Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mr. Baucher - on seat p.2

continuing with Mr. Baucher on seat nad exercise
Just let us use a chart from Mr. Littauer:

ad rem, the exercies as advocated by Mr. Baucher

Flexion of the legs.
The instructor will watch that the knees always preserve their perfect adherence to the saddle. The legs will be swung backward and forward like the pendulum of a clock ; that is, the pupil will raise them so as to touch the cantle of the saddle with his heels. The repetition of these flexions will soon render the legs supple, pliable, and independent of the thighs.
The flexions of the legs and thighs will be continued for four days (eight lessons). To make each of these movements more correct and easy, eight days (or sixteen lessons) will be devoted to them. The fifteen days (thirty lessons), which remain to complete the month, will continue to be occupied by the exercise of stationary supplings; but, in order that the pupil may learn to combine the strength of his arms, and that of his loins, he will be made to hold at arm s length, progressively, weights of from ten to forty pounds. This exercise will be commenced in the least fatiguing position, the arm being bent, and the hand near the shoulder, and this flexion will be continued to the full extent of the arm. The chest should not be affected by this exercise, but be kept steady in the same position. 

Of the knees.
The strength of pressure of the knees will be judged of, and even obtained, by the aid of the following method : this, which at first sight will perhaps appear of slight importance, will, nevertheless, bring about great results. The instructor will take a narrow piece of leather about twenty inches long; he will place one end of this strap between the pupil s knee and the side of the saddle. The pupil will make use of the force of his knees to prevent its slipping, while the instructor will draw it towards him slowly and progress lively. This process will serve as a dynamometer to judge of the increase of power. The strictest watch must be kept that each force which acts separately does not put other forces in action, that is to say, that the movement of the arms does not influence the shoulders ; it should be the same with the thighs, with respect to the body ; the legs, with respect to the thighs, etc . The displacement and suppling of each part separately being obtained, the chest and seat will be temporarily displaced, in order to teach the rider to recover his proper position without assistance. This will be done as follows : the instructor, being placed on one side, will push the pupil s hip, so that his seat will be moved out of the seat of the saddle. The instructor will then allow him to get back into the saddle, being careful to watch that, in regaining his seat, he makes use of his hips and knees only, in order to make him use only those parts nearest to his seat. In fact, the aid of the shoulders would soon affect the hand, and this the horse ; the assistance of the legs would have still worse results. In a word, in ail the displacements, the pupil must be taught not to have recourse, in order to direct the horse, to the means which keep him in his seat, and vice versa, not to employ, in order to keep his seat, those means which direct the horse.

Here but a month has elapsed, and these equestrian gymnastics have made a rider of a person, who at first may have appeared the most unfit for it. Having mastered the preliminary trials, he will impatiently await the first movements of the horse, to give himself up to them with the ease of an experienced rider.

Baucher belongs to the period of the 2nd Empire - when Napoleon III ruled France and her dominions, and I included two paintings from the famous war when the French gave the final push for the Italian freedom and liberation of the Peninsula from the Austrian Empire and thus allowed the creation of the modern Italian state... right, 'Italy' is only 157 years old - :) while Germany even younger (135 years old)..

Mr. Baucher - on seat p.1

the month of May will end today - what a pity, but then all the wonders of the summer fruits are upon us - strawberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, cherries and other berry fruits...

ad rem, it has been a while since the last visit to the glorious world of the XIX century horsemanship - and present Mr Baucher. part of the French school of horsemanship.

before I turn to this ecuyer I should quote, again, the passage from Xenophon's horsemanship work (this time in Morris H. Morgan translation) on rider's seat-

''When the rider takes his seat, whether bareback or on the cloth, I do not approve of a seat which is as though the man were on a chair, but rather as though he were standing upright with his legs apart. Thus he would get a better grip with his thighs on the horse, and, being upright, he could hurl his javelin more vigorously and strike a better blow from on horseback, if need be. His foot and leg from the knee down should hang loosely, for if he keeps his leg stiff and should strike it against something, he might get it broken; but a supple leg would yield, if it struck against anything, without at all disturbing the thigh. Then, too, the rider should accustom himself to keep his body above the hips as supple as possible; for this would give him greater power of action, and he would be less liable to a fall if somebody should try to pull or push him off.''

