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  • Writer's picturemarti mcginnis

Dressage In The Fourth Dimension

My palomino horse, GoldenBoy, and I have been spending a lot of time together learning a bunch of new things. From working Equitation to Classical Dressage. It wasn't until about 10 days ago that I began to realize I had to re-learn how to ride from the inside out.

What that means is, I had to integrate what I was being taught by my coaches, readings and studying and really OWN the information. In my case this was "More leg" mostly, where you hug the barrel of the horse with your legs -- not gripping -- just meaningful contact.

But I also had to get back to the mystical roots of what inspires me to want to be at one with Goldie. So I went to my bookshelf and pulled Dr. Sherry Ackerman's little primer on that topic. "Dressage In The Fourth Dimension**" is packed with deeply meaningful explanations about the heart math of classical riding. As a professor of philosophy and a dressage clinician, Dr. Ackerman is able to convey profound connections with her accessible prose.

pitbull in sunlight next to book "Dressage in the Fourth Dimension"

Her foundational premise is when we ride dressage we seek to create beautiful art with our equine partners. The art manifests from our connection, our movement and unity. It becomes a physical representation of the "I - thou" egolessness of balanced collaboration. That's the goal.

Goldie and I have tiny transcendental moments when our connection and rhythm align and we become one. When this happens the heart expands and time stands still.

"Dressage provides a means of quintessential spiritual expression, a road map for finding the soul's path. In dressage we discover that love is the primary catalyst for the soul's ascension." --Sherry Ackerman, PhD

Sketch of woman riding palomino in a dressage test

Here is another gem from the book: "I remember one day, after several years of study, when my teacher said 'Riding dressage is not like playing tennis. You can make your body learn the techniques and make your head learn the movements, but the dressage comes from inside of you. You really need to develop your inner life.' This was a turning point for me: I made the quantum leap in my conscious process. I began to understand that people rode according to the way they were mentally, emotionally and spiritually."

Horses are incredibly sensitive almost to the point of being mystically present. They feel our moods. They intuit our emotions. They know when we are truly with them. We can ride with precision and technically perfect but if our hearts are not properly aligned with theirs the ride will be 'off'.

I leave you with this:

"...aesthetic process, irrespective of product, is the critical factor in one's experience of the beautiful."

Enjoy the journey - in art, in collaborations, in all of your meaningful pursuits!

palomino enjoying green grass under a beautiful tree

** I am sorry to report that this book is no longer in print, but can be found from time to time online. It is well worth it to seek out.

1 comment

1 comentário

29 de mar.

Wonderful insights.

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