«La Guérinière "classique" chez Manoel Carlos de Andrade et Ludwig von Hünersdorf. Aperçus sur l'histoire de la communauté et des divergences des équitations d'école des Grandes Ecoles»

(La Guérinière, the "great classic", in the works of Manoel Carlos de Andrade and Ludwig von Hünersdorf. Remarks on the history of the communality and the divergences of "classical" riding at the four Great Academies)

Paper and presentation (in French) at the meeting of the four Great Schools of Classical Riding (Vienna, Saumur, Lisbon, Jerez de la Frontera), Paris, November 24, 2007, at the 11th Colloquium of  the E.N.E. (Ecole nationale d'équitation)

    In the discourse of riding, "classical" is often meant as, or assumed to be, a categorial notion and used as a legitimation for a presumably unassailable, because reputedly "traditionally pure" authority. But the classicisms of the Great Academies  are culturally and historically determined forms. Their shared reference to La Guérinière and their affirmation, by each School with their respective emphasis, of being the "guardians" and the "pure descendants" of his heritage must not distract attention from the fact that their "classical" practices differ. Already in the very first generations following the life of the French Master, such differences are present in the works of the great authors and masters of these Schools.

    M. C. de Andrade and L. von Hünersdorf, contemporaries and - the one in Lisbon, the other in Vienna - of equal importance and authority,  are exemplary of different forms of the development of the idea of "pure classicism".  Both are invoked as representatives of an assumedly unbroken lineage, yet both authors already define fundamentals which deviate from La Guérinière and which, in that their "versions" differ, give rise to the further development of divergent practices of "classical" riding. These differences are discernable in their writing and must be taken into account for a critical understanding of the historical genesis of the traditions of the Schools. To not do so would be equivalent to succumbing to an unfounded illusion of a "unified classicism".

    Analyzing a few selected aspects of the works of these authors, I attemp to indicate some of the deep-rooted differences between the "classical" practices of Vienna and of Lisbon, as they have demonstrably existed since the end of the 18th century.

    Tradition, then, is not simple transmission but rather a mediation, an interpretation. The forms of manège-riding of the two Schools are, without doubt, similar in intention but the nuances in interpretation and integration of La Guérinière in Vienna and in Lisbon have had a determining influence on the orientations in these institutions' practices and have led to (though subtle) profound differences. They are different forms of "classical" riding - differing from La Guérinière and different the one from the other.

    The issues of "schools of thought" in riding, of cultural differences and particularities, and the problems of "classical" riding in Modernity "at large", are of considerable complexity. Interesting though they undoubtedly be as "academic" questions, these are matters which concern the very heart of everyday practical horsework! I am always available for practice-focussed clinics or theory-oriented seminars. 



    Riding & Reading Copyright © 2009 Christian Kristen von Stetten.   Website by Equine Design Graphics