The point of talking about mind and dressage is that the more we understand about how our mind and the horse’s mind works, the more the mind can work. As we become more sensitive to the mental and emotional currents in both ourselves and the horse the more the mind is functional. A state of sanity arises based on calm and gentleness and a state of “workableness” sustained by kindness appears.
What this means that we can train the mind to work in order to use it to do something remarkable. A simple unified state begins to occur between the horse and human and so we can speak of the mind and the body, removing the separation between horse and human. This state of harmony generates a mutual compassion and love for the common work undertaken together.
This is a fantasy dreamed about in dressage circles and endlessly theorized. Many people also pretend to have it but all too frequently what occurs is a parody of the real thing. The real deal is very still and runs really deep, but perhaps a better way to present this is to say that whatever the connection you may have, it can be deeper and that is the promise of noble dressage.
What is most peculiar is it is not through gymnastics or particular movements but actually it arises from stillness and then imperceptible circulation of subtle energies. In eastern thought, these currents are called chi or prana and in the western esoteric tradition the term etheric energy is used but whether you name these forces or not, the ability to tap and direct these energies are the result of a careful mind training.
Some people have an intuitive grasp of this and formal classical training eventually brings a connection with these subtle forces but words, concepts, and intellectualization is not needed to access this natural energy. However, it is very useful to connect the dots, so to speak, at this level.
The mere daily discipline of working with the horse day after day and week after week and year after year creates some degree of connection on this elemental level. Even without an intellectual foundation dressage draws these forces together but the old masters who lived in a metaphysical universe without a strict science appreciated this “magic.”
There is no need to give up modern science, but there is a need to suspend judgments and open ourselves to find our individual heart strength. Gentle, kind, and light are the compassionate manifestation of a heart that “gets” the horse and a clear mind, aware of the technical aspects, can reach out in a dressage rarely seen today.
Perhaps, it is easier to dismiss this simple reflection than to consider the “ethers” but if you can and do dismiss such silly magic, then let these ideas haunt you as a wild possibility. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to play with such energies? Isn’t this the dressage you would wish could be? Yet, I for one, would offer witness after a lifetime of working with and along side the horse of the truth of such things. This is both learnable and teachable for those who would be open.