His work was already a search for movement and posture, for expression and beauty, born out of true independent balance, self carriage and freedom.
A search for a communion with the horse that is characterized by light, giving hands rather then fixed contact and fists, aids that seek to assist rather then demand and a seat that adjusts and follows as the horse needs.
A search characterized by a rider who carries himself independently from his horse and envelops him rather then bores into his back seeking to anchor himself there with a seat that drills rather then welcomes the horse’s back up.
A search characterized by a rider who modulates his own balance like an acrobat on a high wire uses a balancing rod to make it possible for his horse’s energy to surge beneath him with the buoyancy of a spring.
The rider seeking to be so unobtrusive that the horse can rise upward, both powerful and still at once, his vital, elemental beauty and expression taking center stage.
Time as passed and Manolo does not train Haute Ecole movements daily but the lessons learned from the horses with which he rode Airs Above the Ground are still with him and informs his training choices with every horse: developing the horse into an athlete who can meet the work without injury, simplifying the language of the aids and their timing so the horse is never anguished by them but comforted in the fair guidance their provide. Taking the time, months, years, to prepare the horse physically and mentally for what work we ask so that he welcomes rather then dread the work.
Each horse from the past contributing to each ride today. Mistakes and successes carefully analyzed so that each new ride is an opportunity to train better, simpler, softer.
Each horse today contributing to a better tomorrow, and on and on, and on…This is a universal and immemorial quest that ends only when the rider has gone into the great beyond.