How to spin it, this way of working. Gentleness,, kindness, and lightness, are just a bunch words. What is real is the sentiment behind them. What is behind that bunch of words is a sun which radiates as real and as bright as day.
Calling this kind and gentle work dressage, well, somehow in the world we live in today, just does not seem right. Of course it is dressage, but how can that be so? In my head dances so many images of a dressage that I have known and left so long ago. What this work is, most certainly is not that. That was the darkness of my own self created night.
What remains from that dressage just freaks me out the same way it freaked out the horses I worked back then. I made them obey and we won but what was lost in that sea of ignorance and aggression was everything which had real value.
Confession is the best thing I can think of doing about that darkness. I did not think it was dark then. I thought what I did was only right and right seemed so important but that dressage is dead in me now and I can see in the corpse in my memories my own sickness.
So I write, I teach, and I rant and rave about the sun which has risen in my work. It is still dressage and it is classical but what a different world. Yet, I still see such darkness around; sad really
Dressage which lacks compassion and joy has no value. If it takes special equipment or a special horse, it is not really worthy. If it is not a simple thing that you can do with your horse, it is not worthy.
Good dressage has to be real and very personal, something which the horse and I whisper to each other because love and balance does not require an announcement; it only requires practice.
A state of mind, a mist which contains happiness for human and horse; know there is a sun but stop focusing on the darkness and learn to stand in the light. Everyone of us can be kind and gentle.
I hope that in some way that this helps. We all need to move in a good direction in our work but sometimes we are lost even when we manage to find the right words. It is always what is behind the words because that is what horses understand.