Federico Caprilli, The Natural System and Forward Riding


"Caprilli jumping horse over a chair"

Federico Caprilli demonstrating the jump in his "Natural System" of Forward Riding.

Just completed my article “Federico Caprilli, The Natural System and Forward Riding – The Importance of remembering it’s Military Origins”.

Federico Caprilli’s main goal was to create an entirely new system of military equitation based upon efficiency and in consideration of the horse’s nature. His theories were largely based upon the concept that the rider should accommodate the nature of the horse and not change it to suit the rider.

Caprilli’s student Piero Santini seems to imply through his riding that Caprilli’s actual goal was to create a system of forward riding mainly for the purposes of competition. Reading Caprilli’s own words, we can see that the only goal was to create a better system of military equitation:

It is my increasing opinion for reasons easy to understand that the purpose of military equitation is to train men and horses in the shortest amount of time possible, to obtain from them maximum effectiveness and maximum speed in a way that promotes the temperament and physique of both and to do so with less waste of resources.

    Horses above all else must be trained to military purposes as it is the intent that cavalry is to be used in actions of war: both horse and rider must be familiar with rugged terrain and varying conditions so they both can be calm in the face of difficulties. It is therefore appropriate that training exercises are rational and continuous to promote the required boldness in both the horse and rider.

So, the purpose of military riding lies in good performance in the field.

The traditional system believes that a soldier is best served by a horse trained by methods which desire to modify the horse’s balance, head position, natural movement of the joints and based upon the concept that a horse must only be balanced on the center of its mass, with head vertical and only articulated in the first vertebrae of the neck. The very fact that there are few horses in the regiments that match this requirement perfectly and other horses that serve them well would demonstrate that the methods suggested by existing rules as applied are too difficult and, at the same time, unnecessary.”

——- Federico Caprilli – from “Per L’Equitazione Di Campagna” from the January/February 1901 issue of Revista di Cavalleria (Gilmore Translation)

In the very few pages that Caprilli wrote on riding, he doesn’t indicate a distaste for the “High School” based system in place at the time of this article. However, he displayed great distaste at the ‘traditional’ High School based system when applied to riding in the field.

(read the article at: http://gilmorehorsemanship.com/caprilli.html)

This entry was posted in Equestrian History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Federico Caprilli, The Natural System and Forward Riding

  1. Mika says:

    Hi Dan,i would be extremely ieserntted in reading the translation of the Caprilli papers when they are published. Please if it is not to much to ask would you inform me of how and were to obtain a copy,I beleive there is a small number of people who are close to the real truth about true connection between man and horse.look forward to hearing from youyours.Barry Batra.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *