Is our practice sustainable?
Is our practice honorable?
A little quiet time after the Holiday gives me time to write the last post about my trip to Portugal in September.
The days were filled with visiting the breeding farms and trainers and filled, too, with good food. But I had a special afternoon at Senhor Manuel Veiga’s Quinta da Broa. They were putting the finishing touches on a spectacular new picadeiro. It is constructed in the old foundation out of native and local materials. It is absolutely stunning. Parabens Quinta da Broa!
But the extra special thing was getting to see an original copy of Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere’s Ecole de Cavalerie. I’ve seen framed prints from the book and have read the reprints, but it was amazing to hold the original and leaf through page after page of the marvelous etchings.
I also learned that my old friend and dear friend of my Mestre, Nuno Oliveira, Dom Diogo de Bragança, had compiled a library of hundreds of the best and most rare books on the equestrian art. I hope that someone will recognize the value of keeping that library intact. It is a treasure beyond measuring for lovers of true horsemanship and classical dressage.
Thoughts turn to the future now. We are looking forward to celebrating a Holiday filled with family, with friends, and our horses. We’ll be developing the lecture series for the Symposium in February (click the link above to register now and get a great rate at the Dry Creek Inn!). Wishing you and yours a holiday filled with an abundance of love and compassion.
We are so excited to let you know that there is an exclusive excerpt from The Alchemy of Lightness in the October issue of Dressage Today! So go grab the magazine….and then order your book! They will be available, right here on the blog, beginning November 1! You can pre-order yours by clicking the title tab on top of this page. Thank you!
It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of an extraordinary woman, a dear friend and mentor, Mrs. Molly Sivewright, FBHS, DBHS. She touched so many lives, human and equine. This brushes the sadness aside to allow gratitude to take its place. Though I am certain my voice is one among many thousands to express my condolences, it is important for me to acknowledge the early teaching she so generously gave to me.
Early in my riding career I was a little misdirected in my goals. I wanted to be as good a rider, technically, as I could be. I developed tricks to train horses better and more quickly (I thought), but the results were temporary. Then one morning I was given a special horse to ride, a beautiful and refined mare named Golden Celadon.
For two weeks it was a complete disaster. There was no mental communication between us, nor could I take physical hold of her. I used all my tricks, one by one, with no success. Her mind was on everything, everywhere, but not with me.
After a long period, Mrs. Sivewright (whom I was sure had been watching every failure of mine) asked if I wanted some help. YES! I replied. She said, simply, “walk around the fields and listen to the birds.” This made me a little angry, but I would have done anything at this point, so off I went.
The fields were large, but Mrs. Sivewright made certain I went around twice, listening to the birds. The mare’s walk was much calmer than before. And after a time she said “for whatever you want, just ask politely”. The mare and I quickly bonded and she led me to many more discoveries.
This set the stage for all the understanding and growth I would access later in Portugal with Mestre Oliveira. But Mrs. Sivewright was the first person to speak to me about another way of riding, a clearer, non ego-based riding. A riding based on calm, polite, mental communication. I have never forgotten those lessons and they helped form the base of much of my riding philosophy. I will be eternally grateful.