Four stages to superior dressage:
1. Align your mind with the mind of the horse.
In conventional/military dressage, such practice as aligning the mind was not practical as a method. In fact, what was require was a concrete method that could be applied to the lowest common denominator of horse and rider. The work was done by the organization of the herd mind. Training was minimal individual experience immersed in a collective experience.
In authentic high dressage, alignment of the mind is everything. The harmonization of the individual horse and rider is the proof of successful alignment. This upper-level work organizes the individual mind and the herd mentality is transformed into individual experience of a horse/rider. The training is a mutual immersion in a healthy relationship. The ideal is the centaur effect, which is a merger of two minds.
2, From an alignment a path unfolds.
How do we proceed with the horse when there is no method? The path unfolds before us once the minds are linked. We see where the link is strong and where it is weak and so this connection to the horse/human mind is our guide to the training process. The mind-body connection is individual and collective.
This work is not about movements, but it does contain and produces all the movements. Movements are the path which arises from linking.
Work in hand and work under saddle forge and perfect the link. The in hand work, correctly understood, helps the horse find its connection to its own body and the work under saddle then relates that connection to the rider.
The path to this connecting is not linear but different in every case because every case is individual, but experience shows that there can be a common start with most horses. Calm, slow gentle work dictates the way to start.
3. The path clarifies any confusion which may appear in the training
Head to head, heart to heart, the bodies move in space and in time. Any chaos which arises is a point to be clarified. Calm is restored. It is not by speed that the way is found but in slow conscious work which arises from both the horse and human individually and collectively balanced in space.
Confusion is in itself not a problem but something which needs looking into. All resistances are confusion manifesting. They are simple mistakes. There is no punishment.
4. From the removal of confusion comes the wisdom of dressage.
Calm turns to forwardness and forwardness to straightness. The horse is transformed by proper exertion. Confusion abates and turns to a wisdom whose origin is in the shared language which removes doubt and hesitation. Space is understood and the two minds become clear and transparent to each other.
This is not the dressage of the army nor is it the dressage found in books. It is written in the mutual experience of each horse and rider who are both transformed. Coming to this kind of work is the placement of the mind in loving kindness. It is found in putting the relationship first. This is the true classical dressage freed from military aggression. It is a display of art.