American Military Horsemanship by Jim Ott

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Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:34 pm

I am extremely pleased to announce that Jim Ottevaere's book, American Military Horsemanship, has been published.

I've had the distinct honor of hearing Jim discuss the military seat, and to read some items generated as he was working on the book. It is first rate. We're luck to have him participate here, and I'm sure that the book will be of great interest to us all.

American Military Horsemanship, ISBN1-4208-5552-2 (soft cover)
American Military Horsemanship, ISBN 1-4208-5551-4 (hard cover)

Available from the publisher @ authorhouse.com

Pat
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Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:41 pm

Pat:

I just ordered it through ABE; maybe this old dog can still learn a thing or two!

Thanks for bringing its availability to my attention.


Regards,

John Ruf
Culpeper, Virginia

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Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham 1852-1936
ConZ

Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:08 am

Gentlemen,

I've been reading your posts with great interest...wonderful to find this kind of expertise and passion for the military horse.

I've ordered Ott's book for myself and my classmate, and look forward to reading it. We grew up in the "Military Seat" together, both having had old Cavalry colonels give us instruction through our school years. We do mostly cross country riding and jumping, just for fun, in all kinds of weather and terrain, and the balanced seat is perfect for our needs.

Glad to have found a new forum...I pretty much exhausted my old Civil War forums. <g>

Clair

"No Horses, No Cavalry, No Honor..."
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Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:34 pm

I have been reading Jim Ottevaere’s book “American Military Horsemanship.” As he notes, the “Military Seat” developed and refined by the Cavalry School at Fort Riley became the foundation of the modern American way of riding (i.e. the so called English style). An interesting question is how this happened. An important influence was the writings of graduates of the school, other horse cavalry officers, and their students. I have listed below several books from my collection:





The American Jumping Style, George H. Morris, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1993
Sections on the seminal influence of the Cavalry School on the American riding style


The Cavalry Manual of Horsemanship and Horsemastership...Education of the Rider, ed. Gordon Wright, ill. Sam Savitt, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY 1962
Wright was WWII grad of Cav School, abridgement of Part 1 Horsemanship & Horsemastership

Elementary Horsemanship, Ford E. Young, Jr., Franklin Press, Gaithersburg, MD 1949
manual by WWII grad of Cav School

From Corral to Championship, Maj. Gen Perry B. Griffith, (Ret) Charger Productions, Capistrano Beach, CA 1980
1940 Grad Adv. Equitation Class, Cav School

Horse Training Out-Door and High School, E. Beudant, Intro. By Lt. Col. John A. Barry US Cav (translator), Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, London 1931, several pictures of US Cav officers riding at Ft. Riley

Horseback Riding, Frederick L. Devereux, JR., Franklin Watts, NY 1976
grad of Cav School

Horsemanship For Beginners; Riding, Jumping, and Schooling, Jean Slaughter, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1952, introduction by Colonel John W. Wofford, Team Captain, U.S. Equestrian Team

Horsemastership, Margaret Cabell Self, A.S. Barnes and Company, NY 1952, description of military seat

Learning to Ride Hunt and Show, Gordon Wright, ill. By Sam Savitt, Garden City Books, Garden City, NY 1960
horsemanship book by WWII grad of Cav School

Reflections on Riding and Jumping, Winning Techniques for Serious Riders, William Steinkraus, Trafalgar Square Publishing, revised edition 1997, WWII grad of enlisted riding Sch. Ft. Riley

Riding, Benjamin Lewis, The Garden City Publishing Co., Inc. NY 1939, introduction by Col. John K. Brown (former horsemanship instructor at Cav School)

Riding and Driving, E.L. Anderson and P. Collier, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1905
Section with pictures on visit to School of Application for mounted service, Fort Riley under Capt. W. C. Short

Riding and Schooling Horses, Harry D. Chamberlin, Armored Cavalry Journal Press, Wash., DC, 1947 ed.
Cavalry School horsemanship instructor

