Friday, November 30, 2012

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension

" On Sunday I rode Nitter and she really is responding to my new seat.  I was practicing working trot so I can strengthen my legs/seat. Nitter exploded into a beautiful extended trot all on her own, or if I asked her, I am not sure what I was perfect.  Her rhythm never faltered, her withers rose, her head was up and her face perfectly parallel to the ground, her shoulders were going out as far as physically possible, and she was not leaning on the bit at all.  I could feel all the energy of the aids through my seat and my hands, truly the 'circle of aids' actually coming through and me feeling it...there was so much energy I could barely sit and had to post so as not to disturb her perfect balance. I put her on the rail and just let her go! What a remarkable horse!  We were transformed into our own space and time, and we were as one.  I never had such a feeling on a horse before."     ---Linda Schaap

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: New Book Released!

Spiritual Adventures with Horse was released today! This is a really magnificent book. I am pleased and proud to have been a contributor. I wrote Chapter Nine, The Tao Dance: A Yoga of Two.

I wrote about two special horses in my life. My chapter starts out:

"He was big, black, bold, and beautiful. She was white and wonderful. They were yin and yang – and each had a little dot of the other. And, they danced their way into my life as keepers of the Gateless Gate. Each of them sat on opposite sides of that Gate, like Fu Lions. And, lions they were: because each of them danced ferociously."

Check out the book to read the rest of it....and the other contributor's chapters, too. They are all really inspiring and uplifting. Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Comments

Comments from a recent Dressage in the Fourth Dimension Workshop:

"How often have you had a clinic where you had an amazing ride, and then wished you had the chance to bounce ideas about it off the clinician, or off the auditors? I think everyone wishes for that discussion time with a clinician after they ride, and we never get it."

"Sherry's 3 day workshops are THE most amazing experiences. The best way to learn how to ride your horse! We do yoga, to detect where our inflexibilities and one sidenesses are, and to feel what our horses feel when we ask them to do movements. Sherry talks us though each movement and what that movement would be for a horse, and what muscles we use, and they use, and what inhibits them, etc,etc,etc. Totally totally amazing. "

"We meditate (or for many of us, we are learning to) to slooowwww our minds to a place that horses live in (alpha, rather than the everyday, here and now "beta" which is where we live, but a horse only goes to beta for fight or flight). We do hours of textbook dressage theory with our awesome workbooks, we do Q&A, and then we spend the afternoon riding and practicing it all. Truly an amazing experience."

"Thank you Sherry...for choosing this path to teach us to be thinking riders!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Building Community!

One of the goals in the Dressage in the Fourth Dimension clinics is building community and developing supportive networks among clinic participants. The work definitely encourages deep partnership between the riders and their horses....but it also creates conditions for establishing partnerships among the participants, as well.

In many traditional dressage settings, there is an undertone of competitiveness. It can be subtle, but it's there. Our Fourth Dimension work discourages this and encourages full cooperation, mutuality and inclusion. It asks participants to facilitate one another's growth and transformation.

This process was really obvious at a recent clinic when I watched all of the clinic participants work together to provide compassionate support and friendship to a member who was not able to be there due to serious illness. Everyone cared, everyone chipped in to send a beautiful gift of Love. It was a palpable demonstration of the words: "...the fourth dimension allows waves of Love to funnel through us..." (pg. 99, Dressage in the Fourth Dimension).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension on The Horse Show!

My Dressage in the Fourth Dimension interview with Rick Lamb, on The Horse Show, aired this weekend! Click and enjoy!

The Horse Show, with Rick Lamb, is a magazine-style program dealing with all-things-equine! Rick is a great interviewer and his enthusiasm for horses and riding really shine through. And, Rick is an equine author, too, having written the modern classic, The Revolution in Horsemanship, with Dr. Robert M. Miller. He was fun to talk to and I think that you will enjoy listening to our conversation!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Testimonial

Just finished up the First Dimension clinic in Maryland. WOW! What an experience. It was thought-provoking, emotional, thrilling, stimulating, and meditative all at the same time!

