I'm not one of those dressage riders with unlimited funds. This will probably be the only horse I'll ever own of this quality. I would be devastated if something happened to her, not just because I couldn't replace her monetarily but because I'm so attached to her.
Granted, I haven't been the most dedicated rider this past year. I'm lucky to get to the barn 2-3 days a week, as opposed to 4-5 days a week before I became a published writer.
Regardless, I adore MY horse. She is my horse of a lifetime. This year she turns 14. I bought her as a green-broke 3 year old. If you've been following my posts on this blog, you know that she and I have been through a lot together, including trailering traumas, lamenesses, and various other issues over the years.
Yet, through all the ups and downs, I wouldn't sell her for any amount of money, and I did turn down some lucrative offers in her younger years. To be honest, I know she would have gone far in dressage with a better rider. She'd have won a lot of ribbons and probably easily been a Grand Prix horse. To give you an idea of how wonderful of a smooth mover she is, a doctor friend of mine told me once that if I would have just sold her my horse, she could have ridden up until she was 8 months pregnant.
Instead, she's stuck with me. I'm not a bad rider. I mean, I've been doing this for a couple decades. But my body isn't really coordinated, and this dressage stuff is hard for me. But I keep plugging on. Once in a while, I forget to try too hard, I relax, and it all comes together.
Like a former trainer told me once, the horse doesn't care if it wins blue ribbons or scores high. It only cares that its treated well and ridden kindly.
The second she started out in the walk, I knew we were in for a good ride, and we were.
When I think of dressage, I think of these moments. I hope that everyone who has ever tried dressage has had the good fortune to experience such moments when everything comes together. When your horse is up in front of you, eager to go, but waiting for your aids. When such raw power surges under you that you're in awe. When it takes the slightest pressure from hands, legs, and seat to perform the movements.
That's how I felt. As we moved into a trot, she started to fall on her forehand and plow into the reins. I caught her with some well-placed half-halts. She rocked back. Her shoulders came up. Her butt tucked under. I sat in. It was like sitting on a big comfy couch, yet with incredible controlled power. I can't explain it, but I wish I could. If you've felt it, you know what I'm talking about. I came across the arena in half pass. For once, my legs, seat, and hands actually did their respective jobs. I weighted my inside hip bone, kept my inside leg on, kept her bent around my inside leg, pushed her over with my outside leg. I stayed straight instead of twisting and kept some tension on the outside rein. Oh, wow, over she went like it was nothing!!!
Okay, now we're going to canter. Lately, she's been dumping and taking off. I asked for the canter. She lifted into this beautiful uphill canter, light on the reins, collected but ready to go. We did shoulder-in, half pass, haunches-in like they were the easiest things on earth. We came down the diagonal and changed leads. Again, easy as can be. Uphill and clean. We slipped from a canter to an uphill forward walk. She sauntered around the arena on a loose rein, quite pleased with herself, as she should be.
Wow! Wow! Wow!
I needed that boost, that encouragement to keep at this, to remember why I do this.
I love this horse.