Julie Cavanagh writes for Weekender Notes
Photo: Nicki Stuart
Those not directly connected to the equestrian world may not know the name Tom Roberts, but anyone who owns, rides, or has ever been involved with, horses will have been touched in some way by his teachings on horse control.
Tom Roberts, Australia’s Master Trainer, said to his pupils:
“You have to learn to SIT STILL and not urge the horse until he needs it – and THEN make him notice and again SIT STILL. None of you can do this and you must determine to master this trifle… This is the task I set you between this class and the next. Can you produce a horse next time that gives the onlooker the impression that he needs lightly holding rather than constant driving?… Will you have learnt to constantly attend to your horse so that you recognise IMMEDIATELY the slightest change of pace or tempo, then apply the necessary aids? And will you have taught your horse to attend and ACT INSTANTLY on the indications you give? Can you?? We’ll see!!”
"This is the most wonderful short and easy to absorb read of plain good horse sense, a commodity which is in danger of being lost to the poor horse, as this speed-communicating generation develops ever more its addiction to instant gratification."
Lucinda Green, M.B.E., Eventing World Champion (team and individual), twice European Champion, Silver Olympic medallist, six times winner of Badminton Horse Trials.
Book review by Dr Georgina Downey: Tom Roberts ‘Go forward, dear’ -A horseman’s life and legacy. Written for Horse SA by Dr Andrew McLean and Nicki Stuart.
Dr Georgina Downey is a Visiting Research Fellow in Art History at the University of Adelaide. Dr Downey is a historian of Australian and European art. Her PhD (2005) focussed on the work of expatriate woman artists who left Adelaide for Paris in the early years of last century. She has published widely on visual and material cultures around the domestic interior in art, and her recent books include Domestic Interiors: Representing Home from the Victorians to the Moderns, (Berg 2013) and Designing the French Interior: the Modern home and Mass Media, (Bloomsbury 2015). She’s given a paper at the Australasian Animals Studies Conference on how we might use equine and equitation science to re-read famous images of horses through art history. She’s a keen local (SA) dressage rider who competes at Advanced with ‘Classic’ (pictured) in...