My Oregon Dressage Society awards came in the mail this week. Rather than sticking them on a shelf with at least two other years' worth, I decided to pull out my plaque and get them all mounted.
Wow, that represents a whole lot of my horse history! The only dressage horses not included are Silver Ciera, a Paint we owned when I was first introduced to the sport, and Lance. In a year I will be adding a plate for Lancelot Dun Dino with at least the results of the two shows we already have under our belt/girth. Three years from now I hope to need another plaque!
My back is feeling enough better that I hope to ride a little bit on Sunday. Lunging is not a very effective method of conditioning or schooling Lance. I've been calling him lazy, but it has occurred to me that a lazy horse would not be so quick to engage with me at every opportunity. I mean, if he's turned out in the arena and I call, he trots up to me. A lazy horse wouldn't bother, or at best would take his sweet time. No, I think Lance just doesn't see the point in going around in circles, at the end of a lunge line OR under saddle. I may have to bite the bullet – or, more accurately, take a bite out of my bank account – and have shoes put on him the next time the farrier is here. That way we can ride out and about on the hill's gravel lanes. Years ago when I was training Axel (Rogue Hills Galaxy on the plaque), we did most of our schooling on roads and in fields; I had to haul somewhere to use an arena. I always said that our accomplishments (USDF All-Breed Awards from First Level through Prix St. George) would seem even more impressive if people knew the unconventional path we took to reach them! (Unfortunately, most of the fields, orchards and logging roads I had access to then are no longer available.)
To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.