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Gallop to Freedom: Training Horses with the Founding Stars of Cavalia Hardcover – October 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The greatest show I've ever seen!"  —Larry King, CNN, on the show Cavalia


"Frédéric and Magali exemplify the art of humane training and illustrate the magical results of what is meant by the human-animal bond. To watch them interact with their horses is breathtaking."  —Karen Rosa, vice president, film & television unit, American Humane


"I believe Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado are two of the finest horsemen in the history of horsemanship. Their unique ability to relate to the hearts and minds of horses has inspired millions of horse lovers who have been awed by their performances in North America and Europe."  —Linda Tellington-Jones, creator, Tellington TTouch



"Seeing Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado work their horses is a joy to behold  . . . We all thank them for letting us, as an audience, get that glimpse of their world."  —Tim Farley, theblackstallion.com



"[Cavalia's] star ‘horse whisperer’and equestrian co-director, Frédéric Pignon, engages in a scene of blissful play with three beautiful white stallions. Of course, I can’t say what’s really going through the horses’ minds, but the impression is one of an intense bond between horses and man—the most emotionally charged moment of the show."  —Los Angeles Times



"When [Frédéric] Pignon simply plays with the horses, he provides some of Cavalia's best moments."  —The Oakland Tribune



"This maybe the ultimate equine coffee-table book that is equally at ease in the barn."  —Trail Blazer


"There is very valuable information here regarding 'reading' your horse and developing a relationship with him based on trust and respect . . . There are many gorgeous color pictures that augment the text, like a miniature coffee-table book. The more you hear this book and reflect on the principles it puts forth, the more valuable you will find it."  —California Riding

About the Author

Frédéric Pignon is an equine performer and the owner of his own stable. He and his wife Magali Delgado worked with Norman Latourelle, the pioneer of the Cirque du Soleil, in the multimedia spectacle Cavalia. Magali Delgado trained under master horsemen Jose Ataide and Carlos Pinto and is a state-certified dressage instructor. She furthered her competitive dressage career through the upper levels representing France and performing in shows such as Cavalia and Passion Cheval.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Trafalgar Square Books; 15918th edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570764204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570764202
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Arthur Sudik on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My wife has been obsessed with horses her entire life. For the forty nine years of our marriage we've lived with her horses. This book has been the validation of all she has believed about the heart and soul of these magnificent animals. If one is a true lover of horses this is your book.
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I recently went to see the performance Cavalia in Atlanta, Ga. and wanted to read the book before seeing the show. I love the philosophy behind the training of the horses used in the performance. Making training fun for the horse leads to a better relationship with it. I came home, tried some liberty work with my Lipizzan and was astounded at the outcome. All I can say is WOW!
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This book is one of three that changed my life with horses! I have spent my whole life riding, training and breeding with a focus on dressage. I found myself questioning the methods and systems that I had learnt over the years from traditional methods (e.g. German training scale) to natural horsemanship methods. The one thing that all these methods have in common is the way to get a response from a horse - that is using pressure. I started to search for a different way.

I remember when I first read the following words found in this book:

"What people do not appreciate is that every time a horse submits to pressure, whether subtle or overt, he is diminished. Probably the great majority of people who achieve their own ends by making their horse submit are not even aware of what they have done. It is a sad fact that a horse can be made to do many things by breaking his will. If he can be persuaded to give his assent freely and pleasurably rather than give into man's pressure or clever techniques, he is not diminished."

This book is not presented to give you methods on how to train your horse, rather it is a way of helping you to change your thinking - hence the "Six Golden Principles". This principles help the reader understand that every horse is unique and should be approached that way.

If you are looking for a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with your horse I encourage you all to read it..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful book by the founders of Cavalia. Beautifully written and great photos. A must have for those of us that practice the art of "Liberty Training" horses or just the novice that wants to understand the horse-human connection.
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It's like an autobiography....yet if you read it carefully and think about what they're saying, you really get a true feel for how they are able to ask their horses to "partner up" (for lack of a better term).

This is not a training play by play. It's not a how to train your horse, or fix your problems...per say...

BUT it is what every single person who owns a horse should be reading and taking to heart.

What I am getting out of reading this book is that there is no magical technique. There are no props (whips, training sticks, halters, etc) that give you the ability to communicate with your horse.

It's just and YOU AND YOUR HORSE.

i.e. time spent with your horse that makes the difference ...to the horse... and in the end, to you and your training/riding time.

That's not time spent lunging, or riding, or whatever....

It's about time spent WITH your horse.

Get to know him or her as an individual AND let the horse get to know you.

When you do that, then you can work together.
Work becomes being together, not work for either the person or the horse.

It's not about riding or ground work...it's about asking and guiding and enjoying...and through that...you get a better ride and get the ground manners and all of that.

What's in this book...is the glue that holds the training together. That makes the training into something more.
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Given that few horsemen would disagree that all living creatures need to be treated with kindness and as individuals, it was disappointing to purchase this book hoping for concrete information. I was hoping for information I could apply to my own horsemanship. I would have loved to have read of their techniques, procedures, schedule and the steps taken to train the horse to perform any given action (for examples, a reverence or sitting. How would they modify their program if an individual horse required it? How would they make that judgement beyond the telepathy they seem to hint at. What are the subtleties they observe (beyond the broad brush of watching the body language and the eye)?

This book strikes me as a vanity or promotional project. I would love to catch the show at some point but that feeling was not strengthened by this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Absolutely fabulous book. A must for every equestrian. I wish it were mandatory reading before any child or adult so much as handles a horse. To see the results of Frédéric and Magali's intelligent approach, all one needs to do is see the beautiful rapport between Frédéric and his stallions during Cavalia. So sad that he is no longer performing with them, as watching him in person with his horses is one of the highlight memories of my life. (Check this out on You-Tube with his beautiful Templado.)

I cringe when I see even so called "trainers" yanking chains and "disciplining" horses, and indeed teaching their students by example to do the same. I wonder how they would react if this were done to them...

Buy it and read it, though you will be tempted just to look at the amazing photos. Buy it and give it to your equestrian, and would-be equestrian friends!
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