I also rode in an individual session on Monday, which was totally awesome as we drilled down into some work that would have been difficult in the group situation. Shad felt so light and fluid - it was amazing. I thought he was pretty tired, but once he got home and I put him out in the field, he galloped around, rounding up his buddy - they looked so beautiful running and playing in the field. So I think he had a great time too and is feeling wonderful.

--Kyrie Garrettson, Maryland

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Testimonial

I want to tell you what a difference your clinic made in my riding, and my whole life! It’s really interesting to see how not only my relationship with my horses have changed but my relationships with everyone around me has also! I’m a new person, I’ve stepped out side of my comfort zone and into life!

--Amy Sheehy, New York

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Testimonial

"Dr. Sherry Ackerman, author of the inspirational book Dressage in the Fourth Dimension returned to the Lower Mainland recently for a clinic. Mentored by Egon von Neindorff and Dr. Henri van Schaik, Sherry is a leading proponent of dressage as a philosophical, spiritual and artistic practice.

The clinic combined yoga, which Sherry relates directly to riding and also to the challenges we ask of our horse, particularly in lateral work; lectures on the finer points of classical vs. competitive dressage (as a professor of philosophy and psychology, her erudite, but very clear explanations are compelling); and riding sessions which emphasize suppleness and softness using only our position, seat and tiny internal muscles we didn't know existed (epsom salts). It is all about very careful and respectful development of the horse.

Sherry teaches throughout the U.S. and Europe (and happily now in B.C.) where her intellect, her warm and enthusiastic encouragement for students at all levels, and her wicked sense of humor create magical and often very moving experiences for participants, and this inevitably leads to a deeper relationship with our equine partners."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Testimonials on the Clinics

"Sherry is an outstanding instructor . She is incredibly gifted in her ability to convey messages and help a rider learn to feel and understand the concepts and theories in dressage. This time around I watched all four days of the clinic, intently studying each of the 10 rides in each day. I saw wonderful improvements in every horse/rider pair, and riders with smiles. Sherry has superior teaching skills and this pairs nicely with her comprehensive knowledge of dressage training. She teaches her riders to reflect on who they are as individuals and then to have a keen awareness of what this brings into their riding. I feel this is an important component and so often overlooked."

--Kristin Grosso

"Sherry Ackerman brings a perspective and a passion to dressage that is rare and because of it's rarity is that much more valuable for any dressage rider and student. Sherry's commitment to establishing and building of the relationship between the horse and rider to form an inviolable partnership is unique, and is key to becoming a dancing partner with a horse. She has been schooled and trained in the established and proven German philosophy of dressage training and riding by many of the 'masters' themselves, and brings that proven foundation to each of the riders who have the opportunity to work with Sherry. It is our great fortune to have Sherry as a part of our dressage world. Her recent clinic in our area and the clear and obvious advances that each of her riders and students made personifies the good that Sherry has to bring to our sport and passion for dressage and our horses."

--Susan Baranski

"I LOVED her. She has a keen eye and a very expressive and down to earth style of teaching. Her understanding of the Spanish horse is absolutely what I needed -- although, I imagine that she is just as insightful with any breed. I felt that she understood my challenges, immediately recognized my short-comings and, without being insulting, brought me back to my senses! I positively intend to practice the pearls of wisdom she threw before me."

--Joanne Bonano

"Sherry returned this time with her usual emphasis-helping the riders into a better and more effective position and use of the aids - with typical astounding results! She's the best I've ever seen at improving a rider."

--Jeff Lindberg

"Sherry is an amazing clinician and we all came away inspired by her uncanny way of infusing comedy with the ups and downs of dressage. She reminded us all that we are still supposed to have fun. She was very helpful in my quest to sit the trot after having my back injected and the collected work with my horse Ritter was just amazing. He has never been so light and responsive."

--Ann Sanders

"Riding with Sherry Ackerman during the recent ENYDCTA clinic was a (riding) life-changing experience for me. The two rides I had and watching Sherry teach other riders improved my riding and understanding of dressage 300%. For the first time I can perform an effective half-halt and actually change my horse's balance. She takes the complex and makes it simple!"

