There is a certain willingness to be naked which is essential to dressage. We must be willing to drop the garments created by our minds to be able to “see” the horse.
The force we generate by our thoughts “dress” the horse and then we can only see the costumes we create. Some of us dress the horse in a loose fit others seek tight garments but lose or tight, we cannot see the horse and then horse cannot see us either.
This amor we create, at its best, only adds a layer of confusion. Drop all contrived devices. Only a simple bit, because only the bit can let us deeply penetrate the horse’s mind. A whip is required because our arms are not long enough to love the horse fully. A saddle with a tree is required, because our seat bones create discomfort and/or our legs block the horse’s movements.
These requirements are debated by those who follow the fashions, but never by those whose education and experience really can see the horse. If you do not understand the use of equipment, you will not understand the choice involved.
The “dressing” of the horse in your version of what your personally see as natural does not mean that you are encountering the natural horse. It only means that you have dressed the horse in the outfit of your dream. To get beyond this is first to stop and find the meaning of the zero state.
Once you are at zero, then the bit is added first and then the whip and finally the saddle because these things bring about a condition of sharp focus and the refusal to use these devices makes for a out of focus state in which communication is dulled. In essence, equality is not found and balance is not precise enough.
Nothing is always first and something second. Something is not everything nor is it anything. The “thing,” which is proper, always easily becomes nothing because the energy is simple in its radiation out and in the echo which comes back.
This is not a play on words, but rather about a state of mind which is tightly aligned with a state of the heart which holds the body properly. It is tricky to try and train a mind. It is like trying to hold on to a fresh fish or herding cats. In either case one must be aware and mindful of everything. Do not let dressage movements or the horse distract you from training your mind first. Learn to abide properly and peacefully with yourself and you will know how best to abide and be in harmony with the horse.