Mr. Francois Baucher has never 'visited' this blog hence the time is ripe to rectify this omission and kill two birds with one stone. - from

The seat of the rider. The rider will expand his chest as much as possible, so that each part of his body rests upon that next below it, for the purpose of increasing the adhesion of his buttocks to the saddle; the arms will fall easily by the sides. The thighs and legs must, by their own strength, find as many points of contact as possible with the saddle and the horse s sides; the feet will naturally follow the motion of the legs. You see by these few lines how simple is the rider s seat.
now the lessons on how to obtain a good seat -

This course will make the rider expert, and consequently intelligent. One month will not elapse without the most stupid and awkward recruit being able to seat himself properly without the aid of the word of command. Preparatory lesson (the lesson to last an hour, two lessons daily for a month). The horse is led upon the ground, saddled and bridled. The instructor must take two pupils; one will hold the horse by the bridle, and observe what the other does, that he may be able to perform in his turn. The pupil will approach the horse s shoulder and prepare to mount ; for this purpose he will lay hold of and separate with the right hand, a handful of mane, and pass it into the left hand, taking hold as near the roots as possible, without twisting them ; he will seize the pommel of the saddle with the right hand, the four fingers inside, and the thumb outside; then springing lightly, he will raise himself upon his wrists. As soon as his middle reaches the height of the horse s withers, he will pass the right leg over the croup, without touching it, and place himself lightly in the saddle. This vaulting will tend to make the man active; and he should be made to repeat it eight or ten times, before letting him finally seat him self. The repetition of this exercise will soon teach him the use of his arms and loins.

Exercise in the saddle. (This is a stationary exercise on horseback ; an old, quiet horse to be chosen in preference ; the reins to be knotted, and to hang on his neck.) The pupil being on horseback, the instructor will examine his natural position, in order to exercise more frequently those parts which have a tendency to give way or stiffen. The lesson will commence with the chest. He must expand the chest, and hold himself in this position for some time, without regard to the stiffness which it will occasion
at first. It is by the exertion of force that the pupil will become supple, and not by the abandon so much and so uselessly recommended. A movement at first obtained by great effort, will not require so much force after a while, for he will then have gained skill, and skill, in this case, is but the result of exertions properly combined and employed. What is first done with twenty pounds of force reduces itself afterwards to fourteen, to ten, to four. Skill will be the exertion reduced to four pounds. If we commenced by a less, we would not attain this result. The flexions of the loins will be repeated, allowing the pupil often to let himself down into his natural relaxed position, in order to accustom him to throw his chest quickly into a good position. The body being well placed, the instructor will pass : 1st. To the lesson of the arm, which consists in moving it in every direction, first bent, and afterwards extended ;
2d. To that of the head ; this must be turned right and left without its motions reacting on the shoulders. When the lessons of the chest, arms, and head give a satisfactory result, which ought to be at the end of four days (eight lessons), we will then pass to the pupil s legs.
He will remove one of his thighs as far as possible from the quarters of the saddle; and afterwards replace it with a rotatory movement from without inwards, in order to make it adhere to the saddle by as many points of contact as possible. The instructor will watch that the thigh does not fall back heavily; it should resume its position by a slowly progressive motion, and with out a jerk. He ought, moreover, during the first lesson, to take hold of the pupil's leg, and direct it, to make him understand the proper way of performing this displacement. He will thus save him fatigue, and obtain the result more quickly.
This kind of exercise, very fatiguing at first, requires frequent rests ; it would be wrong to prolong the exercise beyond the powers of the pupil. The motions of drawing in (adduction, which makes the thigh adhere to the saddle), and putting out (abduction, which separates it from the saddle), becoming more easy, the thighs will have acquired a suppleness which will admit of their adhesion to the saddle in a good position. 
Then comes the flexion of the legs. 
 end of part 1

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Gaspar ter Borch - a Dutch Baroque horse and rider

 it is a Spring time in full blood (ok, Northern Hemisphere), horses should spend more time outside if stabled, in a fine pasture-land, nipping and grazing, and train more and more everyday, to return to the last year's fitness level.

Speaking about the stables and corrals, let us travel in time to the fine, golden times of the XVII century Dutch Republic, where in Deventer lived a painter known as Gaspar ter Borch (son of a painter of the same name)  who specialized in genre painting, and he was very good at it :) .
We should note that he started very early,  the piece being the subject of this entry he painted only at 17.
Before we get to the piece this is he in a self-portrait painted at mature age.

Ad rem,
this painting is titled 'Man on Horseback' and portrays an armored but anonymous soldier shown from the rear.
In this image Gaspar is giving us only the rear view of this Dutch (presumably) cuirassier of the 30 years war and his bay mount.
Well, we can study a bit of this and that from the image.
We can see that he is wearing 3/4 armor (a frontal of a 3/4 armor here, a full armor here), with the rear skirts of his buffcoat covering the saddle's cantle. What we can see of the horse-tack is very limited, only the wide, shiny iron stirrup and a bit of a cinch (bark strap ). But his long riding boot is equipped with a nice rowel spur. No crupper to secure the saddle and then our painter gave us a full view of a typical slopping hindquarters of the Baroque horse.

