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The Rules of Riding

by
Federico Grisone

Federico Grisone published Gli ordini di cavalcare (The Rules of Riding) in 1550, the first manual on manège riding, the ancestor of modern dressage. The Ordini codified a half-century of oral tradition of teaching this art and was a best seller and a welcome aid in educating noblemen at European courts in the art of the manège. Elizabeth Tobey and Federica Brunori Deigan have prepared the first modern edited English translation of the Ordini, which should interest Renaissance scholars and equestrians, and includes an introductory essay, a glossary of equestrian terms, and the transcription of the 1550 Italian first edition.

Grisone's treatise and the riding masters trained at his riding academy in Naples, Italy, spread the practice of the art of manège riding to courts throughout Europe. Twenty-three Italian editions of the text were published between 1550 and 1620 and the treatise was translated into French, English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Many of the concepts Grisone discusses in his treatise--such as developing contact between horse and rider and collection in the horse--are still major tenets of modern dressage riding. The haute école or High School movements of classical dressage are still practiced today by such traditional academies such as the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.