So I got off my last horse of the day, thinking about each of my horses in training and what gifts they have given me this year. It has been yet another amazing year. I have received so much. I always think that this work cannot get any lighter, gentler and kinder and yet again it does.
There is a softness that I have found this year which is very different. I so want to share it with my students but I do not have the skill with words to capture exactly what this means.
This makes me an unwilling mute as this year more than any other I have discovered the inadequacies of the spoken word. The old masters did not write much and there are a lot of reasons that this was so but the realization of the inability of words to capture dressage has to be one of them.
On another level I want to share this with the world but it is a conversation with the deaf. Even with clever words and crafted phrases, the mind must learn to hear.
Deafness is a funny problem. It is one I know only too well from my personal experience. It not that one does not hear the words. The sounds and words are plain enough. There is more.
There is those who deny what is being said; judging correct and incorrect like a game of whack-a-mole, ready to whack any idea down the moment it comes up. Sadly fearful and protecting the ground of what they think they “know” while not even knowing that this is what they are doing. This is one kind of deafness but there is another kind much worse.
The worst form of deafness is not from those who do not want to get it. It is from those who enthusiastically do get it. They hear and agree with everything said and yet what their horses say is very different story. Many of my students are like that. They come they learn and study and yes their work improves but there is always something missing.
These are the worst to deal with because they are the most like me. Over the years, I have known so much and understood so little and now with practice and time, my understanding has grown and yet I have not been a deceiver of anyone but myself. I say that because my words have proven better than my understanding.
So it is that the right words have fallen on my own deaf ears and so who am I to rebuke a student who suffers from my own malady. Yet I want to be authentic and so I try and try to twist a phrase here and there. I use my horses to create the feeling and while that works best, I still find this subject, dressage, to be difficult for the deaf to get.
The words, “open your heart” this year and learn to hear your horse this way. This is my Christmas wish for all of you but then that is just another batch of words that you, my dear friends, will answer with, “I do, I do.”
I say to my horses “I do, I do” and my eyes fill with tears because their tenderness and bravery speaks to me as they give to me the greatest gift that one can give, their very life and more than ever before, “I see them.” Merry Christmas to everyone…