Equitation & The Arts was born out of a search for the inner meaning and moral purpose of classical riding as an art. To what end is our art directed?
Traditionally in sixteenth and seventeenth century riding academies, the study of equitation was placed within a broader context of scholarship in the classical arts. The student of academic riding would have engaged in an encyclopaedic curriculum of subjects such as fine art, music, philosophy and dance. Over time, the wisdom and beauty that the rider would have found in these ancient arts became interwoven with the mastery of their horsemanship.
Equestrian masters began to record and share theories of their art by writing treatises and dialogues; a practice that still continues today. These works suggest that a profound moral ethos guided the cultivation of riding in academies. As the rich tapestry of artistic influences crystallised, this ethos found physical embodiment in equestrian ballet. This form of dance contained a complex, nuanced language of expression based on ridden movement to music. It was a language that was used to tell stories, and communicate higher ideas.
This academic pathway for riders, as well as the art of equestrian ballet, is now largely absent from the modern equestrian world. However, it is not yet lost, as we have been left descriptions and images of choreography repertories, musical scores, stories and poetry within historical records. Equitation & The Arts seeks to reconnect with, conserve and transmit the profundity of these artistic traditions, through research, education, and performance; to help reconnect us to the inner meaning of art in classical riding.