"Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all," wrote Shakespeare. Such words could not be more true than when applied to the sport of dressage--an ancient art still passionately pursued, and one dependent on a rare and delicate balance of truth and honesty between rider and horse.
It is the nature of humans to fall victim to temptations; to sway beneath the considerable pressures of our modern societies; to yield to urges, desires, wants, and "needs." We recognize this in our day-to-day actions, and forgive ourselves regularly for trespasses inherent to motivations common to the twenty-first-century experience, such as ambition, power, money, and success.
But when we swing into the saddle in search of a riding epiphany, when we choose dressage as our means of establishing meaning and partnership in our life, a moment's weakness can forever breach fragile trust.
Therefore, as riders, it is our foremost responsibility to routinely self-examine our reasons for riding, our reactions to our horse both in and out of the saddle, as well as our emotional state and capability for self-control. We must be aware of symptoms indicative of the Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage, and we should be prepared to deny them entry in a world where our horse's welfare trumps all else.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Dressage--Ignorance, Timidity, Pride, Fear, Impatience, Anger, and Immoderation--are sadly so commonplace within the horse industry as to often fail to capture our attention. And so it is the hope that this book, a passionate exploration of human nature and the necessity that it be meticulously controlled and cultivated when another living being is involved (in this case, the horse), will serve to shine light on the errors of our ways. Once acknowledged, weaknesses can indeed be overcome with the steps outlined within, and thus our dream of riding with honesty, truth, and brilliance will not be in vain.