--Victoria Hurewitz

“As an auditor, Sherry helped me understand the position of the body (ie: pelvis, muscles of the stomach) for the sitting trot which has alluded me for a number of years. Sherry also helped me understand what a correct bend is. I was also able to watch more advanced riders come to grips with the level of contact, in all gaits. I recommend all of Sherry’s clinics."

--Libbie Beauchamp

"Sherry's clinic was a wonderful combination of solid riding principles and humor-relaxing the rider, while magically changing their horses! A must for the rider who truly loves horses and aspires to become one with them."

--Nancy DiCerbo

Monday, May 10, 2010

Workbooks From the Spanish Riding School

Here are some lovely quotes from Workbooks From The Spanish Riding School (1948-1951) by Charles Harris:

"All the old arts are new when discovered by each individual for the first time."

"Energy is both mental and physical exhilaration."

"Relaxation cannot be confused with fatigue."

"The higher the head carriage in the canter, the more the horse can spring under the rider in a clear, correct gait and tempo."

"Horses can resist correct extension on staight lines by stiffening the spine lengthwise, but not on a circle."

"Almost anyone can do the exercises in a complicated bit, but it takes an artist to do the simplest exercies, correctly and accurately, in a simple bit."

"For dressage to be an ART there must be an equal balance and consistency on both reins."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension is not 'market driven'. It's not about what the 'market' wants. It's about the work that, after three decades of teaching dressage, I know needs to be done.

"While it's true that economic survival depends in large part upon providing society with what it wants, we all have beliefs as to what is good and what is bad in terms of what the world wants. Not paying attention to your beliefs and indiscriminately providing what the world wants can cause a lack of self-respect and well-being. It is called an absence of integrity."

Bruce Levine, Ph.D., Surviving American's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy, p. 120.

The 'world' wants blue ribbons, accolades and awards. But, the work that really needs to be done is:

"Mentally, the horse must perform every exercise we ask without fear and with confidence. He must not have a 'mind of his own,' bolting and shying or galloping off, but he must not go around dull or dispirited or in constant worry of the rider, protecting himself by going behind the bit or not freely stepping forward...They must trust the rider completely, from the handling in the stall through daily work, at shows, and when we introduce new ideas." (Italics added.)

Walter Zettl, Dressage in Harmony, pg 86.

This is Dressage in the Fourth Dimension!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: New World Library

Visit my fresh, new, interactive Author Page with New World Library. It's full of great Author Resources: discussions, articles and links to get you truly Unleashed! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from Singapore

I have completed Dressage in the Fourth Dimension this morning and must applaud, cheer, namaste to you with awed gratitude! You have truly written and connected from a transcended dimension and in doing so, opened an understanding that allowed me to "get back on the horse" for I had fallen so far and so darkly off. Now I can, again, respect "the horse", trust "the horse", and love "the horse", my life, my body, my marriage. Any "other" is "the horse" with which to practice the art of love and beauty, harmony and integration...with an infinite joy de vivre! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this book! --Marianne Boyer, Singapore

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from Northern California

The words "Thank you" just do not carry enough meaning or weight to express the gratitude that I feel for our work together. Our lessons this week have left me so inspired and I feel such a higher level of understanding of my horse. I learn more with you in one hour than I learn with other instructors in a month! I am just thrilled. You are so amazing. You bring out the strength of Nitters and her kindness by teaching me how to ask her for what I want more correctly and subtly. Tonight when I let her out of her stall she galloped for several minutes in the pasture, even after our intense work out! I believe she feels the same positive energy that I do.

-- Linda Schaap, Redding, CA

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from Central California

"The Central California Dressage in the Fourth Dimension clinic was so awesome, Sherry. It really tied things all together in a coherent framework - Integrated it you might say. Seriously I cannot think of a situation where I learned so much in such a short time. Stuff that I continue to use every time I ride. " --Karla Lund, San Francisco, CA

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: More Comments

AUGUST 13-16, 2010 Spring Brook Farm, Maryland

This was a most AMAZING clinic! We began with an evening of "meet and greet" the riders and the auditors, followed by an exciting lecture delivered by Dr. Sherry Ackerman. We were all mesmerized by her presentation, and the humor and candor of Dr. Ackerman. The readings from her powerful book Dressage in the Fourth Dimension were indications of the dedication and gentle persistence of the riding experience.

