dressage, horses

Why Mere Mortals?

If, like me, you’re a mere mortal struggling with a sport requiring supernatural skill, grace, and absurdly long legs, this blog is for you. Surely we dressage riders are gluttons for punishment. Why else would we choose a sport where e.v.e.r.y single movement is judged on a scale of 1 to 10; and you’re more likely to get hit by lightning while marrying Elvis than score a 10.

Clearly this is a sport where the gods are amused at our mortal attempts to attain perfection.

Join me on a journey to reconcile my love of dressage with my lack of talent. Mine is a story of doing my best with a rebellious body and a wandering mind. Perhaps you sometimes feel the same.

The constraints of family and work; a body built with  design flaws; and limited finances have made pursuing this sport a start again/stop again endeavor for me. If I could borrow an extra lifetime to learn dressage, I might finally graduate to the next level.

Micah & I try to make sense of First Level, Test 1

Micah & I try to make sense of First Level, Test 1

How I love dressage — and how it humbles me as I start over and over again.

Why do I keep coming back for more? Probably for many of the same reasons you do. I still thrill at the feel of a 1,000-pound animal agreeing to let me ride him—graciously letting me direct the gait, pace and direction. As I slowly move beyond merely steering and surviving, I grasp moments of feel and finesse — and savor them. But the connection is deeper than that. Is there anything better than feeling your horse traveling through, on the aids, and connected? And then there is the relationship.

When I draw the scent of horse well into my lungs, it works a magic on my soul. I suspect that my horse’s hoofbeats set the very tempo of my heart’s inner workings.

Those moments where horse and heart meet create a sense of harmony so profound, I’m honored that the animal beneath me has agreed to meet me there. In those moments I lose my sense of mortality, knowing I’m sharing something far beyond ordinary.

Join me in a celebration of both the bliss and the backlash of dressage. As we attempt to ride each and every stride, sometimes overwhelmed by the complexity of the sport and our own limits, we’ll remember to laugh at ourselves when appropriate or stop for a good cry, when need be.

Stuff your pockets full of carrots and kleenex and meet me at the barn. I hope you share your thoughts on what this struggle means to you in the Comments section below.

Mere mortals, we not alone!