When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics - by Beth Baumert (Hardcover)
About this item
Book SynopsisWithin riding exists a fundamental conflict of interest: The rider needs to have control--her confidence depends on her ability to control the balance of her own body as well as that of her very powerful horse. The horse, by nature, needs to feel free--free in both mind and body to express himself through movement. In When Two Spines Align, author Beth Baumert, writer and editor at the equestrian magazine Dressage Today, resolves the freedom-control enigma by taking a close look at the individual components that make up riding and dressage and providing practical ways riders can learn to harness the balance, energies, and forces at play. Readers will discover how to use "positive tension" and their body's "power lines" to become balanced and effective in the saddle. They will then find ways to understand and manage the horse's balance and "coordination challenges." Ultimately, the rider learns to regulate and monitor the horse's rhythm, energy, flexion, alignment, bend, and line of travel by properly aligning her spine with his. When the center of gravity of a balanced rider is over the center of gravity of a balanced horse, that place where two spines align becomes the hub for rider and horse harmony.
From the Back Cover
Within riding there exists a fundamental conflict of interest: The rider needs to have control--her confidence depends on her ability to control the balance of her own body as well as that of her very powerful horse. The horse, by nature, needs to feel free--free in both mind and body to express himself through physical movement. In When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics, author Beth Baumert, writer and editor at the internationally recognized equestrian magazine Dressage Today, resolves the freedom-control enigma by taking a close look at the individual components that make up riding and dressage. Beth provides insight gleaned from years of working with the best riders, trainers, and judges in the dressage world, and details practical ways riders can learn to harness the balance, energies, and forces at play when they're in the saddle. Readers will discover how to use "positive tension" and what the author calls the four physical "Powerlines"--Vertical, Connecting, Spiraling, and Visual--to become balanced and effective in the saddle. Readers will then find ways to understand and manage the horse's balance and coordination challenges, including the fact that he is inherently crooked and naturally inclined to do too much with his front end and not enough with his hind. Ultimately, the rider learns to regulate and monitor the horse's rhythm, energy, flexion, alignment, bend, the height and length of his neck, and, finally, his line of travel by properly aligning her spine with his. When the center of gravity of a balanced rider is directly over the center of gravity of a balanced horse, that place where two spines align becomes the hub for rider and horse harmony--a dynamic and remarkable riding rapport that yields beautiful performance.
"Sometimes when I'm teaching I find myself thinking my student really needs to read Beth Baumert's book. The perspective and the words she's chosen give a welcomed fresh approach to describing the theories behind training."--George Williams, member of the US Dressage Team and President of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) "I absolutely LOVE this book! It grabbed me from the moment I read the words 'perfect balance' and 'that place where two spines meet'--you get such a great visual from this! When teaching, it can be a struggle to help riders who can't seem to balance themselves. This is where author Beth Baumert provides a valuable tool: She explains why the rider's balance is the key to the horse's balance and how a controlled interaction of balance ultimately leads to success and harmony. This book is where the magic begins."--Debbie McDonald, two-time Olympian and USEF Developing Dressage Coach "Beth Baumert and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to horses and dressage training. Now she has created the best guide I've seen for those who really want to grasp the ins and outs of dressage--I've never read a book covering all facets of dressage in this detail. With all that is going on in our sport today, I hope that riders--now and in the future--will pursue dressage as it is described here by Beth."--Henk van Bergen, former Chef d'Equipe of the Dutch National Dressage Team and British National Young Riders Developing Team, and member of the FEI Judges Supervisory Panel "This book is truly timeless. I can humbly admit that it clarified some subject even for me, after a lifetime of being involved with dressage. It is the equivalent of countless clinics given by some of the best in the world."--Axel Steiner, FEI 5* Dressage Judge (retired), USEF "S" Judge, and USDF "L" Program faculty member "Beth Baumert's book is desperately needed. I see many riders going down the wrong road, often because of a dubious understanding of the term 'dressage' and a limited view of its importance. Whatever you are riding--whether hunters, ponies, jumpers--I recommend that you learn about and use dressage in your schooling, if only for reasons of maintaining soundness. I'm lucky that, in my life of riding and teaching, there has never been jumping without flatwork. But that's in my own little world. Today's riders are too consumed with cosmetics and competition. Even riders at the top have somehow lost what the Masters knew centuries ago! Every rider needs to know the basic tenets of dressage, and so I recommend When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics. I can't say enough good about it."--George Morris, former Chef d'Equipe of the US Show Jumping Team "This is a great book! It mirrors what I see in Beth Baumert's students--they all demonstrate a very classical way of riding and training horses. When Two Spines Align: Dressage Dynamics clearly explains the classical foundation of how the rider should balance and sit so that he or she can then educate the horse. Beth has provided a valuable tool for all kinds and levels of riders."--Bo Jena, Chef d'Equipe, Swedish Dressage Team and FEI 4* Judge "[T]he best reason to read When Two Spines Align is that your horse will thank you for it--no matter what your discipline. ... [W]hen you move in true harmony with [your horse] so that it looks as if the movements are his idea--it's the moment we all strive for. This book can help you get there."--Practical Horseman "This is easily the most influential book I have read for a long, long time. ... So many great concepts it is almost overwhelming. HUGE thumbs up--you will love this book."--Behind the Bit Blog
About the Author
Beth Baumert was the initial editor for Dressage Today magazine and later served as its technical editor for nearly 25 years. In that capacity, Beth was in constant contact with the best dressage riders in the world as they discussed and wrote about the technical aspects of dressage. From this depth of knowledge, Beth wrote her first book, When Two Spines Align. It continues to serve as a "bible" for serious dressage riders. A German edition comes out in 2020.
Beth's primary commitment has always been studying dressage and teaching. She has been a USDF Certified Instructor since nearly the inception of the program, and she continues to support the program by hosting annual retreats and encouraging young trainers through the program. She is an "L" graduate with distinction of the USDF judges training program. For many years, she produced videos of the Aachen Dressage Show, as well as other instructional videos/DVDs, so American dressage riders could aspire to the European standard.
Beth is President and CEO of The Dressage Foundation (TDF). She has been involved with the foundation since 2000. The mission of TDF is to cultivate and provide financial support for the advancement of dressage in the United States. To that end, TDF awards grants, scholarships and prizes to promising riders, instructors, trainers, judges and breeders of dressage horses.
Beth and Alan, her husband of more than 50 years, divide their time between Wellington, Florida and Columbia Lake, Connecticut.