The clinic experience was thorough and detailed. We began each day with a yoga session and meditation. These sessions drove home the point that we, as riders, need to have an empathy with our mounts for the difficulty of balance, bending, and self-carriage! The extraordinary movements we "demand" they perform can only be accomplished if we, also, have the physical abilities, knowledge, and stamina! Stretching never felt so all-consuming!

The riding experience was fulfilling, detailed, and extraordinary in its self-awareness! Riders became more accomplished in their own balance, in how to self-correct, and in how to influence the horse to be more balanced and supple through lovely and quiet exercises.

The rest of each day included lectures focusing on the groups and on the seat, legs, and hands, and how to use the rider mind, body, psyche, and spirit to ride fully and with a complete dedication to the powerful beauty of the horse. In return, each and every horse became focused, compliant and collected without physical force! A joy to watch.

Each day was rewarding and riders followed methodical and crystal-clear pathways to using their riding aides. The horses became obviously proud of their abilities and rewarded all their riders with more enhanced ways of moving! We all were amazed at the changes among all the horses and the riders. Auditors were completely involved through hands on demos, and so many notes and discussions and readings!

This was a clinic of wonderful immersion and inspiring instruction. All riders, auditors, and horses were forever changed.

Information is available for other clinics through Tiffany Moritz:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Testimonials on the Clinics

I have been very pleased with this Season's Dressage in the Fourth Dimension Introductory Clinics around the US and Canada. Here are some comments that have recently come in from participants in these clinics:

"I can't believe how strongly the concept of the four bodies were linked with the workshop you gave this week-end - how refreshing to have such a complete approach to dressage and riding. Another aspect, I have noticed is how well balanced you are, in your own bodies (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual). I can't express to you how deep the understanding of the five triangles in the body when opened and toned as you have taught us can make a difference while riding but also in all areas of my life. I was meditating this morning on the one in the neck - very powerful to help align the other ones. I shall study with you again, it is rare to meet someone as integrated as you are, except perhaps, the horses !"

"This was an amazing clinic where I had the chance to surpass myself. In 3 days, I regained my confidence and got my mojo back! What an awesome opportunity! What I loved was the integration of understandings from different fields of study. I also really appreciated the meticulous break-down of all of the riding aids. Now I can be more conscious when applying them."

"Sherry absolutely has what it takes to teach such an integrated clinic. The days were thoroughly planned so that everything was flowing almost by itself. I had lessons of yoga, meditation, philosophy and psychology. And of course, there were the lessons with dressage riding and theory. All off this was put together in a way that allowed me go even deeper in my understanding of relating to horses and riding dressage."

" All of the information from your Fourth Dimension clinic is branded into me, its amazing."

"That whole weekend was life changing.....and so transformational!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from British Columbia

I have just returned from presenting a fabulous Dressage in the Fourth Dimension Introductory Mounted Clinic in British Columbia. I am blown away by how effective this clinic format is! The change in every single rider's position, administration of the aids, and technical just three days....was sensational. And, the integral fabric of seeing dressage holistically really gives the work a leg up. Old patterns change, empowerment sets in...and things begin to happen. It is so exciting to be working with people all over the US and Canada with this program. Here are some of the comments from the British Columbia clinic:
  • "It is so great that you're offering such a positive message and a "new" way of riding with the four dimensions.
  • "Sherry is a GREAT instructor! She walks her talk. Get her to come back!"
  • "This was exactly what I was looking for--for both my horse and myself."
  • "The combination of all: the body, mind, spirit and psyche really works!"
  • "Sherry made clear in one weekend what I have been trying to figure out for over 30 years!"
  • "I gained an awareness that I have formerly only dreamed of."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from Norway

