The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage was the most checked out book of our library atThe Florida Dressage Experience Program  in 2014. Our trainers/riders  found it articulate and thought provoking. In order to be successful trainers/riders must understand themselves as well as their mounts. Douglas Puterbaugh's practical training suggestions coupled with a deep understanding  of human  nature make this a “must read” for aspiring rider/trainers! Definitely in the “ I couldn’t put it down category! “   Ida Norris

Ida   Norris   "S" Dressage Judge
Founder of the Florida Dressage Experience Program

Great book., January 3, 2014
By Lyne -Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage: How to Overcome Human Nature and Become a More Just, Generous Riding Partner for Your Horse (Hardcover)
Great book. Very insightful and really makes you reevaluate yourself. I highly recommend reading this book. I just wish the prong was a little darker for us older readers ;)

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for dressage enthusiasts September 20, 2013
By luv4dressage
THIS IS A WONDERFUL BOOK . A mirror into our souls as dressage riders . We are human and learning how destructive our human tendencies can be is oh so important before we can truly understand how to correctly build a horse mentally and also physically .
If you want to purify your technique in dressage first you must understand how to filter out all the ways that human nature pollutes your ability to clearly communicate to the horse. This book is an eloquent way to get interspective on things that may affect you and subsequently your ability to develop harmony .

Sonja-Marita Vracko

“Most everyone riding a horse, has at one time or another comitted at least one, if not more of these sins. Maybe,hopefully, by reading this book, more riders will see themselves here, try to curb their behavior, so we can see happier and less misunderstood horses throughout the US. On behalf of all the horses, I thank you.”
- Sonja Vracko, Clinician, ‘S” Judge , Dressage


“The book is a blend of psychology, philosophy, and practical advice. It combines old knowledge with modern concepts of riding and horsemanship, but it is not a book on dressage technique per se. It is a book about human character traits as they relate to riding. Above all, it is a self improvement book, and as stated in the chapter on Immoderation, the overarching theme is: “Before trying to improve your horse, try to improve yourself.” “

-Mid South Horse Review  by Leigh Ballard (July 2012)


“After reading this book you will feel inspired to do better, and will be aware of bad energies and habits that may have crept into your riding spirit. A truly good book. Highly recommend this, not just for dressage folks either. It applies in great part to all riders.” —

USDF Connection

“The (Seven Deadly) sins, according to Puterbaugh, are: ignorance, timidity, pride, fear, impatience, anger, and immoderation. In The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage, Puterbaugh shows us how not to repeat the trespasses of our past horsemanship mistakes.” —USDF Connection July 2012

 ”Bottom Line: While it is dressage-oriented, this book should be a requirement for anyone who owns a horse, no matter what discipline. Horses everywhere will be better off because of it. The quotes from influential trainers in years past are worth the price alone.” -MyHorseDaily

I love this book. Read it to unlock your potential as a rider and trainer. So much food for thought. If you ride you will find yourself saying “Amen, brother.” Should go on the required reading list for USDF Instructor/Trainers. It also makes you want to go have a lesson with Douglas Puterbaugh, except that he lives and trains in Michigan!
I just wanted to add that the news is spreading about this book. Chatter amongst trainers and USDF Instructors. If you train or teach you really MUST read this. If you don’t see some of your own errors, you won’t miss the ones you see your peers making! (:  -Karen McGoldrick author of  ”The Dressage Chronicles”

New Book review from Tack and Talk: 
BOOK REVIEW: The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage
March 29, 2013 

tack and talk

One of the many reasons why I love bringing you Tack and Talk, is that when I do the research I learn something new. There are so many horsemen contributors that are passionate about horses with so much knowledge, willing to share this wealth of information, it amazes me.

Such is the case with this current book review, The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage. Now, I know many of you will disregard this read because you think it’s just another how-to-ride-dressage book. But it is much more than that…it is a guide to understanding first how a horse naturally interprets what you do and how it affects him and an introspective look at yourself!

What are the deadly sins: Ignorance, Timidity, Pride, Fear, Impatience, Anger and Immoderation. This book shows how each cause riding problems. Even if you are not guilty of any of them, there is incredible wisdom presented within these pages, and each chapter is well worth the read.

This book contains excellent, large photos of riders, horses at liberty and old-time masters. The photos are outstanding.

