Realize that training begins with the young horse and human at first breath and ends at the last breath. The initial journey is a study in “I” and progresses into “we” and ends “you” before it returns to “I”. It is not a circle but a spiral which, as the best guess, never ends.
This is the world in which dressage is cast. We can get stuck and unstuck at anytime and anywhere. Dressage is a path that we can choose to take or not. What makes dressage so brilliant is that we have a teacher with us for every step; the horse.
The “you” in this journey of dressage is always the horse and so we are always drawn forward in our circle of learning which when cast over time is a spiral. It is not so much about the objects and movements in what is called dressage as much as it is in the deportment of energies.
“All three (I, we and you) are a manifestation of a circle and a center. All three can produce what is termed “upper level” work, but the amount of energy it takes to maintain or manifest that level is greatest at the “I” level and the least at the “you” level.
Consider that this occurs from the horse’s side as well as the human side. This is the way of mastery and when we are each lost in the other, we find an art which is luminous and profound. The horse and human illumine each other.
For this to be your path, your dressage will reveal glimpses of the art at every turn of your work. However, letting the brilliance distract you will slow your studies down. The open secret here is to keep your attention on the relationship and not to let movements and acclaim distract you from your work.
Texture and cadence are the path and change remain its nature. That is why transitions are the key to all training. Awareness and mindfulness are the texture and way that cadence is found.
Of course, this is just one view but, there are many ways to see the path of dressage. In fact, there is one way to see dressage which is made just for you. It is all about how the mind progresses on this path. Horse or human, a sentient being progresses best when others are put first.
This is dressage which lights up any life it touches. It is one of joy, kindness, and lightness. It is personally difficult for me to see how any of this relates to horse shows and winning prizes or acclaim, but I once lived in such a world; what was I thinking!