Elise Fageras, from Oslo, Norway, completed the Dressage in the Fourth Dimension Introductory training this week at ShasTao in Mount Shasta, CA. It was a terrific four days of affirming that dressage really IS an international language! The training approached all four "bodies" that a rider brings to the horse: the physical, mental, psychological (emotional) and spiritual. By working holistically, we shared visible and measurable progress each day with the dressage. These Introductory Fourth Dimension clinics really pack alot of punch!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Feedback from Quebec

We have just completed a really fabulous Dressage in the Fourth Dimension Introductory mounted certification clinic in Quebec, at Ecurie Royale. Everything was perfect....we did yoga and meditation outside in the sunshine, held our lectures under a canopy of shade trees and rode in the lovely indoor arenas. Everyone came away with new things to work on and a much deeper understanding of how their bodies, minds, emotions and spirits all work together to ride dressage. These clinics are really sensational! Here are some comments from the clinic:
  • "I found the element that was missing for me - i.e. the spiritual body."
  • "Another aspect I have noticed is how well balanced you are."
  • "I can't express to you how deep the understanding of the triangles and the core open-ness and toning has been for me. "
  • "I experienced that is really is the rider's Seat and Position that put the horse on the bit."
  • "Viewing dressage holistically helped me break through my blocks. I have never ridden better!"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Horses for Life

Horses for Life magazine has featured a very nice interview with Dr. Sherry L. Ackerman and her ideas about Dressage in the Fourth Dimension. This is a super ezine that has many interesting and pertinent articles for curious, conscious equestrians. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Zazen

How boring to sit idly on the floor,
Not meditating, not breaking through.

Look at the horses racing along
The Kamo River!
That's zazen!

- Daito (1282-1334)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: The Archetype of the Horse

"One of Plato's critics once stated, 'I see particular horses, but not horseness'. Plato answered, 'That is because you have eyes, but no intelligence'. The archetypal Horse, which gives form to all horses, is to Plato a more fundamental reality than the particular horses, which are merely specific instances of the Horse, embodiments of that Form. As such, the archetype is apparent not so much to the limited physical senses, though these can suggest and lead the way, as to the more penetrating eye of the soul, the illuminated intellect. Archetypes reveal themselves more to the inner perception than to the outer."

--Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Book Review

The following review was written by Dr. Candice Quinn of Southern Pines, North Carolina:

No one who has anxiously awaited the re-issue of Sherry Ackerman's Dressage in the Fourth Dimension has been disappointed. To be able to add this small gem, now with the extra premium of Linda Kohanov's Foreward, to one's library is a privilege as well as being provided with a constant source of profound insights. This volume, then and now, is at once a welcome addition to the body of exploratory interpretations of dressage artistry; and a unique and singular vision of contemplative philosophic reflections set within a poetic discourse. The philosophic tenets presented, however, are not abstractions or disinterested conceptualizations. In an act of great courage Ackerman shares with the reader a strongly subjective exegesis which carries and conveys her own deeply felt, experientially validated, convictions. In her articulation not of the 'techne' of dressage, but of its 'ousia', its substantive essence, Ackerman invites what will be for many a radical revisioning of standard approaches to dressage orthodoxy. The author's mastery of particular philosophic traditions and her willingness to breach the conventions of discipline-specific boundaries lends the work breadth and profound originality. The book's conceptual approach embodies authorial integrity as well. As an advocate of the ultimate unity and universality of knowledge Ackerman's work expresses an affinity of the feel and appreciation of the artistry of dressage with the sense of harmonic, cyclical (ascent-descent-ascent) unity sought by many of the greatest philosophic/spiritual traditions. The suggestion that the aesthetic dimension of dressage, entered into with a true heart, an 'eros,' contains within it the potential for an ascent to a higher level of consciousness invites the rider to journey beyond a narrow focus on technological methods to a place where individual members of vastly different species may meet and dance together in perfect harmony. Fourth Dimension is a wholly engaging work because the author is so wholly engaged in her subject; and it is an inspirational work because the author remains inspired by the creative energy of parts seeking to be whole, and of spirit seeking to manifest as beauty. My first reading of this work, many years ago now, informed, enlightened and liberated my own approach to riding and granted me permission to express a felt intuitive awareness of the transformative potential of riding well, that is, in a spirit of love and appreciation. Year after year I had received technical instruction in the craft of dressage but I knew there was more. Ackerman's integrative approach and symbolic idiom allowed me to enter fully into my own convictions concerning the true nature of the horse-rider alliance and provided a high voltage articulation for my own deeply felt impressions. I recommend this book to any rider who, perhaps secretly, harbors uncertain or enigmatic notions touching on the essentials of riding dressage; or who desires to ride from within the unfolding process; or who yearns to unite their own appreciation of harmony and symmetry with their horse's joy of rhythm in movement - read and be inspired.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Happy Winter Holidays!