Author Douglas Puterbaugh says he’s seen many riders who “think of dressage mainly in terms of technique.” Those students expect a specific how-to answer when they ask, “what am I doing wrong?” They don’t understand “it’s not so much a question of what one does, but the way one does it.” A quote from Waldemar Seunig within the book.

The bottom line is that while this book is dressage oriented, it is a good book for anyone who owns a horse no matter the discipline who want to overcome the natural human emotions that get in the way of communicating with your horse. You won’t be disappointed.

Regina M. Sacha-Ujczo

We want to thank Regina for her wonderful letter and sharing her thoughts on the book, we never get tired of hearing feedback about the book and we spend time to read each and every message you send.

Dear Douglas,

Please recall that we met at the MI Grass Lakes Horse Show at the end of August. I am the mutual friend of Charles De Kunffy.

First, thank you for taking the time and effort to write a book to address the vices of the human factor in Dressage. It was long overdue and hopefully, will raise awareness and attention to these barriers to true harmony. It was wonderful that you quoted Charles and included one of his many books in your Recommended Reading and Bibliography Section. I love your references to the Masters and encouragement and responsibility to educate ourselves through reading as well as riding!

Although replete with messages, your focus upon lifelong learning and the importance of the solid trainer is an imperative and critical message of the book. Also, these magical creatures are often mistreated in subtle ways. I have personally witnessed misdirected emotion and anger in the Dressage world and pray that this manifestation which dwells in "the bosom of fools" (Einstein) is lessened.
Certainly, I am not exempt from manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins. "Let she who is sinless cast the first stone!" Your book does provide ample encouragement for personal honesty and reflection. I have learned in recent years that it is the joy of the journey and not the destination of dressage that is the worthy pursuit. Thank you for validating that learning for me.

Also, I love the dedication to Tamara and many of the wonderful pictures you did include. My favorite of you is on page 145 where you are rewarding your horse on the buckle! A picture of true happiness and relaxation!

Thank you again for this lovely book. I plan to include it on my suggested dressage reading list for dressage minds along with Charles, Zettl and Podhajsky! Quite grand company you keep!

I trust our paths shall cross again in the future. I will keep posted on the events at your Howell facility as well.

My best to lovely Tamara and of course, lil Solli.

P.S., The picture below is of my dog, Rexton and the lovely and talented Arabella. She is the Grand Prix Schoolmaster (from Heather Blitz) who is humbling me each day as I earn the right to ride her in Harmony. You will also note the name of my dressage LLC is Harmony Horsing!


Regina M. Sacha-Ujczo

(USDF Bronze & Silver Medalist)
Harmony Horsing, LLC
"Pursuing Dressage Excellence"
Arabella, Regina & Rexton


Rider Reviews

FEI dressage trainer/rider Yvonne Barteau with Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE
FEI dressage trainer/rider Yvonne Barteau with Douglas Puterbaugh, author of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE

The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage is a unique and special book. I am a collector of equine literature for many years and this book has earned a spot on the "top shelf" In my library. I have recommended it to all of my students as a must read and will continue to do so. Douglas Puterbaugh covers vital and important rider information, in an entertaining, engaging and compelling manner.

Yvonne Barteau
KYB Dressage
USDF bronze Silver and Gold Medalist
FEI Trainer and Rider
Equine Entertainer
Author, Ride the Right Horse

Below are all reviews The Seven Deadly Sins has received by Riders

Soul Food, December 3, 2012

By Lyzelle -

The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage is a beautiful book! I found it to be layered with wisdom in a way that sticks to the ribs – like a good bowl of oatmeal or stew. I would recommend having your own copy- I thought maybe I would just borrow it, and after reading it, I wanted everyone I knew to read it, and I lent my copy out, but it's the kind of book you want to pick up again. There is a lot of wisdom within to "chew on" and although the content has been very memorable, I thoroughly enjoy re-referencing it – it's literally nourishing for the soul. The effect is a book that unlocks the rider's mind to look beyond the mechanics of good dressage, and by examining oneself it transcends to the betterment of the horse, and through that process, better riding.

right on!, February 16, 2013

By Pen Name

Love that you describe the emotions a rider is feeling! If you become a better riderr you need to push through the emotions

Beyond the Horse, January 27, 2013

By Houyhnhnm

"For years, I asked my riding students to read Hassler's _Beyond the Mirrors_to gain insight on themselves, the human half of the horse-human equation. Now I'm switching to Puterbaugh's book. Even advanced riders will likely benefit from reminding themselves of these "sins….

