Italian Cavalry School through old photographs, 1906

In the first decades of the 20th century, the Italian Cavalry School at Tor di Quinto near Rome – along with the French Cavalry School in Saumur – was the leading institution for equestrianism in the world. Tor di Quinto was probably the leading academy for advanced cross-country riding.

The Italian Cavalry School was absolutely state-of-the-art, their style revolutionizing cavalry cavalry around the world. Before them, the dominant riding style was to ride vertically in a martial and rigid posture, which negated all the fluidity of the horse.

The Italian Cavalry School completely shaped their style around the horse, with their chief officer studying how horses jump without a rider and adapt to it rather than vice versa.

The old jumping seat involved riders, using long stirrups, pushed their feet in front of him, and his body leaned back, pulling the reins, as the horse carried the fence.

This position had serious problems, first and foremost because the horse was uncomfortable hitting it in the mouth at every obstacle. This placed the rider's weight directly on the horse's back, and pushed the rider back into motion, causing his center of gravity to shift behind the horse's.

Italian famous equestrian Federico Caprilli examined horses' free jump (without tack or rider), using photographs to document their size on fences, and found that they always landed on their forearms.

He then developed his theory on the position the rider should take over a fence: one that would not interfere with the horse's jumping motion and, most importantly, one that would not touch the horse's mouth.

Caprilli also wanted to train a horse that could think for itself without needing the rider's guidance and did not like "spot" jumping, where the rider tried to add or lengthen the horse's stride before the fence. Was.

The horse was allowed to lengthen its stride, rather than approach the fence in a very collected, stern manner. The rider was placed more forward at all times, including flat, so that his body reflected the longer frame of the horse, and the stirrup was shortened so that the seat could easily hover over the saddle with the thigh and lower leg. Providing assistance to the rider.

Over the fence, the rider put his seat out of the saddle, leaned forward slightly, and allowed his hands to follow the horse's mouth.

Their center of gravity was placed directly above the horses, making the jump as easy as possible. On landing, the rider remained slightly forward instead of leaning back like in the old seat.

Caprilli's position made the horses more willing to jump over obstacles, now that they were free of interference. However, his "rebellion" against "classic" status caused him to lose his position as a lieutenant in the Italian cavalry, and he was no longer allowed to train cavalry units and was sent to southern Italy.

Fortunately, the Italian military chief tried Caprilli's methods with great success years later and restored Caprilli to the famous equestrian schools of northern Italy, Tor di Quinto and Pinarolo.

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