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The Essential Paul Belasik: Riding Towards the Light, Exploring Dressage Technique, and The Songs of Horses Hardcover – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Trafalgar Square Books; Omnibus Ed edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570762120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570762123
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,929,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This combines Belasik's three earlier volumes, Riding Towards the Light, Exploring Dressage Technique, and The Songs of Horses. For Belasik, riding is as much a mental and almost spiritual endeavor as a physical one, and he offers the Zen of equestrianism. Although a bit more cerebral than standard "how-to" guides, this includes practical information as well.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

Paul Belasik wrote the first part of his acclaimed trilogy, Riding Towards the Light, in the late 1980s. It is a compelling account of his personal struggle to discover the ultimate “truths” of classical riding. He traveled thousands of miles to observe the latter–day masters, spent countless hours practicing in the saddle, and researched centuries–worth of equestrian literature seeking the wisdom of the great riding masters of the past. Book Two of the trilogy, Exploring Dressage Technique, was published in 1994 and recounts Belasik’s study of the biomechanics and philosophy of riding and training horses, offering chapters that include A Fog of Walks, The Hovering Trot, and Riding as a Meditation. The author concluded his work of discovery with The Songs of Horses in 1999, in which he uses storytelling to communicate valuable lessons on the art of riding to teachers and pupils. Now, for the first time, this masterful trilogy has been published in single volume. Paul Belasik lives and trains at his farm in Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Paul Belasik is a modern master and a rare horseman who can relate his vast wealth of knowledge to his students as flawlessly as he practices it with his own horses. In his first book of the trilogy, "Riding Toward the Light," Paul shares the story of his apprenticeship in riding, when he learned the trade that he now teaches and shares through writing. THrough his story, the rider learns the foundations of dressage but (more importantly) the way that a rider draws upon experience to build his technique and his philosophy. In the second book, Exploring Dressage Technique, Paul approaches practical training issues and applies theories of biomechanics, his own experience, and the wisdom of the masters to bring the rider an understanding of where problems arise and how to address them. In the final book of the trilogy, "The Songs of Horses," the author teaches by parable, telling seven marvelous stories of lessons learned from unique horsemen and women in various times and places across history. Together, the books express the thought process of a true equestrian artist, teaching a the reader/rider to view horsemanship as a dynamic process, a creative process, and a journey through the self. It's such a pleasurable read that one almost doesn't perceive the wealth of technical and historical information that it provides on every page. This is a must-have for any classical dressage rider's library.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have studied riding dressage whilst living in Europe and it all seemed so harsh. I ride reiners and have found that my joy in riding ANY horse is the journey. It's the experience of the exploration. Mr. Belasik does a brilliant job of offering a path of learning without absolutes of how one HAS to ride. Also he couples these lessons with stories of his own lessons (life and equine) that then weave a wonderful journey of passions with horses and learning. He shows that to do anything well one must seek out masters in many fields. Many times this proves that learning a martial art, zen, and equestrianship all apply to the process. I find this book a most enjoyable read! I would also like to thank Trafalgar Square for such a high quality book. The paper is wonderful and the text/font most readable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carole J. Cox VINE VOICE on March 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This collection of works is written toward understanding a journey as a rider. The true experience of becomeing an equestrian from the inside out will develop the person to the core and as a gift, they will find a more total relationship with the horse. The rider of today is a competitor. Often, they can lose touch with what can be a rich and rewarding experience. Often they do not see what is beneath them or within them. without these realizations, their competitive experience will be retarded and their life experience will be left short.

Last year, I had a bad accident while training a horse. It was my own fault because I had been too ambitious that day in what I expected out of the horse. I succumbed to external pressures and was left broken and out of balance.

I hope to return to some experience with horses. I know that without the guidance I receive from the works of Paul Belasik, I cannot do so. This is about more than riding, it is about the journey of the soul.

Readers who are looking for a book geared more toward classical dressage technique will love "Dressage in the 21st Century". They will be rewarded by rich photographic examples and detailed explanation in another lovely, must have work.

These books belong on the shelf of any dedicated horse person, without regard to their discipline.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has become my favorite. It covers all of the basic elements of Classical Riding and many that are not addressed in most books. Paul Belasik is a warrior-poet AND horseman. I loved the elements of self discovery, meditation, and heart seeking. As a dressage rider that is more interested in the journey and the daily mediation that is my riding time I found this book to speak to me directly.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Vivien Dostine on April 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading the first couple of books in this compendium. I had heard of Paul Belasik but didn't have any great understanding of who he was or what he does. The first book introduces him and gives some background and a lot of self-musings.

The second book, Exploring Dressage Technique, there are some approaches practical training issues based on his own experience and understanding of the masters. He discusses and debates at some length some of the interpretations of various riding aids, especially the seat. There is also some discussion of the problems that may arise and how to address them.

The "Songs..." work didn't strike a chord with me at all - perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind, but it seemed to be a book entirely created out of ego.
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