Seeing experience as doorways and being able to pass through to new levels is about savoring the experience and finding the common space. There are two points in dressage; dressage with objects and dressage without objects. It is the later which carries you further. To know and see dressage as a dance of the mind is to be able to find freedom for the horse and human alike, but this is not the dressage of ordinary means. All progress occurs when the objects of dressage are seen to be without substance; here is the mind of the master found.
This is the journey. We pass from object to nonobject and back to object again. When minds are at play and unlocked we can advance along the path.
Objects can be understood in several ways:
1. something that arouses feelings in an observer
2. something on which the purposes are fixed as the end of action or effort
3.something that is set or may be regarded as set before the mind so as to be apprehended or known
From Latin objectum ‘thing presented to the mind’ An object is a point of fixation. One must release any and all fixations.
To relate to the horse well is a lot about space which is always present. In training the horse, the most basic work in taming is about removal of fixation by the horse’s mind. Tying, wearing a saddle or blanket, even pick up the feet involve the removal of fixation or nonobjective mind. In the higher levels, the mind fixates of other “objects” which both the horse and human fixate upon.
There are parallels in the human learning to work with the horse as well. Both minds (human and horse) learn to take up and release objects. All good dressage is about how the mind handles objects and time. Time in this sense is not so much what occurs on the clock, but rather the psychological progression/sense.
All good dressage is about space, water and fire as cardinal, mutable or fixed energies in what we call forward. Calm and straight are air and earth. These elements are the substance of the psychological universe of the old masters. The elements of the ancients were a way to delineate the universe and all of the old masters modeled the universe through these ideas.
Dressage, in its most practical sense, is about feelings because horses live mostly in that world. If you are to be able to understand feelings which are the primary aspect of dressage through the intellect, one need to build an “intellectual bridge.” As modern people, we tend to be rather disconnected from feelings and the must find the bridge. If this is not done there is a gap which cannot be closed except by talent which few of us have and even those who do find talent at times to be unreliable.
This is the foundation of tact in dressage. Kindness is always the root because kindness allow space and only gentleness can manipulate objects skillfully.
This is a real basic understanding which is needed to learn dressage correctly.