Training Hunters, Jumpers, and Hacks, Brig Gen Harry D. Chamberlin,
Arco Publishing, NYC 2nd Ed, Third Printing 1978
Cav School Horsemanship instructor
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Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:38 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Philip S</i>
<br />I have been reading Jim Ottevaere’s book “American Military Horsemanship.” As he notes, the “Military Seat” developed and refined by the Cavalry School at Fort Riley became the foundation of the modern American way of riding (i.e. the so called English style). An interesting question is how this happened. An important influence was the writings of graduates of the school, other horse cavalry officers, and their students. I have listed below several books from my collection:





The American Jumping Style, George H. Morris, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1993
Sections on the seminal influence of the Cavalry School on the American riding style


The Cavalry Manual of Horsemanship and Horsemastership...Education of the Rider, ed. Gordon Wright, ill. Sam Savitt, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY 1962
Wright was WWII grad of Cav School, abridgement of Part 1 Horsemanship & Horsemastership

Elementary Horsemanship, Ford E. Young, Jr., Franklin Press, Gaithersburg, MD 1949
manual by WWII grad of Cav School

From Corral to Championship, Maj. Gen Perry B. Griffith, (Ret) Charger Productions, Capistrano Beach, CA 1980
1940 Grad Adv. Equitation Class, Cav School

Horse Training Out-Door and High School, E. Beudant, Intro. By Lt. Col. John A. Barry US Cav (translator), Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, London 1931, several pictures of US Cav officers riding at Ft. Riley

Horseback Riding, Frederick L. Devereux, JR., Franklin Watts, NY 1976
grad of Cav School

Horsemanship For Beginners; Riding, Jumping, and Schooling, Jean Slaughter, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1952, introduction by Colonel John W. Wofford, Team Captain, U.S. Equestrian Team

Horsemastership, Margaret Cabell Self, A.S. Barnes and Company, NY 1952, description of military seat

Learning to Ride Hunt and Show, Gordon Wright, ill. By Sam Savitt, Garden City Books, Garden City, NY 1960
horsemanship book by WWII grad of Cav School

Reflections on Riding and Jumping, Winning Techniques for Serious Riders, William Steinkraus, Trafalgar Square Publishing, revised edition 1997, WWII grad of enlisted riding Sch. Ft. Riley

Riding, Benjamin Lewis, The Garden City Publishing Co., Inc. NY 1939, introduction by Col. John K. Brown (former horsemanship instructor at Cav School)

Riding and Driving, E.L. Anderson and P. Collier, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1905
Section with pictures on visit to School of Application for mounted service, Fort Riley under Capt. W. C. Short

Riding and Schooling Horses, Harry D. Chamberlin, Armored Cavalry Journal Press, Wash., DC, 1947 ed.
Cavalry School horsemanship instructor

Training Hunters, Jumpers, and Hacks, Brig Gen Harry D. Chamberlin,
Arco Publishing, NYC 2nd Ed, Third Printing 1978
Cav School Horsemanship instructor

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

One thing really notable on Jim's book is that it includes as appendices text from various period Army manuscripts and, as a supplement, Part One, Education of the Rider, from the Army's Horsemanship and Horsemastership. The 1930 Military Seat Manuscript authored by those introducing the forward seat to the Army is included. And, in addition to that, the Education of the Rider text is an improvement on the Army's original, in that it includes the excellent depictions form the Field Artillery's manual on Elementary Mounted Instruction, which also featured the military seat.

People have often asked about the Army's miltiary seat texts here on the forum before, and now they are included in a really nice handy improved format.

