Beyond the Mirrors: Review

Serena Williams will never try to “understand” her racquet! Jordan Speith will not be trying to develop a “spiritual relationship” with his putter.  Manchester United is a team made up entirely of humans who can speak to one another and be spoken to by their coach. The relationship between a horse and rider is completely different from any of these.  This is a team made up of a human and an equine. Two different species.  There is no other sport in existence that is like this.

If you are not a rider and not even interested in horses don’t click the “back” button just yet. There maybe something for you here.

Riding is not just about putting your leg here and your hand there and expecting the horse will respond like a machine. That is the road to frustration and disappointment. So how is the rider to go about communicating with the horse?

‘Beyond the Mirrors’ by Jill Keiser Hassler is a book that looks into the relationship between a horse and rider in way that goes far beyond a “how to ride” book.  In dressage arenas, there are mirrors; mirrors so the rider can see how he looks on the horse, is his position correct, and how does the horse look, is the frame right, the poll high enough etc. etc.

“The rider must journey beyond the image he sees in the mirror in search of his ‘inner harmony’ and a spiritual unity between himself and his horse. It is only when he finds it that the image can approach perfect beauty and harmony.”

This small book is a treasure trove of suggestions and ideas that will help the rider attain the goal of harmony and understanding with their horse. Jill Hassler starts with goals both mental and spiritual and then moves on to discussing the “two creatures”; horse and man.  She gives the reader the resources needed for this journey: observation, love, energy, commitment, patience, forgiveness and concentration.

Then she outlines the things necessary for the “Journey to Beyond”: attitude, awareness, expectations, confrontation, humble superiority, communication, responsibility relaxation and trust.  Finally, the last section “Beyond the Mirrors” talks of inner-harmony, spiritual unity, and natural beauty.

To give you an idea of the style of this valuable little book here are some more quotes.

Commitment to your horse assures that you will give him your total attention, understanding, care and love. Your commitment to your horsemanship goal will be meaningless unless it is accompanied by a commitment to your horse.”

“Your attitude is your point of view toward yourself, your horse and the world. Your attitude determines whether you can learn and grow from your experiences. Having a positive attitude toward life is a necessary first step along your journey.”

“Learn to live for today, keeping in mind your future goal. Do not worry about the consequences of any incomplete or negative past experience. Even a negative experience can lead to positive growth if you evaluate it and record the results positively in your brain. Remember, your horse lives for the moment. His mind is not cluttered with the past or the future.”  

And finally……

“The horse’s beauty, given to him by God, must be maintained. It is not our right to destroy this beauty to create a creature of our own design.  As we develop our own inner-harmony and our spiritual unity with the horse, we come to recognize that the horse’s full, natural beauty can emerge only without most tactful, understanding and patient care. We are the custodians not the creators, of his beauty.

This small book is a gem and I think that it would have value for any reader, horse person or not. But for those of us who are riders and want to do our best for and with our horses this is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.





20 responses to “Beyond the Mirrors: Review”

  1. Avatar

    I really adore your post. I read your site fairly often and you’re constantly coming out with some great
    items. I discussed this on my FB and my followers only loved it.
    Keep up the good work!


  2. Nurul Fitri Lubis Avatar

    I love the quotes you have, Anne. To be positive and live the moments. I just rode horse once, i didn’t even do it myself, the owner walked and directed the horse next to me. I must admit that I was a bit afraid that time. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have any connection with the horse. But, following your blog, I’m thinking to give myself a chance again..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I’m happy to hear that! I think you should give it a try. You are an adventurer and riding a horse could be a new adventure for you.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. fearlessinjesuschrist Avatar

    I’ve heard it said that a number 5 horse and a number 4 rider will beat out a number one horse and rider if their connection is deeper.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      It is hard to beat a horse that wants to work with its rider and give 100%. That is the connection for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Elizabeth (HorseLover4Ever) Avatar
    Elizabeth (HorseLover4Ever)

    Sounds like just a wonderful book…thank you so much for sharing; I am definitely going to try to get this book. ❤ Also, I love your insight on riding—how many times I wish people would stop treating horses like they are a machine, like they are all the exact same, like they have no feeling and like they are supposed to respond to everything perfectly…. THANK YOU!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you for tis comment. I could not agree more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 Avatar

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. sandyjwhite Avatar

    It sounds like riding at its best is a joining of souls.
    I bet you can feel when you and Biasini are “in the zone” so to speak.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Yes I can feel it when we are “in the zone”. It can be a fleeting moment but it is what we strive for. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. sandyjwhite Avatar

        You are welcome, Anne.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Sadaf Siddiqi Avatar
    Sadaf Siddiqi

    So true, learn to live for today!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      We can learn a lot from horses. They understand us much better than we think!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Avery Avatar

    oooooooooooooooo ❤ have to have!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      I’m not sure it is still in print but you could find a 2nd hand copy through Amazon. My copy came originally from a library in Wisconsin.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Avery Avatar

        I bought a used copy off Amazon! I think it was a library book too!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. sunnydaysinseattle Avatar

    Fascinating things we could learn from these wonderful creatures. I’ve only ridden once and even through that brief interaction I got to learn so much about the horse I rode and she’s such a beauty with character. I was so captivated by her that I felt sad leaving her and for a while I still
    check the staple’s social media page in search of her. It’s unforgettable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you for sharing this encounter. They are wonderful animals and great teachers.

      Liked by 2 people

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