I do wish he'd titled the book _Seven Deadly Sins of Horsemanship_ though."

Wow a must read to ANYONE who owns a horse., January 8, 2013

By Stephanie Skjoldebrand

An examination of conscience and one has so say this is a MUST READ for all riders not only dressage. Jane Savoy wrote an excellent book called "Its Not about The Ribbons" which would compliment this wonderful book. I loved this book in the way it is set out. The pitfalls are very clear and how as horse owners we are arrogant and think we know it all. 'We don't know what we don't know' so always be humble and learn more.

VERY pleasant surprise & refreshing read, October 31, 12

By Newman

I met Doug this year during our "L" program testing, and had no idea at the time that he had just written a book. Imagine my surprise when I picked up this hardcover, thumbed through it without looking at the author's name, then recognized his photo at the very end! Now I HAD to sit down and read it and boy, am I glad I did!

Although this book has dressage in the name and was written by a dressage trainer, it was clear from the first read that it applies to every single person that not only rides but also handles or works around horses in any way. Doug has an uncanny knack for describing human traits that can interfere with the relationship between horse and human. It may be uncomfortable to read at first, because you recognize yourself or traits you have displayed at one time or another, but he gently and without judging guides you onto a better path.

Unfortunately for me but fortunately for Doug, I have already loaned this book out and am on my second copy. It's on my "Christmas List" because I have no doubt I will continue to loan copies out and habitually need to replace mine (I just have to make sure I don't give away the dog-eared, sticky-noted, underlined version!)

Engaging, October 28, 2012

By Kit Maurer

I am amazed by Mr. Puterbaugh's insight of the unity needed between horse and rider to truely reach the so called "oneness" in the decipline of dressage. The mechanics of dressage are one aspect of the sport, but the author explains how vital the relationship with the horse is, in the training process. After reading the book, I was able to attend one of Mr. Puterbaugh's clinics/camps, and he honestly engaged the spirit of each horse he rode and motivated each rider. He eloquently writes, in his book, about the partnership between two living things (horse and human) and explains in concise detail; if we can control our own human nature in a fruitful, virtuous way then the horse may follow our aids more willingly. I recommend this book to everyone with a horse!

A book to live your life by., October 26, 2012

By Kim Nobel

I love this book! It's not a traditional how to dressage book. If your looking for collection, shoulder in, etc… this is not it. If your looking to become a better rider and trainer for any riding discipline you've hit the mother load. The lesson I learned best from this book is not to look at a training problem as a problem. It must be looked at as another way to teach or explain something to your horse. What I learned in this book doesn't just apply to dealing with horses, but with life in general. If everyone applied these concepts to other people as well the world would be a much better place.

Most Helpful Book on Dressage, September 14, 2012

By knittinhorselady

This book is "The Bomb" when it comes to a book on dressage that you can really dig your teeth into and then go out and apply to your riding. After riding huntseat for 37 years I took up dressage and started lessons every week. Five years later, lessons every week, tons of clinics and reading Dressage Today every month and as many books as I can I came across this book and just devoured it. It was so easy to understand and apply. The author gets his point across in an honest and direct way, but also has a very pleasant style of writing. The book is humbling in a gentle way. Throughout the book, so many lightbulbs came on for me! It brought a lot of ideas and concepts full circle for me. By luck I was starting with a new trainer just as I finished the book. With the new mindset the book gave me and the new trainer I have been able to improve more in the last four months than I I could have ever imagined. After purchasing and reading the hardcover, I loaned it out and haven't gotten it back. I decided to buy myself another copy and found it on Kindle! Now I have it in my iPad! This is an excellent read and apply book if you are the type of person to look deep inside and make the changes needed to succeed. I would love to meet the author someday! Many thanks to Karen McGoldrick, author of "The Dressage Chronicles" (a very fun read!) for suggesting this book to me.

Amazing book by an amazing Horseman, August 26, 12

By Cheryl

I have known and ridden with Doug for several years so when I heard that he had written a book I couldn't wait to purchase a copy. To say that I wasn't disappointed would be an understatement! This book reflects the knowledge that Doug has and his love and patience for and with the horse. I have read many other books about dressage and horsemanship in general but none have really spoken to me like this book. Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage really puts into perspective not just the how but the why. Although it is not your traditional "how-to" dressage handbook, I feel that not only have I learned more but my horse and I have progressed by just applying the principles that Doug so eloquently describes in his book. I can't wait for him to write another!

