In order to learn dressage and to train the horse properly, blamelessness is a very simple but important thing to understand. Mistakes are more important to the process than correctness. There is no work that you can do with a horse or yourself for that matter which starts in perfection.
The only mistake which is a problem is when you create punishment through over aggression. Blame is not something worthy of a horse or a horse person.
Blame doesn’t come from the horse or others really. It is something which each of us chooses to take on and while in this world many people may give you blame, it is always you who choose to accept it or not. To be without blame is daring to leave fear behind.
Taking blame onto yourself means that it is yours. In other words, when you’re in a cave and you shout something, if it bounces off a rock, then the cave walls appears to answer you back. But you don’t blame the cave or the rock for this. You take the blame on yourself, because you created the sound.
When you are training a horse, you are in essence in an echo chamber. The horse simply reflects your actions so you create the echo and the horse sends it back. One seeks to blame the echo rather than the one who creates the sound but, there is hope if you can see the pattern.
Reduce the negativity of blame by understanding the situation. Blame does not have any real value because it is the result of a fear which is always after the fact. Take your blame and see it for what it is. It is your echo and use that awareness to cultivate a different path.
Blaming the echo is of little value but changing your voice will change what is echoed back and so the goodness in blame is to stop it and not to feed it with your guilt. See it as a message which arises from your own actions.
This is a difficult one to process for some but an important thing to get. Dressage occurs in the cave of your mind, which is the place you have invited the horse to. Skip the aggression toward yourself and toward the horse. It only blocks learning.
Turning blame into goodness is empowering. It is finding the message rather than trying to be perfect. Each moment of blame is you protecting your tender heart through displacing your guilt about your mistakes but this tenderness is what brings you to greater depth in your dressage.
It is just simply OK to be a mistake maker and OK to not use your mistakes as a club to beat yourself. Neither you nor the horse benefit from self punishment. Use blame to liberate you practice and become daring and unafraid of mistakes.
Blame is hearing the echo. It says nothing more than “wake-up!” Appreciate blame as the first stage of listening which can be turned into a genuine presence with the situation when you can give up your fear and self castigation. Now you have something to work with.
Good dressage needs to see what is present and from this arises something better. We must dare to give up blame and fear. Dressage is never a compulsive measurement and judgement of the space but the play of space with the horse. In this one finds the vision of kindness and forgiveness.