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!