Excellent book, August 5, 2012

By carobi

I have ridden with Douglas and find his teaching style, in person and as described in his book, to be patient and consistent, producing excellent results. The book is easy to read and really hits the spot in understanding that many problems are the rider's and not the horse's. A good read.


By Marissa K.

I absolutely love this book, and it will be one that I read multiple times throughout my life. It is great for anyone who is involved with horses because it address many problems that we all face and overlook throughout our horse adventures, as well as, give multiple ways to overcome those problems. There's no going wrong with this one!

Can't wait to read it!, July 30, 2012


Just ordered this for my Kindle. I have known Doug for years and he is a wonderful teacher, with a deep understanding of the sport and its history, as well as tremendous empathy for the horse and his students.

Most helpful dressage book on the market!, July 26, 12

By Rachael Shaull

This book has changed my entire way of thinking and riding. Most horse books focus on what the rider is doing wrong or what the horse is doing wrong. Dougs book looks at the deeper issues that create problems in a horse and riders relationship. Just from reading this book my own horse and I have begun to improve dramatically WITHOUT TAKING ANY LESSONS! I truly believe that Doug will one day be a name amongst the grestest riders in the world. Take advantage of this book and inhale it like a necessary meal you wont be dissipointed!

An Excellent Book, June 8, 2012

By Lynn Cook

This book is a very insightful reflection into common mistakes we, as riders, trainers and owners, all too frequently make with little knowledge (or acknowledgement) that we are responsible – not the horse for the difficulties we encounter. It's so much easier to place the blame on the horse rather than accept the responsibility, as it should be, on ourselves. Through his book, Douglas allows the reader to open their mind and consider how they might actually be either indirectly or directly influencing their horse's response to them.

In reading this book, you will also enjoy a journey through time as Douglas brings to life many of our best dressage masters – Willi Schultheis, Waldemar Seunig, Gustav Steinbrecht, and Alois Podhansky just to name a few. Their training methods have withstood the test of time and Douglas underscores the wisdom of their training methods and approaches to working with these magnificent animals.

This book is a must have for every serious trainer, rider and horse owner (not just the dressage enthusiast) and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Douglas on a personal level and benefit from his generosity, wisdom and vast experience!

"The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage" June 7, 12

By Joanie Freeman

Douglas has a gift, or genius of communication. He can relay information to horse and human with explicitly and simplicity.

In his book, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage", he explains in detail human nature through their sins, the nature of a horse and how man must understand his sins in order communicate with the horse and to effectively train him. With Douglas's experience of over 20 years in the training of dressage, his explanation of the "Sins of Man" are what interfere with the training of the horse, or man learning how to ride well. Riding dressage is the highest expression of horse training, so the faults of man must be overcome to master both the concept of riding dressage and with the training of the horse.

I consider, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage", a horsemanship Bible of sorts or a "Good Book". Because dressage demands so much of horse and rider, the book is a guide to how to achieve this level of riding and training.

"The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage", also carries the signature of a musician in Douglas's style of writing. I see lyrics and prose evident in this book's content reflecting Douglas's musical nature and love of music.

All who are interested in the study of dressage or any other discipline of riding should read this book. No matter what your age, anyone interested in riding or training will glean much knowledge from this master dressage instructor, Douglas Puterbaugh.

A very informative book on Dressage!, April 23, 2012

By Krystle T

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Dressage. It's a great addition to any horsemans library and is very well written, informative and appeals to both students and instructors. I also enjoyed the photographs as well as the knowledge and experienece that clearly shows in his writing. What a great read!

Simply superb!!!, April 23, 2012

By Dominik in Elk Grove

As soon as I read the first page of this book, I knew that I would be hooked. The author did a fantastic job in combining my passion for dressage and a educational experience. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I will make sure to recommend it to many more of mine! It was truly inspiring to me and my life in dressage. A MUST HAVE!!

By: Julie R:

"I just finished reading your book The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage. Excellent book and will definetely recommend. Good read for all serious dressage riders and would also benefit other riding disciplines. Thank you for a good read. "

Review by Scott


Petra and I are enjoying your book immensely. I especially liked the side-bar regarding Anthropomorphism. I find many of my clients, especially women fall pray to imposing human emotions and motivations upon their horses. This also ties into your sin #2 Timidity; as I feel they are often linked. I am also appreciating your vocabulary; it is broad and refreshing…I enjoy your use of the full language…No dumbing-down…
- Scott

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