We sometimes think that good dressage is about being critical of ourselves and the horse in an attempt to create some idyllic image. We think that in dressage we become trained to be like a big brother who watches over the horse and whips it into shape if the horse does something wrong or we chastise ourselves for our shortcomings.

Good dressage practice is not about punishing yourself when you lose track of your actions or the horse’s position. Rather, the training of the mind in dressage is more about helping you to discover a willing alertness that already exists in your mind, and the horse’s mind by dispelling the dullness that has covered it up.

Our aggressions, lack of knowledge, opinions, and prejudices, are what block our finding common being with the horse. These problems manifest in a lack of lightness, kindness, and gentle resolve when we work with the horse.

The horse is always willing to join us once we learn to act in harmony, but harmony starts in our hearts when we lay our fears to rest. Here is the challenge of good dressage: Can we work with our own fears? Can we find a way to still and recognize the chaos in our own being so that the horse can find us to be a vessel in which to rest?

In each of us a master resides. Awaken your master by dispelling the veil of your sleep and let you and your horse join together in a dressage of kindness.