Happy Winter Holidays from the Fourth Dimension! Whip Jane Piereth and passenger Jec Ballou (author, 101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider and Equine Fitness) are enjoying a morning sleigh ride here in Mount Shasta...sitting behind a Morgan horse, of course!

"Even that old horse
is something to see this
snow-covered morning"
--Basho (1644 –1694)

May this deep-winter period of quiet darkness replenish and sustain you all. Go joyfully into the silence of the long nights and reconnect with the ancient wisdom. Let Spirit speak! Listen closely and find what gifts this new year has to offer you. Limitless potential...abundant opportunity and, of course, gratitude!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: The Beginning

I entered the Fourth Dimension, literally, one blustery afternoon in 1993. Let me explain… a small child, I had a mystical consciousness. I experienced Oneness as a matter of course. My parents, though, thought that this awareness was immature and childish and, subsequently, thought that ‘good parenting’ involved guiding me away from these ideas. My parents, mainstream community, schools, colleges and graduate institutes all did their part; well intentioned, albeit mistaken, to condition my thinking toward materialistic, dualistic values and beliefs. By 1993, I was a fully conditioned person. In looking back, I can see that I was ego-identified, exteriorized and enculturated. I, though, was clueless, thinking that everything was right on target. In retrospect, however, I can see that I was sadly derailed! One Wintery late afternoon in 1993, I was riding a particularly difficult young horse in my quiet indoor arena through the figures of the manege, when, out of nowhere, I was struck, as if with a lightening bolt, with Pure Awareness. I felt Love pulsating throughout me and I felt as if I was a whole new being. I fused completely with the horse and we were One. There was nothing left of me, and equally nothing left of him. We just Were. Pure Presence. Consciousness. There was only The Moment. I remember, though, wondering what would happen when I dismounted….but what happened was that I continued to see the whole world this way. The boundaries were gone, duality resolved. There was no right and wrong, no male and female, no night and day. I remember, again, wondering what would happen when I had dinner with my family that night. But, I was visibly transformed. My children asked me why I was “glowing”. Love. Finally, I remember wondering if I would feel like this forever….and, for the past 15 years, I have. Sometimes the Light glows softly and sometimes it bursts into full flame, but it is always there. Nothing about my human existence has ever been the same….and all this, thanks to a difficult horse on a late Winter afternoon. Right Here, Right Now!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: What IS the Fourth Dimension Anyways?

What IS the Fourth Dimension Anyways?

Horses are pure…unconditioned by consensual reality, the Maya. They are Present, in The Moment. They have not been conditioned by the strictly third-dimensional sphere of material existence and, consequently, they operate in a higher dimension of existence, a fourth dimension of spirit. This is the lesson that horses offer anyone who wishes to honestly communicate with them. When horse and rider work intimately in this fourth dimension, a creative-zero-point opens up in which consciousness and unconsciousness become momentarily unified. This provides the rider with an opportunity to merge with unitary reality, wherein there is no permanence, because all is transformation. In the fourth dimension, the rider escapes the prison of time and the limitations of ego-bound consciousness. S/he accepts that s/he is spirit, realizing his or her own immortality and, consequently, freedom.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Endorsement from Linda Benedik

"Dressage in the Fourth Dimension is invaluable for the modern equestrian who seeks to understand the essence of riding and pursue a classical education in the art of dressage. To experience a true manifestation of union or yoga with the horse, Sherry Ackerman’s work inspires dressage artists to cultivate a humble approach and take responsibility for integrating mind-body-spirit-horse. In so doing, she reemphasizes that a rider’s greatest life-lessons and source of fulfillment are found in the journey…not the end result."

