The measure of the depth and quality of our dressage is found in feeling. From our feelings, we learn to care and extend caring toward our horses. It is in feeling that we are born and exist in this world and from here we connect with the horse.
It is first important to understand that our feeling are not a matter of judgements. Feeling is the first step and something which we are all born with. Good dressage starts with a feeling between the horse and our self.
From feeling, that authentic experience we all have of being alive at any given moment, next arises an act of noticing. This simple act is mindfulness and from this we experience the context of our experience. This is what is termed, self-awareness which allows compassion and empathy to arise.
Through this simple and basic process, we connect with the horse. As our experience deepens as we feel, notice and feel and notice again and again. We are aware. Dressage is born and we collect the idea of dressage through our experience and reflections.
What is most important to understand, in this process, is that feeling and noticing without judgement is the root. What is good in dressage are those things which stay as close as possible to the root.
When our dressage does not connect with the feelings, we are relating to both ourselves and the horse as an inanimate object. An intellectual dressage (top down) always runs this risk of losing the horse and ourselves in a disconnected construct.
Any dressage of value, first connects through feeling and evolves by mindfulness and awareness. It is only in feeling, free from judgements, that the correct orientation is found.
Here is goodness in dressage which is found in the confidence which eventually arises by a process which is so simple and basic. It defies our logic because is what happens before we can open logics door.
This is bottom up and not top down. Logic must in the kind and generous training of the horse be second to authentic feeling. This is one of the reasons good dressage is hard to find and rarely practised because we must first purge ourselves of what we know to find what we can know as true feel.