Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting back to basics.

I guess techinically if the basics were completely skipped to start off then it is not 'back to basics' then it is it?  More like going back to the beginning to do it right.  To be fair I did not intend to start out on this journey.  I never claimed to have any knowledge when it came to dressage starting out.  I trained hunter jumper for 8 years.  I learned that sport and I learned it well.  So when I got Steady I had the misconception that horseback riding was like riding a bike.  That if I rode that long and was a good rider that getting back on the horse it would all come back to me.

Somethings did stay with me.  The ability to stay on a horse.  How to post on the correct diagonal.  Leads, posture, heals down those sorts of things.  Pretty much basic equitation on the flat.  Though not pretty but functional.  Then starting lessons with a, how do I put this nicely?  With a not very good trainer.  That introduced me to dressage/eventing all together yet did not teach the sport correctly.  But I, at the time, knew no different considering it was my very introduction to the sport all together.  I figured she knew what she was talking about since I knew nothing.  Lesson learned. That is not always the case.  Just because someone seems, acts and says they are good and are confident that they are that good does not mean they actually know what they are doing or telling you to do.

So that is where I started.  New to the sport and learning it incorrectly.  There were even times my gut knew better than what she was teaching yet I didn't know a better way.  Luckily I did not only stick with her and ventured to use other trainers in lessons and clinics.  The problem was that what one did the other spent time undoing.  Counter productive much?!  Thankfully a  falling out with said instructor and I and that was the end of that.

 I don't think it sank in about how bad it was until just recently but  the seeds were planted in my mind over the last year.  A defining statement for me was, "Ahhh, just as I thought.  You are a rider with nice proper position.  Pretending to do dressage."  Made by one, Dorothy Crowell.  I didn't really get what she was trying to tell me at the time and thought it was kind of mean.  But now that I am starting to understand true classical dressage, it was a very accurate statement.  That was one of many seeds planted in my mind that have grown and are still growing.  This post will hopefully just become a continuation of knowledge and understanding that will progress over time and work.  It is, at this time, not conclusive and I hope that there is never a conclusion to learning about horses and my interactions with them.  At least while I am still alive.


  1. I'm excited for you to have that revelation. Classical dressage is amazing. I'm like you were in the beginning. I know nothing about eventing, so I thought the way you were riding the dressage portion is how eventing dressage is supposed to be done. I'm glad to hear now that classical is what you're aiming for now. I hope you can find a really great dressage instructor, because I think you'll enjoy it.

  2. Ha, I hear you. My dressage is not that bad, but jumping? Yikes. I'm a wreck over fences because when I rode as a kid, I had a lot of natural feel and a talented horse. I never really learned -how- to do anything. Now I again have some feel and a wildly talented horse, but no idea what's supposed to happen. We're finally making progress, but it seems so slow, painstaking, and counter-intuitive.

    Such is life. At least we're both young, right?

  3. I can finally comment on your blog!!!

    This has nothing to do with your post - so please forgive me. I wanted to thank you for the amazingly sensitive comments you have left on mine and Lex's blog in regards to Hennessy. Only someone who has been thru this can truely understand. Watching your daughter experience this - takes it to another level.


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