Dressage gave me purpose

It’s amazing to think that just over 6 years ago was when I first fell in love with horses and the processes behind riding such a majestic beast.

I moved from Pony Club competitions to training in dressage. The intricacies of my minute movement (aids) and how each communicate a different thing you’d like the horse to do is what makes dressage so interesting to me. Whether he or she does the ‘correct’ response is another question…

Bjorn’s transformation from a difficult horse to ride into a unified force, has only amplified my motivation to continue training her through the classical scale of training from the easy walk to more complex leg yield. I always aim to make sure I am being completely clear with my rein and leg aids. Continual learning and striving for the unattainable perfect ride in this sport is why it’s so addictive.

For a while I competed in Pony Club dressage but soon realised that I needed help. No matter how hard I tried I could never get my horse to work with me. She was constantly resisting the bit resulting in lower marks in competition. A difficult decision to make, some time out was essential to assess my future in riding and my horse Bjorn. I had no formal training and was quickly losing interest in something I had once loved. My parents saw this and gifted me with two riding lessons as a present for my 24th birthday. I cannot thank them enough because it was just the kick I needed to keep going.

A few months later I discovered my current coach Matthew Lord and after just 45mins he had my horse responding to my aids in a way that was magical.   I’ve been getting lessons from him for over a year now and the connection between my horse and I has improved out of sight. Our first official competition back had us achieve a 1st place and a huge improvement in overall marks. The time I took off to work on training with Bjorn allowed me to gain a greater understanding of what good horsemanship, patience and understanding means as well as a new purpose in life. I will never be the same because of my parent’s gift and the lessons my horse has taught me in the art of dressage.

©  Shae Rudd 2019

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