The Frenzy that was the Western Dressage Clinic

Let’s just say, after a week of western riding I have a new respect for the discipline.  Last Saturday I attended a full day of immersion into riding dressage in completely different tack than I am used to.

I practiced all week; trying out different styles and sizes of saddles.  My muscles at the end of each ride told me what worked, or didn’t, with each choice.  The day of the clinic, I chose a saddle that worked better on Duetz, my old Arab mare, in the afternoon than it did on Night, my appendix mare, in the morning.  I also think they both had an attitude about spending a glorious, warm spring day working on minutiae in the indoor arena.  But that’s mares for you.

It was a lot of time in the saddle.  The following day, parts of my derriere I hadn’t thought much about made themselves quite well known.  Physically, it was a whole different experience and mentally I often  had to rethink exactly how to ask for a movement.

I rode two, one and half hour sessions and did a lot of observing during the other sessions.  By the end of each of my rides, I felt less like I was exaggerating every gesture, and more as if it was coming with very little obvious influence.

For the past few years I have treated my riding with the same strictness that ruled the working part of my life.  I set goals, I laid out a plan to get to the goals, and I worked diligently through the process.

Since leaving the corporate world I have had the opportunity to ride more often.  I took long trail rides through the deep snow.  I developed a more relaxed routine that rarely had a destination or a goal except to enjoy the animals, the camaraderie,  and the exercise.

By slowing everything down and riding for the pure joy, I’ve come to appreciate that this part of my life is just for me.  There is no competition, no ribbons to win, no approval from a judge.  Purely the happiness it brings me on a basic human level.

Duetz and I.
She is 24 years young and we’ve been a partnership for 17 years.

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