Pat
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Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:30 pm

American Military Horsemanship is an interesting and easy read that nevertheless packs some scholarly wallop on the subject of the evolution of military horsemanship in the United States. It is an imortant topic that has heretofore been untouched in anything like a thorough manner. There is much written about tactics, gear, and soldiers, but little that would tell us how those dragoons, mounted rifles, and cavalrymen actually rode the tens of thousands of miles of scouts and engagements that made up cavalry life. Jim Ottevaere not only tells us how is was, he guides us through the changes in thinking that took place as the cavalry matured and adapted to North American conditions -- or, interestingly in come cases how change came in fits and starts as new ideas took hold, were rejected, and took hold again. He also shows how military saddles adapted to, or held back change. Of special interest is the debate that raged abound the venerable McClellan saddle.

Not many Americans are aware that US cavalry horsemanship and tactics were from the early Dragoons through the brown-shoe Army not only influenced by, but copied directly from the French, through almost word-for-word translations. Even fewer know that the basis of the best of modern cross-country and eventing technique was developed by Americans at Ft. Riley, Kansas in the waning years of the cavalry, by some world class Army horsemen who took the best of the French and Italian schools and added some distinctive improvements. Even the better informed often believe that the great Italian Frederico Caprilli somehow influenced major change on these shores. American Military Horsemanship sets the record straight.

The book is well illustrated throughout diagrams taken from rare period texts and never before published photos from the author's extensive private collection.

AS A SPECIAL BENEFIT, extensive excerpts of several military horsemanship manuscripts and manuals dating from the early 19th century through the end of the cavalry are included as appendices, as is the full text of the cavalry manual Horsemanship and Horsemastership (education of the rider).



Joe
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Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:32 am

Joe,
Amazon (on the link supplied by Pat) says the book has no reviews so far. You could post your own. It would be of interest to prospective buyers.
Bob Wood

Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:10 pm

I find “American Military Horsemanship” to be very informative and enjoyable. I am not a historian or collector, as many here seem to be. I was, for example, very interested to learn of the existence of the 1914 Drill Regulations that were never approved. I had never heard of this attempt to refine US military horsemanship. That information, provided in great detail, about the potential rising of US horsemanship standards pre WWI makes me to wonder where we might be as an equestrian nation today if the 1914 Regulations had been approved and implemented.

The information on the practical Balanced or Military seat, particularly like that on pages 61 through 63, is very clear and succinct. It describes the modern application of the Ft. Riley horsemanship principles today, as I understand them. I therefore found the book both historically fascinating with lots of contemporary application for today’s student of riding. The generous appendix information will be of particular help to students, most of whom are women and girls these days, who probably would not otherwise search military manuals for the valuable information contained in this book. I plan to recommend the book to my students.
Bob Wood

Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:44 pm

I see booklists posted here from time to time. The one above is a good one in my experience and opinion. It has very practical books on learning to ride using the Military or Balanced Seat.

The only “must read author”, in my opinion, not included is Vladimir Littauer. Second to Chamberlin, I personally hold him in the highest regard. His COMMONSENSE HORSEMANSHIP is a good book to begin with when exploring Littauer.

At the risk of appearing overly detailed, I must add a cautionary note to the mention of George H. Morris in a list of Military or Balanced Seat authors. Thankfully the specific reference to “Sections on the seminal influence of the Cavalry School on the American riding style” limits the recommendation of Morris’ work. I do however point to this reference because I truly believe that casual readers of the Morris’ techniques can be lead far astray from the traditional Military or Balanced Seat, the preservation of which is a major direction of this forum.

Lastly, if a reader and riding student can get their hands on a copy of “Horse Training Out-Door and High School” by E. Beudant, they are lucky indeed. Not only should this book be studied for its content on horsemanship, but for its refreshingly irreverent attitude toward the impossibly technical methods of how riding is sometimes taught. Beudant is both a horseman and a humorist.
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Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:49 pm

Bob:

Did you not once also recommend a book called Cavaletti, by an author I forgot to note?

