Friday, November 30, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
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!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, November 15, 2010
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!"
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
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
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
Monday, October 25, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
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
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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!"
“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."
"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."
Monday, May 10, 2010
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
"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
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
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
"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
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 understanding...in 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
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
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
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
--Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind
Saturday, January 3, 2009
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
"Even that old horse
is something to see this
--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
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
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
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 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."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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
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