I don’t know about dressage…

Ever had a friend that you loved that was super smart? So smart that when you spoke to them you could only understand half of what they are saying? The kind of friend who is super nice, and super kind, but that you still hesitate to hang out with them because you feel like a moran when you do? That is how I feel about dressage. I like it in theory, but in practice I just can’t get it. It isn’t like I haven’t tried. I have been trying for years now and at times I feel like I am getting better, but most of the time I am confident that I just suck.


I used to blame it on the fact I am always training or retraining horses. Or the fact that my finances are limited so I don’t get to pay for training or lessons like some people. I could keep going with the excuses, but honestly, I am starting to think that it is me. That I just suck at dressage and that I will always just suck at dressage.

I used to love how challenging dressage was for me, the fact that it requires the opposite of all my skills. Now…I am just wondering why I would want to spend time and energy on something that I just cannot be successful in. I am sure at least part of this is because I am not riding. Taking those dressage lessons last month and having my butt kicked so thoroughly…I dunno.

I keep saying I am going to start taking lessons again, but when I do and I think about how hard dressage is I just wonder why bother. Dressage, when done well, is stunningly beautiful. It can literally make me cry it is so amazing. The real question is do I want to keep trying? If I don’t, what else do I want to try?


6 thoughts on “I don’t know about dressage…

  1. If you love dressage, then I’d say do dressage. No matter how much you suck at it. The only time I ever improve is when I’m enjoying myself, and when I’m not improving the first thing I have to do is always to remove the pressure and be okay with sucking for a while. I’m riding professionally, so I can only be lenient for a few rides before I have to pull up my socks and put the pressure on again. But you don’t have to do that! Just do dressage for the love of dressage, and you will one day be amazing at it. Dressage needs more people who love it, not so much people who just do it well. 🙂 Rootin’ for you.

  2. You sound like me. I SUCK at dressage and in return, my horses suck at Dressage.

    However, I LOVE Dressage, and by sucking at it for so many long years, I’ve come to appreciate what Dressage is an how truly badly I actually suck at it, and make my poor horses suffer through sucking at it, too. I show Dressage (driven – which is quite the same as ridden Dressage), and in return for my sucking at it and thus making my horses suck at it, I end up with the lowest dressage scores of the show… not just my class – the whole show.

    Hard to imagine that someone who sucks so badly at it can love and appreciate it so much, but I do. I took (ridden) dressage lessons for 7 years…. and I still can’t ask for a shoulder-in. I have no idea how to achieve a haunches in, and I never understood why if my horse is travelling on 3 tracks, I’m not doing “it” right. I have ridden green beans through Grand Prix finished horses that knew how to piaffe, passage, and pirouette. Not that I could ask for any of them, but I did sit there while a horse was being cued for piaffe from the ground.

    I became *very* frustrated with lessons over the years. Why wasn’t I improving in something I loved so much and spending soooooo much in lessons for literally across 4 states? (one instructor was $95 per hour for a lesson!!!!).

    Eventually I stopped riding and took up driving, and alas much to my dismay- driven dressage was still part of my showing goals. I finally came to an agreement with Dressage — dressage hated me, but I still loved it. I clearly couldn’t learn it with an instructor, but I would somehow strive to muddle through without one now that I drive.

    Alas! Over the years, I have come to understand so much more! Now I’m 22 years deep into horses, and I still can’t execute a shoulder in, but holy crap… being behind the horse instead of on them has given me a whole new view (literally!) on Dressage. I finally understand bending – I’ve let my horses teach me, by trying different things and seeing (not feeling) when they are right vs. wrong. I finally understand when they are counterbent and what it really means, I definitely understand impulsion now, and I’ve finally come to understand what working off the outside line really means. Amazing.

    My dressage scores still suck beyond all things holy, but my appreciation for just how difficult it is has definitely grown. And I’m so proud of myself for finally feeling like I “get it”, even if I never do a shoulder in once in my life, and my dressage scores suck forever, so be it.

    I have 1 horse I can collect so well and softly, he will levade, and for the first time I’m really understanding lateral action, and seeing the results. I’m finally getting true lateral motion, achieving a walking pirouette, and I’ve got one horse I’m trying to muddle through piaffe with, not to mention that I’ve just started trying to achieve my first half-passes the other week, just in time for winter to hit and have them all off for the next 4 months! LOL! Yes, all that can be done driving, and for some reason, it clicks so much more. Dressage scores be damned.

  3. Everyone sucks at dressage. It’s a sport that makes even the best feel like idiots.

    Everything I’ve learned about dressage can be summed up in a few words:
    If the horse is too wiggly, go forward.
    If the horse is too stiff, don’t go straight.
    If your horse is unbalanced, use transitions.

    That was four years worth of lessons. 😉

    That’ll be $5,690.00. Payable in dimes.

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