The practice of dressage is based on three fundamental factors: first, not centralizing inward (one must balance awareness between being in the horse, in the riding ring and in one’s own self awareness); second, not imposing any goals or judgments on the horse(as this blocks the third one); and third, becoming completely identified with what is happening at this very moment. These three elements run right through the practice of dressage, from the beginning up to the highest levels.
Any perception that we experience when we are with the horse can become a point of connection to the reality of what is happening in a given moment. We not only must learn to ride the horse but to ride our perceptions anytime we are working with the horse. Being with the horse is not about us being separate but rather a matter of learning not to block the flow which is occurring all the time between the horse and ourselves.
When we can come to a state of openness, we can correctly know how to relate to the situation with the horse. In the end it is not about the horse or us but about how we can join together and it is up to us always to make the first move. It is our desire which fuels equitation but in good dressage, our kindness draws the horse to want to also be with us.
Finding and binding ourselves together with the horse is such a glorious thing. It is and always has been the heart of dressage. First we must willing to change our views and attitudes to be able to find the horse and then the horse can join with us.
This is a noble practice for it calls for such precious qualities from us. Open yourself up and find the horse in your heart. This is dressage.