Eddo Hoekstra is the living proof of Carl Jung’s phrase: “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Yesterday I wrote about Eddo (When Life Hands You Lemons) and how he did not descend into a sludge of despondency but has made lemonade out of a particularly brutal onslaught of lemons in his life. When I spoke with Eddo I could see why he is so popular as an equestrian clinician. Eddo’s discipline is dressage but his words can apply to any riding discipline and in fact to life itself. Here are some of Eddo’s mottos and his explanations of their meaning.
Control less. Create more. “I ask my students to focus on bringing things to life rather than controlling the horse. Controlling is not building a team.”
If you want your horse to listen closely you’ve got to learn to speak softly.
Horses watch everything ALL the time. “This is a feature that comes standard with every horse. That is part of how they survived. It is their survival instinct and they pay attention or they would be lunch for some other animal. We can use this feature in our training.”
Let the horse move you. “Start with the walk. Letting the horse move you results in a supple lower back and looser hips. This stays through trot and canter. You must let the horse move you to get in synch with the horse. When the horse and rider are synchronized that is the ‘pretty picture’.”
Do like I do not like I say. ” The horse watches and responds to your behavior.”
Dressage is a unity of opposites. ” People want a relationship with their horse, with something that is the opposite of a human. Humans are predators and horses are prey animals. When it is done well the results are beautiful.
Dressage is the dance of a prey and a predator.
Anyone can put an idea in your head but only you can put it in your heart.
- featured photo of Anne Leueen and Biasini by Connie Gee*