As I sit here stuffed full of Easter Eggs watching the rain pour down outside I’m dreaming of sunnier times!
Since Winter Regionals Herbie has been having a well-earned rest so I thought I’d write a piece on my experience of moving from British Eventing to British Dressage and how I find the world of dancing horses and bling!
Having evented Herbie for 4 years, from a 4yo up to CIC1*, he was always particularly strong in the Dressage phase and when work commitments increased on my part it was a natural time to pursue the pure dressage.
During my Pony Club years, I was very much into bombing around, jumping and avoiding flatwork at all costs so I had a lot to learn when it came to Dressage, not least the art of decent plaits!
As with all sports, it can take time to immerse yourself in it all and get to know people. I certainly felt a bit of an outsider to start with!
Dressage has grown massively in recent years (due partly to a certain Charlotte Dujardin) which makes it an exciting time to be involved in the sport. I think part of its appeal is its accessibility, the opportunity to start with the absolute basics (walk, trot, canter, left and right!). The appeal for me was the chance to build on these foundations bit by bit with consistent and encouraging feedback.
Seeing the rewards of hard work and training in the competition arena is very satisfying and once you make your way up the grades the pressure is something I really thrive on. The competition structure allows you to choose one of two routes (in simple terms) of either competing with like for like amateurs on a level playing field or going down the more professional route and competing against the best in the region/country. This works well as no one is excluded and there are championships for both routes. We chose the latter as I like a challenge but I’d never rule out either route and it’s nice to have options.
Working on pure Dressage and cementing the foundations of riding has given me a much better understanding of producing a horse correctly. This is something I know I will be able to take into producing our homebred youngsters which is exciting.
I’ve loved the last two years and can see why people say Dressage is addictive! We’re now working on flying changes along with other more advanced moves and we’re moving up the competition structure all the time.
For anyone thinking Dressage is just prancing around in blingy gear…think again!!!
Lucie and The Herbster