So I know many of you have asked, “Why not just take lessons”. The reasons why I have not taken any lessons are twofold. The first is that money is still tight right now. I am hoping to have a much better financial year in 2014 and hope to spend $3,000 or less in home improvements (fingers crossed!) but for now I am still being cautious about my spending. I am planning a vacation for this summer and have lots of Christmas presents to buy so looking at my budget (which I do a lot) I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending money on lessons again until January 15thor later. That means I basically am looking at not riding for minimum 1 more month L It has gotten so bad I have threatened Gen I am going to tack him up…but then I watch him leap in the air and buck and kick like a crazy man and I realize that is just the crazy talking!
The second reason I am not taking lessons is because I don’t know where I would take them. My longtime trainer is not a full time horse person. She teachers one day on the weekends and doesn’t have any lesson horses. I ride with her because I trust her, she is a great rider, and I have been with her for the past 16 years (I am pretty sure I was 14 when I started with her, it might be 17 years though because I might have been 13). She has no ego what-so-ever which is great because I can clinic with other people, take some lessons with other people, and never have to worry about it. She just wants me to become a better rider. She even started riding dressage at the same time I did (she was my jumping trainer!), granted she was a better rider to begin with and got her USDF Bronze in no time, but still. We have gone through a lot together and I still learn and grow each and every lesson. I know she would try and make it work to teach me, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable riding one of her other clients horses or something like that so I have not said a word.
I could always take lessons with someone else, but top dressage trainers in my area are $75-125 a lesson, and finding one who has a horse for lessons is really hard. I could do with a mid-level trainer, but I don’t know. Not to sound all snotty (even though I will) but if I am going to be paying money for lessons I really want to get a lot out of it when it comes to dressage since it is something I care about so much. I’ve thought about going back to my friends to ride (the one who helped me with my canter issues so I could help Lucky) but logistically I just don’t think I could justify a nearly 3 hour round trip for a lesson in the long term. There is one other trainer who is about an hour away, but Gen is at least on the way to this one, who I think would be worth the price and who has a lesson horse, but she can be a little intense, which might be a little scary since I would only be riding once a week. I don’t know.
I almost feel like dressage is out for now. Which is so stupid. How come hunter/jumper barns have 10+ lesson horses and I am having a hard time finding a dressage barn that even has 1! I live in a super dressage saturated area too…there are over a dozen USDF trainers alone within an hour of my place. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to find a trainer in an area where dressage is not so popular.
So if dressage is out, what do I want to do? I don’t know of any more saddle seat barns in the area (I know, I know, poor horses…but it is so fun!) which would have been my second choice and already served to get me out of my funk when Gen was first hurt. I could do hunter/jumpers, but it has been so many years since I have jumped I don’t know if I have the nerve for it anymore. Plus, would I want to go to a good trainer who is about 35 minutes from my house or just suck it up and go to the fancy show barn that is only 10 minutes away? Or should I just take lessons from a random barn close by and not care about what I am learning? I could also start on the path to my inevitable future (I love sparkles and bright colors), western pleasure, but I know nothing about how to find a good western pleasure trainer, or even if there are any in my area. I know I have at minimum a month to figure out what I want to do, but right now all I want to do is ride…I am having trouble focusing on the details! How can I still feel stuck when I am supposed to feel free as a bird?!?!?!