There’s nothing like having a dressage lesson with a teacher who’s able to explain stuff in a way that totally makes sense, while getting inside your horse’s mind and working out what he needs.
For that period of time, while you’re in the saddle, you’re simultaneously trying to get enough air into your lungs to survive, stop the sweat from dripping into your gasping mouth, make your arms and legs and back and hips do what they’re told, while your brain is boiling over with the effort of listening to, and understanding, the explanations you’re being given…
It’s ferocious, incredible multitasking, but when it goes right, it feels as if a gray veil has been lifted and for those few moments, the world is crystal clear. Everything falls into place, there is total harmony, you understand what you’re doing and why you are doing it.
And, underneath you, your $600 thoroughbred suddenly elevates himself to $60,000 Warmblood status. He stops listening to the crazed voices in his head and starts marching to the beat of an invisible drum. He proudly flaunts a scope and stride you never dreamed he possessed. It all feels so perfectly right that afterwards, it’s as if the whole world has realigned himself.
Problems that were weighing on your mind suddenly become trivial and insignificant compared to the joy of riding that fluent lengthened trot, or seamless canter transition. The glow of harmonious achievement stays with you as you walk your horse home. You repeat the wisdom you were told, over and over, so that when you practice on your own, you will hopefully be able to come some way toward achieving that equine karma again.
It doesn’t always happen, because dressage looks so easy, but it’s not. But when it all comes right, it’s worth it!