Linda Benedik, author of Longeing the Rider for a Perfect Seat, Yoga for Equestrians, and the Yoga & Riding Techniques video series.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Endorsement from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

"Dressage in the Fourth Dimension offers us an important piece in building a complete picture of the horse. Sherry Ackerman convincingly articulates the weighty main message of this book: horses have the ability to either liberate us or hurt us."

"Sherry offers the reader an abundance of valuable, coherant and considered thinking, inspiring and encouraging learning in how to distinguish one from the other. She also describes empathetically, on different levels, how we humans can approach the horse in an holistic way mindful of the cultural, natural and symbolic aspects the horse shows us."

--Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Statement of Philosophy

We all need to stop talking about classical equestrian ideals….that just makes us dressage fundamentalists. Be Here, Now. We’re not stuck in the boxes created by previous century masters. This is not the Renaissance…it is This Moment. The art de vivre is alive…and so are our horses. Trying to ride dressage from your head kills it…and when dressage dies, so does the horse.

You don’t ride a theory…a method…or a style. You ride the horse…and it is you that does the riding. It is not “your body”. You are more than just your body….and, when you ride the the horse, s/he is extremely affected by you. No-one can teach you how to ride. No-one can tell you what to do. All a good teacher can do is be a finger pointing at the Moon.

Dressage is the Moon. I can point you toward it, but that is all. You have to find it on your own. We each own our individual experiences. Until we stop insisting that a teacher do it for us…and begin to find it on our own….we are like caged rats. I see students run from teacher to teacher…book to book….video to video….in a search for dressage. What they don’t do is feel, experience, gestalt. Until the student really rides….from within…s/he will remain the caged rat. Ride, ride, ride until your sense of feel wakes up. Get out of your head and into YOU. Deconstruct everything that you have ever been taught and reconstruct it as you experience it. Own it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Book Announcement

This book represents an incredible act of courage and vision. In 1997, when Dressage in the Fourth Dimension was originally published, bestsellers like Susan Chernak McElroy’s Animals as Teachers and Healers and Monty Roberts’ The Man Who Listens to Horses were a couple of years away from becoming bestsellers.

At that time, those of us who did, in fact, see horses as sentient beings, and even as teachers and healers, kept quiet about it for the most part. To say that you were riding for any reason other than sport or recreation was suspect. The phrase “horse lover” was applied with disdain. And anyone who admitted to having a spiritual experience in the presence of one of these amazing creatures was considered eccentric at best and more than likely delusional.

Along came Sherry Ackerman, an accomplished equestrian and philosopher who not only suggested that riding could be used as a path of transformation but also all but guaranteed that anyone who learns to ride well can’t help but be transformed.

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension was a pioneer work in awakening consciousness, a finger pointing at the moon. Now in its second edition, its message is right on time. It requires readers to deconstruct every assumption they have ever held, to ask “Why?” and become okay with not-knowing. Humanity’s alienation from nature can no longer be ignored. The enormity and immediacy of the crisis is evident.

--From the Foreword, by Linda Kohanov, author of Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dressage in the Fourth Dimension: Welcome

“A decade ago, Dressage in the Fourth Dimension acknowledged my particular point of view. I wrote what I needed to know, at that time, for my particular level of maturity. Ten years have deepened those insights, amplified my understanding, and crystallized my vision. And still, though, what I have written there is what I need to know. In the same way that the archetype of the horse is not autonomous, neither am I. In fully honoring my collaboration with the horses, the geometry, the motion, and the ideas, I find that the fourth dimension has become a space that I can more naturally, and authentically, inhabit. “