Dressage…What is it?

I read a blog recently where the husband of a dressage rider explained to his friends what dressage was…

“Well, it’s like watching grass grow, but much more expensive!”

I have to say I have seen some very funny dressage interpretations from my best friends…14238211_10208515313592166_8316966165366789886_n

When I was young I thought dressage was so very boring. I still remember the night before the state championships and instead of training the test I was out mustering cattle with dad and came back well after the sun had set with a very very dirty and exhausted pony.

Mum said “Never again”, and of course the next day I went in the test and won, so she forget about the never again bit.

Truth is, if you are a sport person you know that there is a lot more that goes into it than what you see. Non-sporty people will watch a tennis match or a football game, and think it’s just about hitting the ball over the net, or into the goal.

I walk past the golfers in Beloura every morning, marching around what is basically a big park, trying to put a small ball in a small hole, and think “you guys are nuts”…

Then I get on my horse in the pouring rain and trot around  in circles in what is basically a big sand pit.

I have competed in dressage since I was 6 and I don’t think any of my friends had a single clue what I did every weekend. They knew I rode horses, and they seemed to think that was ok, but when I would get back from a show they would ask “Did you win the race?”, and I would just answer yes, because it was much easier than trying to explain expensive grass growing in detail.

Me in front, before I could walk…already on Jimbo

I have been working with Batialo for almost 6 years…It’s a partnership. He knows me better than I know myself. He will follow me anywhere I go and will watch my every move when I’m at the stable…If I think something when I’m on him, he knows it. That is dressage. Dressage is also 5am starts in the freezing cold, and falling off, and horse emergencies, and everything else that comes along with any sport…

If top level sport was easy, then everyone would do it and even if the sport looks rather boring, that doesn’t mean it is simple.

I’m sure there is a lot more to golf than mastering walking and hitting a ball, just as I know there is far more to football than kicking straight towards and into the white net at the end.

The year after dad died when I was chosen to lead his ride through the bush…Took a short cut through the creek and everyone fell off…Was not asked to lead the ride again 😛

For non-sporty people it can be difficult to explain, for people of any sport, they get it, even if they don’t get what we do when we go around and around in circles, they get that there is a lot more going on.

One of my very first trainers, who used to watch me fly around the arena like a cowgirl, said to me that she always knew I would end up a dressage rider, because of the empathy and connection I had with horses…She said I would ride around not thinking, and then get in the test and the minute my mind switched on, my ponies would as well…He was my partner, whether it be chasing cattle, or riding dressage, he just loved to please me…

That is dressage, and for a dressage rider, is there a better compliment?


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