Wellness with Horses

The Dressage Grid & Creative Structure


Tuesday night I watched a video from Karen Rohlf in her Upward Spiral of Successful Gymnastics Course. The video was on easily setting up a Dressage arena, and practicing thinking about the “Dressage grid”.

If you’ve been reading my posts you know that I struggle with the balance between structure/consistency/discipline and creativity/spontaneity/intuitive feel (with my tendency being more skewed toward the latter). This can be a lovely problem in some regards, but in many ways also prevents me from improving–without structure or consistency, practice and learning jumps around a bit from topic to topic.

Karen reminded me the importance of riding in a geometric space–something I don’t currently use but could easily set up. This time, though, I had more insight.

The Residual Strain Therapy (gentle fascial therapy) I’m learning is very mathematic. It involves vectors, lines, and angles. I can remember the distinct moment I realized that I was essentially applying feel to math. The thought fascinated me, and it suddenly opened up this new world where math–structure and accuracy–could live with art–flow, variables, and feel. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s an easy thing to mesh the two, but now that I’m interested and personally invested, I know I’ll get it eventually.

As Karen was describing the geometry of the Dressage arena, the ability to see the grid from any point in space, and the ability to know your exact location, I began to think of the possibilities that would open up if you could speak to your horses about flow, feel, and accuracy. Suddenly the Dressage arena opened up like a map (I love maps), and instead of a space of confinement, it became a space of innumerable possibilities.

Karen’s view gave a different way to look at the same old coffee cup–the same thing I’ve been looking at most of the year: the ability to find Creative Structure.

For the first time ever, I’m excited to ride in an arena–let the games begin.

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