The Horse Is Always First (Pre-Order)

Takeaways from the French Tradition for Today’s Rider

Cyril Pittion-Rossillon with Michelle Grald



Coming January 2025

Concepts and skills from the French equitation system, joyfully distilled for modern equestrians and the horses they love to train.

For three decades French Riding Master Cyril Pittion-Rossillon has lived and worked alongside American equestrians and their horses. He has learned from what he calls a “beautiful cultural exchange,” where the riding and training styles from each place, rich in their own history and evolution, informs the other. In this, Pittion-Rossillon's first book, he illustrates what he has found in his years of education, experience, and this “cultural exchange” to be most helpful to the horse and most enlightening to the rider.

The French tradition of horsemanship is characterized by three principles: 

  • Harmony
  • Lack of constraint
  • Respect for the horse

The result is what Pittion-Rossillon calls “a love letter from France to equestrians worldwide”—a way to approach connection and partnership with the horse that is both humane and successful. With simple, timeless explanations of these principles and practical exercises that encourage readers to explore them, The Horse Is Always First brings ideas to light that Pittion-Rossillon believes will help horses and riders of all levels, disciplines, and performance goals. His years of experience teaching adult equestrians help him frame his knowledge in a way that is highly approachable, and his passion for horsemanship and creative expression ensure an immensely enjoyable journey, from the book's thoughtfully crafted words to its unique, hand-drawn illustrations.

Designed especially for browsing and beginning with the lesson or exercise you need most, The Horse Is Always First seeks the well-being of your horse before any other goal. This is the heart and soul of the French tradition of riding. Let it be yours.

This is a book for all equestrians interested in increasing their understanding of classical riding theory and technique, and improving their horses' performance in fair and just ways.

Additional Information

Author: Cyril Pittion-Rossillon with Michelle Grald

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 176

Illustrations: 125 color photos

ISBN: 9781646011537

By Cyril Pittion-Rossillon with Michelle Grald

Cyril Pittion-Rossillon hails from Paris, France, where he earned his Riding Master Degree from the French National Equestrian School. Pittion-Rossillon was trained under members of French Olympic Team and competed in both the French Equestrian Federation Open Jumper Circuit and eventing to the Preliminary level. In addition, he is a USDF, FEI, USEA, USEF Hunter/Equitation, and USEF WDAA World Champion & Horse of the Year coach. He lives in Florida with his wife horsewoman Lynn Palm (

Michelle Grald is a horsewoman and a writer who enjoys blending these two passions to illuminate and inspire fellow equestrians. She received her education at Emerson College in Boston, graduating as valedictorian with a degree in speech and mass communication. Professionally, she has been a copywriter, marketing manager, graphic designer, book compositor, equestrian trail event director, and journalist. As a lifelong equestrian, she has explored many disciplines and particularly enjoys classical dressage, Centered Riding, and especially, endurance and distance trail riding. She is an American Endurance Ride Conference Trail Master and avid advocate for equestrian trails and open space.