In dressage, if we are to be effective, we join tradition with our experience. The problem is that you must first learn tradition and be fully aware of the moment to moment experience.
Awareness is not just about observing the horse. It is also about being with your own self. Tradition can be a veil which blocks our view of the experience of being with the horse.
We see who we are and what tradition is in two ways; through language and feel. Feel is tricky because at its most basic level it has no words. Language is tricky because it is limited by syntactic and grammatical considerations.
To join tradition and to experience properly is to be able come to terms with the trickery of perceptions. To abide in purity of the feeling is drop the story line and open the heart.
This way of abiding is done by becoming friendly with yourself and the horse. Good dressage requires this. Automatically kindness, gentleness and lightness are built in. There is a slow, wait and see kind of openness.
How many teachers have done this? How many others can do this? Has your teacher achieved this? Have your friends?Have I?
Actually, these are the wrong questions. The only question of value here is how are you to do this? Good dressage is not about others. It is only about your connection with the horse and yourself.
Love the horse, be generous and persistent, make sincere efforts to serve while reflecting on your experience. Open yourself to the magic of the day to day experience of dressage.