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Thursday, September 3, 2009

The greatest compliment of all

My first dressage lesson was last night and I LOVED it. I was only going to do a lesson every other week, but I'm going to see if I can possibly fit a lesson almost every week into my schedule....

I went into the lesson unsure of myself. Having never had lessons, I didn't know where I was on the riding scale. I've been frusterated in the arena lately because I don't feel like we do anything well - we don't bend, travel straight, do circles, transition well, etc. We are such a great team on the trail, I wanted that to translate to the arena too.

There are 2 little tiny fun schooling shoes in the area in October and November that I want to do just for fun. I also don't want to embarrass my horse - hence the lessons.

I think the most that has been said about my riding ever was to compliment me as I stayed on through an especially tough spook, buck, or bolt. The trainer complimented me in several ways - here was some of the feedback (I've put in order from what I considered the least to the greatest....):
1. I'm a nice, round rider
2. I'm very coachable.
3. My horse learns very very quickly and I should shoot for recognized dressage shows, not just the local fun shows.
4. My horse and I work well together and it's apparent she trusts me.

But the best compliment of all was:
"Wow - Farley is very very sound."

I think I made some off hand comment about "she better be - I spend enough time and money on her soundness". Looking back, I should have just graciously accepted the compliment - because that is what it was - compliment and testiment to how I'm managing my 100 mile endurance horse.

Specifically my trainer said it warmed her heart to see her so sound, especially because she knew I was doing endurance, trying 100 milers etc. I'm not sure if she has a lot of experience with endurance horses coming in for lessons, but obviously she has a certain perception regarding their soundness. What a treat to be able to bring a sound, willing, smart endurance horse to a dressage lesson!

Looking back on what I have done in 3 years of endurance, I think the most valuable lessons learned are regarding soundness. I can't think of any other sport that puts so much emphasis on soundess. I feel confident in my ability to evaluate my horses soundness and make the right decisions. I'm not sure I ever "got" that in my riding before endurance.

I'll have more on some specifics of the lesson later and update you on our progress.


  1. Good for you. I started taking dressage lessons 2 years ago and do them monthly. I grew up with a lot of instruction, but I was in the hunter jumping and 3 day eventing mostly. I had a very forward seat. I will tell you , it has helped me tremendously , especially since my instructor happens to also teach yoga. I don't always do everything right and fall into old tension habits, but atleast now I know how to recognize when my right leg is braced or my back is hollow and I can do something about it . I think you will find, as I did, it really helps the relationship between yourself and your rider.. hard to explain but it really got JB and I aligned much better, mentally and physically... Can't wait to hear how your lessons are going.We'll have to compare notes!

  2. yay for corruption!!! I am so glad you liked the lesson!

  3. wow how great for you... i love doing dressage lessons... a constant journey in focus, balance and discovery... go for it if you can once a week

    happy trails

  4. Wonderful! So happy to hear that it went well. I have always wanted to try dressage...maybe someday!
    Great compliment too!


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