How do you explain a lifetime love affair with the horse? How do I come to understand it? It was never really a choice for how does water not flow downhill? So it seemed impossible not to follow this course and when the winds of circumstances blew me in other directions, I came back, again and again to the horse.
At the start, I was like a blind man running downhill. I called it “riding” and I “trained,” but now what I see was just confusion. It was certainly not the horse who was confused but nevertheless the horse was the victim of my confusion. Yet, I was good or so I was told. I won this and that in competition and I shared my confusion with others under the sincere pretense of being a teacher.
These are my confessions to my own ignorance without trying to justify the aggression which arose from my own self-deceptions. Becoming educated in the ways of dressage installed a logical and acceptable methodology to those otherwise illogical aggressions and so I hid behind a passion for the teachings of the French school.
I was now at least a blind man running downhill with a map. I wore the armor of history which gave this blind man a certain moral certainty. My mind built the box in which the horse was held. Such a strong mind but still unable to see itself. The eye is certain of what it sees, but it can never see itself.
This is the setting of the stage of my dressage. Arrogant in its certitude, so experienced from hundreds of horses who likely wished they had not met me supported by so many students who found in me something better than the confusion they had before they met me.
Think on these things:
Consider the horse precious.
See yourself as less.
Examine your mind in all actions and own, face and avert all negative states so as to do no harm.
Find in such negativity the blessing of an educational experience.
There is never a victory nor defeat only an experience.
Let goodness and kindness be found in every moment and let that be the gift you learn to give to the horse.
Consider your failures in training to be a sacred gift to save you from yourself.
See that your first consideration is that you train your mind first and the horse’s secondly, but sometimes it works in the other direction.
Always be ready to listen for that.
Let the horse’s body be trained as the last consideration, but connect and link your mind to your body well.
In everything give and take, listen and tell, and go toward and away. This is the way of life itself and in this flow find true balance.
Dressage is never of any value if it is based on take, tell and actions which are directed toward the horse.
These are a few things, simple but not easy; personal and offered without shame, with the hope that you path maybe one awake and alive. Learn to walk and not run so that you may see more clearly your path.
To be awake is to walk softly, kindly and slowly; your heart is with the horse and you mind follows with a sense of reverence for a most awesome being; the horse.
This is the path of sacred dressage which reveals the brilliance which is the birthright of both beings.