Yvonne Barteau Releases Manifesto from Horses’ Perspective

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While you might expect a distinguished equestrian to have grown up immersed in horse culture, this is not the case of the renowned Yvonne Barteau. The expert rider was not even raised with pets. Always the avid reader, her first encounter with an equine beast came from a childhood reading of Anna Sewell’s fictional classic, Black Beauty. Barteau devoured the novel twice within twenty-four hours. From that day forward she was convinced that she, herself, would eventually become a horse trainer.

And so she did. “I worked on the racetracks, rode problem horses, did some jumping, western riding, team penning and have finally settled on dressage and equine theater,” she explained to me. Barteau has entertained audiences across the country, performed at Madison Square Gardens and Equitana, and appeared on the Today Show. It has become a family affair. Her husband, Kim, is also a trainer, and even their children have followed in their parents’ footsteps. Their training facility, about an hour west of Chicago, caters to all experience levels. Together, Yvonne and Kim have prepared more than a dozen horses to compete at the Grand Prix level.

From the United States Dressage Federation, Yvonne Barteau has earned gold, silver, and bronze medals, along with recognition for her interpretive dressage choreography. She is a sought after teacher and performer, and an award-winning writer. Her first book, Ride the Right Horse, details four distinct equine personalities and how to best relate and work with them. Her newest endeavor, The Dressage Horse Manifesto, is a training book written from the horses’ perspective.


“Each horse has a distinct personality, energy level, and innate intelligence—points I go over in my first book. My thought was… ‘what if a group of horses told you how to best train them based on their individual perspective?’” Quite a compelling concept! The following excerpt of The Dressage Horse Manifesto is printed by permission of Trafalgar Square Books.

My name is Luna and I am a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare. I am also chestnut (and yes, you read it right, that does make me a dreaded “chestnut mare”). This fact should not cast me in too bad a light, though, because I also have big floppy ears, which everyone knows is a great thing! And so, the advantages of my ears outweigh any complaints about my color or gender. (At least in my opinion.)

With me, what you see (or feel) is what you get. I am often stiff in my back, neck, poll, and jaw, and I will lean on your hands if you let me. (Best not to let me.) I can also be a bit complacent about the aids, and I have been known to ignore a half-halt or two. (Best to repeat or transition to halt if I don’t listen.) I am generally safe to ride because I am not really afraid of anything. Sure, I have been startled once or twice, but as a rule, “the world” is not a scary place for me, and dressage tests are just part of my “world.”

The Dressage Horse Manifesto: Training Secrets, Insights, and Revelations from 10 Dressage Horses by Yvonne Barteau are due out October 2015, and available at major booksellers, online retailers, and from the publisher at HorseAndRiderBooks.com.

About Alex Grande