Joe
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Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:40 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Joseph Sullivan</i>
<br />American Military Horsemanship is an interesting and easy read that nevertheless packs some scholarly wallop on the subject of the evolution of military horsemanship in the United States. It is an imortant topic that has heretofore been untouched in anything like a thorough manner. There is much written about tactics, gear, and soldiers, but little that would tell us how those dragoons, mounted rifles, and cavalrymen actually rode the tens of thousands of miles of scouts and engagements that made up cavalry life. Jim Ottevaere not only tells us how is was, he guides us through the changes in thinking that took place as the cavalry matured and adapted to North American conditions -- or, interestingly in come cases how change came in fits and starts as new ideas took hold, were rejected, and took hold again. He also shows how military saddles adapted to, or held back change. Of special interest is the debate that raged abound the venerable McClellan saddle.

Not many Americans are aware that US cavalry horsemanship and tactics were from the early Dragoons through the brown-shoe Army not only influenced by, but copied directly from the French, through almost word-for-word translations. Even fewer know that the basis of the best of modern cross-country and eventing technique was developed by Americans at Ft. Riley, Kansas in the waning years of the cavalry, by some world class Army horsemen who took the best of the French and Italian schools and added some distinctive improvements. Even the better informed often believe that the great Italian Frederico Caprilli somehow influenced major change on these shores. American Military Horsemanship sets the record straight.

The book is well illustrated throughout diagrams taken from rare period texts and never before published photos from the author's extensive private collection.

AS A SPECIAL BENEFIT, extensive excerpts of several military horsemanship manuscripts and manuals dating from the early 19th century through the end of the cavalry are included as appendices, as is the full text of the cavalry manual Horsemanship and Horsemastership (education of the rider).



Joe
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Joe's done a really nice synopsis here.

One thing I'd add, is that the inclusion of the manuscript and manuals is particularly effective and attractive. They are techically appedices, but they work out to be more than that. Jim's text places the manuals and manuscripts in their proper historic context, and for the first time, the manuals and manuscript are provided together, and in context.

In my view, this book effectively replaces the single copy reprints of Horsemanship and Horsemastership that are in print, and eliminates the need to pick up a text like the Field Artillery Elementary Mounted Instruction from used booksellers, or ebay. I have both the Cavalry manuals and the Field Artillery manual, and I'd have skipped them had Joe's book been in print at the time I acquired them.

Pat
Bob Wood

Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:51 pm

This is the Amazon link to the Klimke book on Cavaletti work: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158574 ... e&n=283155

The original “Cavaletti” book was by her father Reiner Klimke, but that early edition lacked the updated photos and improved diagrams of this newer edition by his daughter. To reference again as an example pages 61 through 63 on intermittent use of collection in “American Military Horsemanship”, this book ”Cavaletti” is sort of ground work will develop a true balanced seat, in the most practical sense, of the intermittent use of collection described in Jim Ottevaere's book.

Reiner Klimke, while being a first rate dressage rider, was originally an eventing rider with a background in practical/military based riding.

It is my long held belief that the true power and uniqueness of the US Military or Balanced seat is its unusual ability to allow a rider to move seamlessly between balance in the irons and balance in the seat. This range of balance requires a contemporary rider to study both dressage riders/writers like Klimke, and jumpers like William Steinkraus. The “living” military seat, if you will, requires riders to continue to look at contemporary riders as they evolved the military seat of the 1930s. However, in doing so, it is extremely important that we do not digress from the work of masters like Chamberlin and others, who clearly set a standard that is nearly impossible to surpass, if only because none of us today have the time or the mounts to effectively further their work.
Bob Wood

Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:49 am

[quote]<i>Originally posted by Bob Wood</i>
<br />This is the Amazon link to the Klimke book on Cavaletti work: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158574 ... e&n=283155

The original “Cavaletti” book was by her father Reiner Klimke, but that early edition lacked the updated photos and improved diagrams of this newer edition by his daughter. To reference again as an example pages 61 through 63 on intermittent use of collection in “American Military Horsemanship”, this book ”Cavaletti” contains the sort of ground work exercises that will develop a true balanced seat, in the most practical sense, by using the intermittent collection described in Jim Ottevaere's book.

