Dressage lesson number three

Working (hard) with Inky:

July 31, 2013

After missing a week, I went back to CARA today for my third dressage lesson. Being “off” isn’t to say I didn’t do anything on vacation. Remember, I rode 450+ miles on my dirt bike, and 5-1/2 hours on horseback while there (loved every moment of it).

So, where am I today?

Driving down the freeway as tears filled my eyes once again, I thought, there’s no use crying about lost time. It’s gone. Now I have to make the most of the present.

Do I need to buy a horse? No, I don’t think so, not right now. Inky is an appropriate mount at this stage. I have so much to learn about dressage because it is so different from how I was taught to ride. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different. There are so many styles of riding and each of them has its own conventions, especially dressage.

What I really need is practice. That can be done, at a price, of course, but it is cheaper than lessons. I think for now I might need to alternate between lessons and practice time so I have time to process the information and then put it into physical practice as I think and correct. I know what it means to get the horse collected and underneath me, and I know how to do it. The horse I trained myself, Dom, would do this for me. I only had to ask once and he was there, and he stayed there during the whole time I was working with him. I didn’t have to keep begging and forcing and playing with the bit, and all those things. Today Inky made me work for every single moment, and there weren’t that many, when she was in the correct place. Also, at the moment I can’t always listen to Dorie and make my body do what she’s asking me to do at the same time I am trying to properly cue Inky. Practice time is the solution for now because what I really want is some hard work time on a real horse. I am thinking of some of the riders from last year’s Olympics. I know how hard those people have to work to get there, and it is lucky that some of them get “handed” horses that are brilliant by themselves.

It’s the time of year again when I go back to work, and as soon as that all settles down I will pick up more riding time. It might be therapeutic as well as beneficial in a practical way to ride after work instead of doing one of my other workouts.

One thing that I found out when I was in the White Mountains on vacation is that I love trail riding, something I never enjoyed much before. I would like to be able to trail ride again soon. Where, I don’t know, but I would like to do it. Maybe I’ll take the motorbike up north for the day just to ride a horse! That would be a change.

All this “horsiness” is swirling around in my head as I try to figure out what kind of horse I might want if I were to get one. Or, it might be that it’s one of those things that are “cheaper to rent.” That precludes any long-term bonding between horse and rider, though, which is one of the big reasons horses are so appealing, at least to me.

So, I continue to think, and try to give myself opportunities to choose the correct path.

Inky’s favorite time of the day – when she gets “hosed” after the ride, to cool off:

Drying in the wash rack for a few minutes:


2 thoughts on “Dressage lesson number three

  1. Your idea of alternating practicing and lessons is really using the old horse sense. I also agree that you could use your horseback riding as an exercise because I am sure you are flexing and twisting a lot to get the horse to follow your commands. Speaking of “making the most of the present”, it’s almost that time of year again. Good luck.

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