On Classical Equitation
Commentary on French Classical Riding
Sometimes working as co-director of the school here along with Craig Stevens can be a bit daunting. I’m good at what I do, but I’m not Craig, and it’s hard not to feel shaky sometimes. One of the most powerful things he’s taught us is to learn where to read what is real, to learn how to authenticate the work. Here’s thoughts from me as a wife on the topic of being both irritated at the intransigence, and astonished at the beauty of my husband’s mind, and finding balance with the work. Learning to measure myself in the reality of the outcomes with horses, students, and my own growth as a rider day by day.
Distracted by the flash and glamour of competitive dressage, we seek refuge in an objectivity which few can afford. We seek outer solutions for our inner problems and hold the horse hostage to our existential crisis.
Empathy and compassion are the emotional version of gravity and contribute to the subjective balance.
Our dressage consists of making these disconnections justified by invocation of traditions and habits devoid of reason.
I thought understanding this “cloud of rapport” to be the most important thing to learn and so I entered into a lifetime of seeking mastery.
Good dressage places the mind somewhere else.
All training/dressage is a manifestation of a human dream. There is no solid “this and that.” There is only tender connection…
Our dressage functions as a kind of moderator principle.
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.
Without calm, suppleness vanishes. When suppleness is blocked or lost, movement becomes destructive. The body is worn out. This is counter to good dressage.
the five energies which help restore sanity. When they are balanced and circulate true a great joy is present in the horse and human.
This art is beyond words. It is not “clever,” rather it is “connected.”
“Science” has no words for this way of working or understanding, but this exploration is very powerful in its effects on the horse.
The sun rises as you give up your doubts and start to find simple pleasure in a simple truth which is about harmony.