I feel like I’m getting more fully immersed in the world of eventing because, guys: I had my first dressage lesson! (I may never feel so excited about a flat lesson again.)
This was my third lesson at the new barn – and the third horse I rode. First week was Stryder, second was a sweet paint named Duke. This week I got to ride an adorable Dutch Warmblood paint named Artie. He has been a jumper for the last several years and it seems that the two of us will be embarking on this new dressage journey together!
I’ll be honest. Dressage is hard. (I know, you’re all shocked!) I spent most of the lesson focusing on opening my hip angle (surprise! Still hard.) and “pointing my belt buckle to the ceiling” to properly engage my core. And keeping my shoulders wayyyyyyyy back. It feels very weird. BUT when I got the position right for a few strides, I could feel how solid, secure and connect it will be when I do get it down pat. I thought I would have really sore abs the following day, but surprisingly I did not. I did, however, have very sore glutes. (Dressage riders, is this common?)
The other thing that I worked on (as though my brain weren’t busy enough already, focusing on long leg-open-knee-belt-buckle-up-shoulders-back-relaxed-ankle-seriously-shoulders-back) was Artie himself. As I said, he is a jumper by trade so we worked on bending through the corners, stretching into contact and being adjustable/off my leg. He’s so cute! He can really open up and extend his trot once he’s convinced that, yes, your leg does in fact mean something.
By the end of the lesson, I felt my position was getting better, plus Artie was bending nicely and moving off my leg. In the final few minutes, he even came on the bit and got all soft and adorable.
I think there’s a dressage pair hidden in there somewhere!