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Charles Harris was a Fellow of the Institute of the Horse, and a Fellow of the Association of British Riding Schools. He was the first, and only, English rider to complete the full three-year graduation course at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. He taught, studied and lectured on riding for many years and is the author of many pamphlets, articles and books. Charles Harris died in 2001.
This handsome volume is really two books in one. The first gives an account of the life of an extraordinary man; but the importance of the second cannot be exaggerated. It is a unique contrbution to the literature of the art and science of horsemanship. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna where Charles Harris trained, has a tradition that stretches back over four hundred years. During all that time the cumulative knowledge and experience gained has been passed on by a process whereby, it is said, "the old riders teach the young horses and the old horses teach the young rides". However, very little has ever been written about how this is done. Many books have appeared, some written by former students of international reputation, but none have been able to explain in detail the basic processes of which the daily work consists. "There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse", as Surtees remarked; but in his Workbooks, kept during his three years at the School, Charles Harris successfully shares many of these secrets and affords a practical guide whereby a diligent student may gain for himself some experience and understanding of what the horse can teach the rider and also how best a rider may approach the schooling of a young horse. His sketches and diagrams bring th whole subject to life and demonstrate the truth of the saying that "one picture is worth more than a thousand words".