider. He then examines how these parts function individually and within an anatomical system, and how various schooling techniques either affect these parts positively or negatively. Using vivid color illustrations of the horse's skeletal system, ligaments and musculature, and comparative photos depicting "correct" versus "incorrect" movement-and most importantly, photos of damaging schooling methods-Dr. Heuschmann convincingly argues that the horse's body tells us whether our riding is truly gymnasticizing and building the horse up, or simply wearing it down and tearing it apart. He then outlines his ideal physiological education of the horse, in which training mirrors the mental and physical development of the horse, fulfilling classical requirements, such as regularity of the three basic gaits, suppleness and acceptance of the bit, rather than disregarding time-tested values for quick fixes that harm the horse.

Dr. Heuschmann's assertion that the true objectives of dressage schooling must never be eclipsed by simple mechanical perfection is certain to inspire riders at all levels to examine their riding, their riding goals and the techniques they employ while pursuing them. 144 pages; 76 color photos; 5 black and white photos; 20 color illustrations.

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann trained as a Bereiter (master rider) in Germany before qualifying for veterinary study at Munich University. There he specialized in equine orthopedics for two years before accepting a post as the head of the breeding department at the German FN, which he eventually left to start his own practice in Warendorf. He has been an active member of the "hyperflexion" (previously referred to as Rollkur) debate, weighing in at the 2005 USDF National Symposium and the 2006 FEI Veterinary and Dressage Committees' Workshop. Along with Klaus Balkenhol and other prominent figures in the dressage community, Dr. Heuschmann is a founding member of "Xenophon," an organization dedicated to "fighting hard against serious mistakes in equestrian sport" (

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