It is said that dressage is for the horse, not the horse for dressage. What’s more, dressage is just as much for us! It should bring out the best in both our horses and ourselves.
Nazir has really changed a lot since I said goodbye to modern sports riding and try to educate him and myself in the classic art of riding. Not only did the work change his body, it also changed his mind. He is so much more trusting, patient, proud, energetic. I looked at him in the field today and felt really proud of what we have achieved together (although the way in front of us is surely so much longer than the way behind us). Then I remembered my own attitude and skills before I started working with Nazir. I could as well be proud of myself. The art of riding develops our patience (oh yes!), kindness, knowledge, precision, body language and awareness, courage, and I’m sure you would have to add some more points to this list. Next time you are proud of your horse’s development, remember that your own effort had just as much a part in it than his.
“My horse is my mirror that shows my good and my bad mood unmodified,” writes Bent Branderup in “Academic Art of Riding”. When I’m going to the car park and Nazir still stands at the gate and watches me leave, I know I did something right today. If not, I promise to do better next time.