Lots of books come across my desk, as you might imagine, and we review on Horse Journal Online the books one of us find intriguing, because, of course, we do read the whole book before we write a review.
But when this one thin, artsy-looking book arrived, I set it aside because, well, it didn’t look meaty enough for a Horse Journal review. In fact, I looked at its $24.95 price and thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s nothing here!” Wrong. Very wrong.
Meditation For Two was written by Dominique Barbier and Keron Psillas. I picked it up from my desk one night I couldn’t sleep. Barbier is French, so the early pages began with a sentence written in French on the right-hand page, with the English translation on the left. Since it was 2 a.m. and I was bored, I tested my French translation. Did OK, surprisingly.
But then I read, “Les chevaux sont le miroir de notre ame.” Meaning: “Horses are the mirror of our soul.” Yes, I thought. That’s why I can’t imagine life without them. It made me read that section of the book, which included this paragraph:
“The horse must trust the student. He must accept and enjoy a comfortable position, something that does not always come naturally. In turn, the student must trust the horse, both physically and mentally. If your riding mentality is based in fear, the horse cannot believe, or understand, or feel comfortable with you. Panic and evasions follow. A void in the student creates a void in the horse. Horses are the mirror of your soul, of who you really are. It is your reflection that you see through their eyes. Through them, you can more easily come to know yourself. Through you, they can more easily come to fulfill themselves.”
The section ends with, “When acceptance and grace flow between horse and rider, the centaur can exist.”
Now I wanted more. This man completely understood my ongoing battle with my mare, Sally. He had already provided a valuable insight, and I became anxious for the chance to change my whole manner of working with her. She’s a hard-headed, unpredictable mare, but she has a good, kind heart. My battle has remained how to reach her. I dove back into the book.
It didn’t take long to read, and I finished with a renewed sense of partnership with my horse. I learned that Sally and I are exactly the same! I felt a deeper understanding into what it must be like from her perspective, and I felt a stronger connection—one that I was able to take into the saddle the very next day.
Not everyone will enjoy this book. It’s philosophy; it’s a look at your inner self; it’s an understanding of the horse’s inner being.
If you’re searching for answers and can’t get them from the equitation and training lessons we’ve all had drilled into us, or if you have a particularly challenging horse and are open to new approaches, you might find an answer in this book.
The photos are misty, blurred…chosen because they speak without the need for a caption. They’re soulful, matching the words.
Barbier is best known for his book “Dressage for the New Age,” and he’s fond of Lusitano horses.
Psillas is a “lover of horses, of books, of art, people, mystery and travel,” and it shows in her work.
Yes, it would be a lovely gift for a friend or yourself. No, you don't have to be a dressage addict to understand and enjoy it. It’s available on Horse Books Etc.