In dressage, as we practice we obtain our credentials. Those credentials which are best are experiential, but it seems that in the horse world, it is better if we have “the papers.” We show horses, attend clinics, take courses. We are awarded many “degrees” and obtain a certain status. We collect the proof which we can share with the world to prove our value.
The problem here is that the horse does not collect nor recognize our credentials. Every horse, potentially, can at any time blow our cover. Even an upper-level horse, who may be noble and kind, can at any moment take us down despite a stack of credentials.
In every ride, we are the emperor in his new clothes. Clever verbal ducking and dodging do not conceal who and what we are. Riding an outstanding horse goes a long way to removing the attention from our riding to the movement of the horse but even at the highest level, what is seen is what can be seen. We all too frequently live in a cloud which the horse society and media have produced and are blinded to what really is. Fool all of us, maybe, but fool the horse, never.
It is always better to forget man-made levels, and credentials and instead focus on the qualities of what is. Is it kind, gentle and light? Feel what is and see what is, do not look to judge rather make your judgments as kind, light and gentle as you can, for changing what has happened is impossible. Our dressage, based in goodness, is always in the present as is the horse. Each moment is an opportunity. Experiencing what is present creates the path and will lead you to what will be. Kindness knows no level or better said maybe that it is can be found in every level.
Participate in those qualities presented at the moment and seek to find the direction of kindness. Credentials are the deceptions, blocks and armor created by the ego. There is only one authority on dressage; the horse. Open to the experience of the flow to find yourself present and seek harmony. Goodness in dressage is the convergence of two beings into one. There are no credentials for this for it is created from moment to moment.