Something very exciting is happening tomorrow and I'm freaking out - more than a little bit. For as long as I've known what dressage is, I've dreamed of riding an upper-level dressage horse. Aside from a few weeks of lessons on a retired GP mare in Switzerland, where the language barrier and a complete lack of riding skill on my part made the experience less than stellar, most of my riding has been on horses at Second Level and below. I've never felt true collection or experienced a piaffe; I've never even ridden in a double bridle.
All that is about to change tomorrow! I'm working on a magazine article about the value of learning dressage on an advanced level schoolmaster. Leah Wilkins of Aislinn Dressage has generously offered to teach me on a couple of the lovely schoolmasters in her barn. I'm unbelievably excited and completely terrified about it.
If I haven't been completely clear in the past, let me be now; I am NOT a good rider. I am unbalanced and lopsided with busy, fidgety hands that tend to get grabby and hard. If I struggle on my sweet, sainted First Level horse how can I hope to communicate clearly with an FEI horse accustomed to precise aids and good riding?
Leah assures me all her horses are used to being used in lessons by amateurs and will be able to cope with me just fine. I'm putting my trust in her skills as a teacher and am just hoping to enjoy the experience and learn as much as I can. Even if I do end up completely humiliating myself, at least I'll have a funny story to write about, right?
About the author
I'm a middle-aged, overweight, rusty re-rider who refuses to let any of that get in the way of my passion for dressage.