Where does it go? Where does it lead? I have studied the literature of equitation for almost 40 years. So many different ways of expressing the work, what is the point? What is it about? Rather than having answers, I have found the questions seem to be getting better.
The equestrian literature haunts you after a while. In the daily work, recurrences occur. Masters come to life and jump out, speaking in their own way, joining my conversation with the horse. These masters share as the horse explains and I am in awe.
I feel their words as I feel the horse moving, standing breathing. In silence, I listen. In the end what they are saying is simple enough. Gradually, I have been lead, sometimes almost against my will and certainly in disagreement with my own training, to a more and more subtle understanding of kindness and compassion.
This is what it is about. This kindness and compassion removes the obstacles to my vision. Dressage theory is merely a conceptual tool, born in the literature, and matured in practice, which point to a non conceptual reality of the experience of being with the horse.
It is a loop in which the mind circulates. There is no correct nor incorrect. There is only a horse doing what seems best. Dressage is not a moral battlefield, but a gentle rain of kindness. Seeing this enable one to do that which joins. We link to the movement, the moment and through our mind harmony is found.
This art is alive and it is created by the discipline of intelligent practice and daily presence. It seems that here is goodness found. There is no room for anything except gentleness and lightness.
Calm is never sacrificed. Step deeply into such calm and find forwardness which is beyond whips, legs and spurs. Forward comes from the generosity of the horse’s heart and straightness is that is a gentle freedom, shared between human and horse who know goodness.
This is what living classical dressage is about. It is only found in togetherness with the horse. It is a haunting kindness witnessed in lightness and so the trainer gets trained and the horse is set free. This is good dressage which has lost every pretension and lives in the moment.