Photo by Nicole Poyo Photography Follow her on Instagram@nicolepoyo

Yep. I said poofy. A little like fluffing a pillow on the couch or a bow on a Christmas present. The rectangle is ideally quite poofy.

Ha! I remember when I first realized this. I was up in the arena with Nigel and even though he was quite in the rectangle left to right and front to back, I wasn’t exactly satisfied. I want his neck a just a little “poofier”, I thought. In other words, I wanted it a little wider. I wanted his withers to open a bit more and for him to rise up. I realized I wanted VOLUME.

Once my mind sparked to this idea, it was a flood of new understanding and, as usual, disbelief that I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

A quick review of Buck’s idea of the rectangle as I understand it: We’ll just talk about a super educated horse. Think of lines, on either side of your horse barely grazing your stirrups and in the front and back of your horse barely grazing his nose and his tail. This is an extremely educated, accurate horse.

The more in the rectangle the horse is, the more conscious “cues” become less and less of a thing. It’s more like, you move your body, the rectangle moves, the horse stays in the rectangle. You move, they move. You are together.

So the big revelation for me, the new layer of understanding, was the idea of volume. The rectangle is multidimensional.

I have been talking obsessively with my close friends about this lately and one of them mentioned that the concept could be seen as “overcomplicating” it all. We could just say, we want our horses to be light and on a feel.

He’s right of course. Those words are plenty sufficient enough around the dinner table. However, I feel that in practice, when I’m actually on my horse trying to get there, I personally need more thought and more words.

I need the gradients, the degrees of what to capture. The degrees of what to reward. What’s going to happen before what happens happens. I need to not miss when the left nostril is poking to the outside of the arc and effecting the over all feel of it. I need to be aware of the details in the ideal I’m chasing.

The other thing about the rectangle is that it will never be evenly poofy if you have a brace somewhere. It just can’t happen because wherever there is a brace, or crookedness (a horse leaning on a rein or bulging its ribs or poking a shoulder blade up) that part of the rectangle will be squished and the overall effect, the impression… the FEEL of it won’t be IT. The magic, that special something will never be there. It won’t be there because it doesn’t have room.

So, that’s what I’m after you guys. I’m after that amazing feeling of being a part of this glorious ball of energy and power and calm that I have felt in moments when it all comes together. It still blows my mind how that amount of energy and power can co exist with a peace so delicate and special it’s healing. But it can only happen when the horse is in the rectangle and we allow space for it to “poof out”.

To experience that effect in partnership with another species and only because that other individual understands me is the deal. I want it. I need it. I’m obsessed with it.

I could possibly get too serious about it. (Shocking I know) So it was extra fun when my dear friend Nicole Poyo of equine photography fame was in my office and got the idea for this little arts and crafts project. We laughed and laughed. The little Daveena figurine looks like she had a popcorn kernel explode around her. Hilarity. But, it is exactly what I’m thinking of.

Thanks for reading gang! Remember! I love to hear YOUR thoughts. So please write a comment, send me an email or a private message and feel free to share as you like.

Follow me for more and find me everywhere @emmadailykline. My best to you and your ponies!



  1. Love the way your words can paint a picture. I think people that have felt the magic moment of complete oneness, uphoria, can understand !!!! I am very fortunate to have had some of these moments❤️

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