Reiner Klimke, while being a first rate dressage rider, was originally an eventing rider with a background in practical/military based riding.

It is my long held belief that the true power and uniqueness of the US Military or Balanced seat is its unusual ability to allow a rider to move seamlessly between balance in the irons and balance in the seat. This range of balance requires a contemporary rider to study both dressage riders/writers like Klimke, and jumpers like William Steinkraus. The “living” military seat, if you will, requires riders to continue to look at contemporary riders as they evolved the military seat of the 1930s. However, in doing so, it is extremely important that we do not digress from the work of masters like Chamberlin and others, who clearly set a standard that is nearly impossible to surpass, if only because none of us today have the time or the mounts to effectively further their work.
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Fri Jan 13, 2006 7:29 pm

Jim:

I just finished reading your book, and I have to say thank you.

Excellent scholarship, and you make observations and points that I would never have realized on my own.

Even though I was familiar with much of the raw data, you have made sense of it all, and imbued it with a deeper meaning.

The book is in a position of honor in my "ready reserve" bookshelf, within reach of my desk.

Now if I could only translate my new-found understanding into improved horsemanship, I would be complete!

Regards,

John Ruf
Culpeper, Virginia

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Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:55 am

Jim-

GOt your book and basically devoured it! Excellent stuff- you did an excellent job at bringing clarity to something that's been a bit of a mystery, at least for me, for awhile. I also like your systematic examination of the various manuals and training doctrines that the US Army employed in cavalry and it really helped me make sense of everything.

However, I do believe that this book's importance is more than simply discussing the military seat, but rather it gives a view of the "nuts and bolts" (pardon the pun) of the cavalryman and his training and how this was viewed.

Now I have more things to think about when I ride!

Adam Lid
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Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:34 pm

Jim has taken an extremely complex subject that is scattered through history, and turned it into the most comprehensive and sensible explanation of Military Horsemanship/Horsemastership I have ever read.

This is a must have book for collectors of the art of military riding and for serious students of horsemanship. What Podhajsky did for Dressage, Jim has done for Military Riding.

Jim, my hat is off to you. Damn good work!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards,
Ron Smith
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Fri Feb 10, 2006 5:29 am

My copy came in last night. I plan on getting into it this weekend.

Phil Gibbons
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Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:35 pm

There was a comment in there regarding the double bridle/ bit & bradoon being popular with civilian "trail riders" before being adopted the by the military. I've been leafing back through, trying to find it, but I can't remember exactly where I saw it. Anyone remember where it is?
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Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:12 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Dave J.</i>
<br />There was a comment in there regarding the double bridle/ bit & bradoon being popular with civilian "trail riders" before being adopted the by the military. I've been leafing back through, trying to find it, but I can't remember exactly where I saw it. Anyone remember where it is?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

Hmmm, I don't recall anything like that.

There is an old thread on bit and bradoon I'll bump up when I get a chance, but what I think it will reveal is that use of hte bit and bradoon was at least realtively common in military and civlian circles in the US at least as early as the Revolution. Of course, the military circles were the civilian circles at that time. The Army retained the use of bit and bradoon up until just before the Civil War, and it was dropped during the Civil War, altough some officers continued to use bit and bradoon. It re entered US service in the 20th Century.

Pat
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Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:49 am

Ahhh ha! I found it on page 134.

"Bit and bridoon is a term applied to the curb and snaffle used in combination, in which BIT refers to the curb, and BRIDOON to the snaffle. Not only is it the standard type for military service, but it also is the one most frequently used for park riding, cross country riding, schooling and training horses, and playing polo."

That would be an excerpt out of "Horsemanship and Horsemastership"

Was a double bridle that frequently used for park, and cross country riding during that time period?
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