Jumping Horses, Federico Caprilli, Harry Chamberlin, & YOU
If you jump horses then you have a connection to Federico Caprilli. If you learned the American method of jumping, you probably have a connection to Col. Harry Chamberlin.
Prior to Italian Cavalry officer, Federico Caprilli introducing his forward system to the horse world, riders leaned backwards when they jumped horses. In 1904 Capt. Caprilli became the instructor for the Italian Cavalry School. He died in 1907 having just a few short years to implement his new forward principles. From his time through the early 1930s select horseman from the cavalries of most countries worldwide had the opportunity to study the forward method at the Italian Cavalry School taking Caprilli’s ideas to their own cavalry schools.
In 1923 Harry D. Chamberlin, then a Major in the U.S. Army studied at Tor Di Quinto, Italy. Chamberlin was not the first of the U.S. Cavalry to study at the Italian Schools but he was to become the most influential horseman for the American Military seat, having a major part in writing the Cavalry Manuals of Horsemanship, influencing riding instruction at Ft. Riley and Ft. Bliss, and riding on the Army Show team multiple times. He was captain of the record making Army Olympic team in 1932 where he competed in 3 Day Event, winning team gold, and also in Show Jumping where he won the individual silver medal. Even though Col. Chamberlin died in the military his influence spread to the civilian horsemen through the men he educated. Gordon Wright, James Wofford, George Morris are all horsemen who can trace their riding roots back to Chamberlin.
While Caprilli turned the world of jumping around, he did not author books. “The Caprilli Papers” is a collection of short articles and notes that were translated by one of his students, Piero Santini. Just recently Dan Gilmore has done his own translation of Caprilli’s writing. Dan has made his translation available for horsemen to read on line. You’ll find it and other interesting articles at http://www.gilmorehorsemanship.com/articles.html .
Col. Harry D. Chamberlin wrote 2 books on riding and jumping. He wrote “Riding and Schooling Horses” in 1934 and “Training Hunters Jumpers and Hacks” in 1938. Although they can be hard to find, both books are on my list of top recommendations for anyone who is serious about jumping and training. Roger Hannington has provided U.S. Horsemanship an extract on Harry Chamberlin’s jumping instruction from “Riding and Schooling” . You can read Col. Chamberlin on Jumping- Guest Post by Roger Hannington
U.S. Horsemanship has other interesting articles about Caprilli and Chamberlin. You can read “What Does Federico Caprilli Have to do with Jumping in America? “Or read about “Caprilli – in the Words of His Students “
Horsemen have debated over horsemanship, probably since the first time 2 people swung their legs over a horse’s back. Debate and passion over methods of horsemanship are important because they keep horsemanship changing and developing. There was much hot debate during Caprilli’s time. You can read about some of it in the blog post “Piero Santini & Other Authorities on Caprilli’s Forward System.”
I hope this little bit of history helps you in your riding and teaching efforts.