Chazot Thoughts


Jean Luc Cornille

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn” Alwin Toffer

Until I read Alwin Toffer quote, I did not fully understand his comment. He entered the barn this morning thinking, “The line is in bad hands; these illiterate don’t have enough knowledge to apply it.” He was referring to a quotation that he wrote a few years ago. “The rider’s hands are not there to control the horse but to feel the horse’s thoughts,” Recently, Helyn placed the quote on a picture of me. I like the thought since, is exactly how we communicate during our training sessions. The sentence is not simply beautiful. It is the title of a totally new riding and training philosophy. Imposters usurped the phrase because they liked it, but if they are not ready to evolve, the practical application of the thought will be a failure.

When he told me than that not only they stole the line but they also changed the picture, it was my turn to be annoyed; this is my best profile. Beside, this quote belongs to this picture. The lightness of the hands contact with the bit is the outcome of authentic balance control and such body control can only be achieved updating riding and training techniques to advanced understanding of our vertebral column mechanism. Peoples like pertinent thoughts but they want to believe that pertinent discoveries can be integrated to old techniques.

It is not the first time that they have to deal with such indecency. It was a trainer who promoted a different technique using pictures taken during lessons with him and publishing the exact copy of one of his studies. Helyn and he regularly allow sharing of their pictures and thoughts asking simply in return that they give credit. Why, instead, some trainers and riders take the route of dishonesty, poor ethic, low decency and lack of integrity? He answered, “Because they don’t want to unlearn and relearn. Alwin Toffer is absolutely right. They rather stay illiterate. They don’t want face the thought that principles created decades and centuries ago may have to be reconsidered, that the meaning of the same words might be very different in the light of new knowledge. In their mind, they protect the wisdom of classical education when in reality, they betray it. Most classic authors were precursors; they were ahead of their time. Most classic authors closely followed the evolution of scientific knowledge. Colonel Danloux wrote in 1939, ‘It does not demean an art to try to maintain it in agreement with science.’ Some even discovered phenomenon or principles that were scientifically explained decades or centuries later. Illiterates do not protect classical views; they protect their reluctance of evolving

Etienne Beudant (1863-1949) was a precursor. “Obtain lightness; place the horse in a position appropriate for the movement; request; let the horse execute.” (Dressage du cheval de Selle) The though was a considerable evolution from the belief that repeating the movement would educate the body. 1949 was the year where General Decarpentry published, “Academic Equitation.” The general consensus was at this time that equine athletic training was about restoring natural reflexes. “The first aim of academic equitation is to restore to the mounted horse the gracefulness of attitudes and movements which he possessed when he was free. But which becomes marred by the weight and interference of the rider” (L’equitation Academique, 1949)  Instead, Beudant had already understood that natural reflexes were too primitive. “Place the horse in a position appropriate for the movement,” introduces the thought that dressage movements demand a specific coordination of the horse’s physique. Beudant talks about a position appropriated for the movement. Equine researches have since moved far beyond postures.

Equine athletic performances are dynamic phenomenon for which the horse’s physique has to be sophistically orchestrated. This is true at superficial level such as proper correlation between transversal rotation and lateral bending of the thoracolumbar spine. This is true at a deeper level such as bones, muscles and tendons. This is true at a more sophisticated level such creation, storage and reuse of elastic strain energy. This is true at macroscopic level. “Recent advances in molecular biology have focused our attention on the importance of molecular factors in tissue development. Yet, there are other regulatory signals such as mechanical stresses that are equally critical for control of tissues form and function. This is perhaps most evident in orthopedics where it is well known that muscles and bone actively remodel in response to change in exercise or altered gravity as experienced in spaceflight. However, mechanoresponsiveness is actually a fundamental feature of all living tissues. Experiments with cultured cells confirm that mechanical stresses can directly alter many cellular processes, including signal transduction, gene expression, growth, differentiation, and survival. (…) To understand this process of mechanoregulation, we must take into account that living organisms, such as man, are constructed from tiers of systems within a system within a system.”  (Christopher S. Chen and Donald E. Ingber. Tensegrity and mechanoregulation: from skeleton to cytoskeleton, 1999) This existence of discreet network within discreet networks in bones, cartilages, tendons and ligaments optimizes their structural efficiency as well as energy absorption.

The fact that organisms such as humans as well as equines are constructed from tiers of systems within a system within a system, underlines the need for greater involvement of the horse’s central nervous system, the brain. Efficient coordination of the horse physique cannot be achieved submitting the horse to the rider’s aid. Efficient education is about creating an environment that encourages the horse’s mind to figure the coordination of all the systems optimally adapted to the athletic demand of the performances. This is what the science of motion is about, a true partnership that respects, stimulates and guides the horse mental processing. This is how pictures of lightness, serenity and confidence in motion, can be taken. They are not staged to make peoples believe into a partnership which does not exist. They are instants of any regular training session.

Jean Luc Cornille