Book Review: Tug of War by Gerd Heuschmann

Thought-provoking and insightful, Tug of War is a must-have for every equestrian’s bookshelf.

Granted, it isn’t the most entertaining read, Dr. Heuschmann gets real where dressage training schools of thought are concerned. As a veterinarian and equestrian himself, Heuschmann knows better than most the pros and cons of classical and “modern” training techniques, and outlines both in plain language in this book.

He doesn’t cut corners, either, and explains exactly why and how certain training techniques are good or bad for the horse, and he backs up his arguments well using his knowledge as a vet and findings from his own research.

I really enjoyed reading this book because, when I finished, I felt like I understood my role as a rider and as a student of classical dressage far better than before. I also came away with a better understanding of modern dressage, as well as ways to help educate other riders in the differences between classical and modern and help steer them towards classical dressage as it was intended to be.

Another thing I appreciated about this book is the fact that it’s fully illustrated. The illustrations included offer further insight and a deeper perspective into Dr. Heuschmann’s explanations.

I highly recommend this book to all equestrians because the information found within can benefit everyone, not just dressage riders.

If you’re interested in buying Tug of War, you can grab it on Amazon here.

Tug of War: Classical Versus "Modern" Dressage

German rider and equine veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann is well-known in dressage circles—admired for his plain speaking regarding what he deems the incorrect and damaging training methods commonly employed by riders and trainers involved in competition today. Here, he presents an intelligent and thought-provoking exploration of both classical and “modern” training methods, including “hyperflexion” (also known as Rollkur), against a practical backdrop of the horse’s basic anatomy and physiology.




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