The first step is to understand. It is being able to have a clear view. Vision is the gift needed before you choose to move. One must not only look but also see. We are given something precious and rare when the horse enters our life. Training and dressage are the journey to an awakened relationship within yourself and with your horse.
Your dressage is a projection of your mind. As a projection, everything is transparent and workable. It is not the horse which is a certain way, but rather your certainty of the horse which is and this is what you are working with.
The difficulty here is that when you change your mind, there is a delay in the time it takes for the horse to reflect such changes. Training is a series of steps which your mind makes. When the mind progresses in a classical manner, your dressage has at its root a symmetrical, geometrical and cadenced flow. Energies are not blocked in genuine dressage and they are danced with.
When training is not classical, the work lacks a certain cohesiveness and horse lacks confidence and may demonstrate a lack of emotional stability. Because a trainer states that their work is classical dressage does not mean it is.
Classical work in dressage is not a matter of stitching this and that technique together to find a workable progression which leads to be able performing a dressage test. Classical work is much more organic and is completely integrated. In it overall view is makes a circle which overtime manifest as a spiral.
In addition to this holistic and circular form, this classical manner maybe hard to realize in your work because one confuses cause for effect and effect for cause. When movement is not present, neither cause nor effect arises, but stillness must exist long enough to allow clarity to arise.
It is hard to construct the classical work without instruction, but not impossible. Considering how rare classical instructors are and how difficult they are to find, one is almost forced to progress in isolation.
I, personally, suspect there are only a handful in the world today and none are “famous.” “Famous, gain and victory” are inconveniences that few masters fall into, because genuine master have left such consideration behind long ago.
The true nature of dressage dawns on the genuine student usually long before one encounters a master. Outer, inner and secret levels of dressage combined in such students and a sense of the secret level in oneself and others becomes very real. So it is that the genuine student sees beyond the “theater” of common dressage.
Secret in this sense, is not about concealing something, but about the differentiation between theory, practice and experience. The secret is created and maintained by the quality of authentic experience of a clear mind and so it is rather an open secret. The secret is hidden from others by the confusion in their own minds.
Here is the dressage of the true nobility. The barriers to the practice of authentic dressage are not from genetics, but from a failure to find your own nobility. Each and everyone of us is born noble and finds that we have obscured our own nobility by our own confused and untrained minds. Awaken awareness, compassion, and goodness and discover the noble confidence in which we were born. This is the path of an authentic classical dressage.