Charles Harris was the first and only Englishman to complete the full three-year graduation course at The Spanish Riding School in Vienna. He spent a lifetime practising, teaching and studying what was for him “the most fascinating of all recreational activities, one which exercises mind and body in a way which has no equal—horse riding”. I quote from the cover of his brilliant book, Fundamentals of Riding, (published by J. A. Allen & Co. in 1985). He was a great equestrian scholar, and he defined equestrian scholarship as “to possess the knowledge and skills successfully to carry out the desired requirements with the minimum of force and effort.” Charles Harris – A Personal Memoir By Walter Carrington
I was reminded of Charles Harris when reading the attached article from TheHorse.com. Thirty years ago I went with friends to a demonstration he gave at Bunny Hill Riding School, Costock, Loughborough, where he had accepted a challenge to ride “difficult” horses boxed into the yard by their despairing owners. He began by lunging each horse until it responded to his quiet expertise. He then mounted and we watched with awe as, one after the other they relaxed beneath him. With a straight back he rode as one with each horse, with no perceptible movement of hands, legs or body. They responded in ways only dreamed of by their owners.
I have never forgotten the stern warning he gave about lunging horses. He said that no-one should lunge a horse unless they had been trained by an expert as the risk of serious damage to horse and owner was significant when lunging was attempted by the untrained. He was so adamant about this that I never lunged my horses, fearing to harm them by my inexperience.
Click on the following link to read the excellent article from TheHorse.com to read why Charles Harris’s warning remains valid. Scroll down to read the expert advice on how to lunge your horse safely and the surfaces to avoid injuring your horse whilst exercising or training in this way.