With each lesson these last couple of weeks, I desperately try to remember every word that my trainer utters and to memorize how each exercise is supposed to be executed, how my body is supposed to work, and how Universo feels when he is moving correctly. It is now that I am losing my weekly lessons that I regret not keeping a journal and not video-taping on a regular basis. I knew that I should do both things, but I always had the assurance that my instructor was going to be there next week and the week after telling me what to do and how to do it.
I am now joining many of you with aspirations and dreams who don’t have the luxury of weekly lessons with an excellent instructor. I am joining those of you who aren’t at a competition barn with an indoor arena and footing designed to keep your competition horse sound and happy while working at a high level. Giving up riding at the upper levels, after only a couple of shows riding at Prix St. Georges is difficult. Leaving a barn where I have been for the past 6 years is emotional. No longer having lessons with my instructor who has been on this journey with me the whole way for the past 8 years, has me bawling my eyes out. So how will I cope?
I think about why I own a horse in the first place. I think about my memories growing up, and as a young adult, before I started pursuing my passion for dressage. I have vivid memories of other happy times with horses, galloping bareback across a field, hanging out in the field while my horse grazes around me, and trail riding with friends. I know that the most important thing is that I still have my horse. I can go to the barn to simply spend time with him and I am sure that we will make new friends both horse and human. We will be able to go on actual trail rides in the woods and through fields vs. just walking around paddocks. I can give my daughter lessons on Universo and perhaps we will find her a horse to ride so we can ride together. No matter what – I will still be a dressage rider. And perhaps I will accidently re-discover the simpler reasons for loving horses.