Bertrand Ravoux: The evolution of horse-riding from the Middle Ages to the present day


Horse-riding is an ancient discipline, and its teaching is constantly evolving. Throughout history, the horse-riding learning process has witnessed major changes.


The objective here is to simply trace the major trends of this evolution, without examining each theory, doctrine or method in detail.


Our limited study begins in the Middle Ages (from the 5th century to the 15th century) for two reasons. Firstly, there are only a few horse-riding manuals from this period, even after the invention of the printing press. Not many people were literate. Secondly, it appears that instruction was not organised as it was from the Middle Ages on.


Hitherto, the horse-riding learning process essentially took place through tournaments. Jousts allowed the courage and bravery of knights to be measured and were the opportunity to prepare for war. It was also a very popular form of entertainment at the time.