Nota bene our rider is armed with a broadsword in a black scabbard hanging from a shoulder pendent. We cannot see if he has any firearms but most likely  he would have.

more XVII century Baroque Dutch horses from various artists
a horse market by Pieter Wouwerman, brother to Philips.

 military scenes

traveling without a pomp, often dangerously

palfreys and cart horses

ending with a typical Dutch painters' scene of winter merriment and frolics on frozen streams, ponds, and canals when life was so good :)

all images are in Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hubal - Jacek Komuda

mości pan Jacek Komuda, o którego powieściach już się bylem wypowiadałem na blogu, 'popełnił' był nowa powieść historyczna pt 'Hubal' wydaną w kwietniu 2016 roku.

Dla mnie jest to książka o.... koniach i naszych tradycjach... po prostu o byciu Polakiem  w typie staropolskim, którego to staro-Polaka tak chciała i wciąż chce z nas wyciąć komuna.
Podoba mi się, że na kartach pojawia się bardziej niż epizodycznie pułkownik Jerzy Dąmbrowski, słynny zagończyk z 1914-21 Łupaszko, choć może miałem inna wizje jego działań tej smutnej a tragicznej jesieni 1939 roku - może kiedyś powstanie i film, i powieść/komiksy o słynnym Łupaszce który hasał po dawnym Wielkim Księstwie Litewskim niczym Aleksander Lisowski czy Samuel Łaszcz goniąc hiperborejczyków.. Nota bene definitywnie tytuł pierwszego partyzanta II wojny należy się właśnie pułkownikowi Dąmbrowskiemu (przeczytałem biografię zagończyka pióra prof. Strzembosza)
Książka rozpoczyna się w momencie ataku Niemiec na Polskę, wkrótce dochodzi do niej atak Związku Sowieckiego (o okupacjach obydwu można poczytać tutaj), wali się świat II Rzeczpospolitej, nadchodzi czas wilków.... i w duszy to może chciałbym, żeby autor zaczął swa powieść od dziejów młodego Dobrzańskim, o jego I wojnie, o Legionach i o wojnie z Ukraińcami oraz Rosja Sowiecka, ale wtedy ta powieść miałby pewnie 2000 stron, a takie 'nudne tasiemce' tylko może pisać Steven King czy R. R. Martin.
Powieść również posiada pewne elementy 'baśniowe' których ucieleśnieniem jest symboliczny rumak majora 'Bohatyr'.  Ale te elementy, tak często obecne w prozie pana Jacka np w cyklu o Jacku Dydyńskim (czy jak również u mospani Cherezińskiej) w niczym nie zakłócają historycznego charakteru opowieści o majorze Hubalu i jego Hubalczykach.
Książka jest ogromna - ma prawie 800 stron, ale czyta się ją wartko, ba, nawet jednym tchem,  miejscami wstrzymując oddech, a czasem w duszy podśpiewując dumkę ukrainną... eh, sokole ty nasz, majorze Dobrzański.

Szczerze polecam te powieść 'awanturniczą'!
Autor o książce:
Wywiad na TV Republika - tutaj
Wywiad na Bzik - tutaj
Wywiad na Uważam Rze - tutaj
artykuł o szlaku konnym w Łódzkim, wraz z notą biograficzną i spora ilością zdjęć pana majora konno lub z końmi - tutaj
Zdjęcie pośmiertne majora Dobrzańskiego w typie zdjęć w których  lubowali się hitlerowcy i komuniści - zabity bohater i jego niemieccy zabójcy
recenzje i opinie
przy okazji trochę historii via historyczne artykuły z radomskiego 'Radomira' z lat 1980tych;
1. wspomnienia lokalnych mieszkańców z potyczki Hubalczyków z Niemcami nad Radomką z 1 X 1939 roku -

o terrorze niemieckim wobec wsi polskich na terenie działań Wydzielonego Oddziału Wojska Polskiego w 1940tym roku.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hayden expedition and survey photos - by W H Jackson

photos from the XIX century can be astonishing in their clarity and information when comes to horse and rider etc. During the XIX century, when the true  art  of photography was born, Americans were in the forefront of this art and technology.
Most of the photos are still to be digitalized but many are already on line, accessible to anyone with a Internet access.
Wikimedia Commns has a great gallery - Hayden Survey, William H. Jackson, Photographs, compiled 1869 - 1878 - of the American surveyors and explorers of then Wild West.

Veteran of the US Army, explorer and businessman  William Henry Jackson, also a noted painter ( like the image above and here recalling the Great Plains in his art) and photographer, took these images - there are thousand available - during the Dr. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden's expeditions to the Rocky Mountains, including the famous 1871 Yellowstone expedition.
 Bellow W. H. Jackson photographed in 1872
 Dr. Hayden was a veteran of US Army too, and a participant of the numerous surveys and expeditions since the 1850,  the explorer of the Yellowstone River and the leader of the numerous expeditions to the area that led to the establishment of the Yellowstone Park in 1872.

From these photos we get a glimpse of horses and equipment used by the the 1870s American explorers and outfitters during the exploration of the Rocky Mountains etc.