We all recognize that there is a “higher” dressage. Whatever our level there is always a higher level. It is a rare person who does not aspire to a higher level in the work. Of course, not all are willing to do the work, but if it is not too hard, one would suspect that we would all take the next step.
The problem is that this higher level needs to be built somewhere and that is the tricky part. Where do we build our mansion of higher level work?
On one hand, the mind and body of the horse we are working with forms the first pillar of our mansion and the second pillar is our own mind and body. Some think it hopeless. Many times we reject what we have and seek to find something better. We are always seeking another ideal place but the reality is that the place we must start is the place we already have.
This means that our foundation must start with the expressions of our own neurosis and from this our first goal is to find our sanity through working with what we have. The horse, simply and wonderfully, expresses to us with complete honesty who, what and where we are.
In the end, like it or not, we are both the horse’s problem and the solution to that problem. Even if we inherit a problem horse, it is our problems and not the horse’s.
We have to come to find in ourselves, trust, faith and devotion to work with first our own mind and then the reflection of who we are as it arises in our horses. What we come to understand if we are willing to look at our dressage is that the foundation of good dressage and the art starts when we become willing to work with our own reality.
This kind of truth is not the one that most people want to hear. They would rather, blame the horse, the instructor, the trainer or anything else. Some even reject that the possibility of higher level work can exist in themselves, but it always does.
Find the bedrock of your own goodness and embrace those things in you which are kind and gentle. Here is where good dressage starts.
Having faith, trust and devotion should not be the hope of some future but a vision of what is happening right now in this moment. Dressage as an art starts now and right at this very spot when you allow yourself to be open to it.