After carefully budgeting my entry-level salary using mint.com (no, they're not paying me to say that--I just have found it super useful), I've decided that I can afford to take one riding lesson per month. Not ideal, but I do have access to horses I can ride to practice what I learn. Instead of my usual hunter-jumper lessons, I decided to go with a dressage instructor. I'm hoping to go back to basics in a systematic way, and I think dressage is the way to go for that.
Anyway, now I am SUPER excited. It just reminds me yet
again of my horse addiction. I find myself daydreaming about the lesson and the whole reason I'm even writing this post is that I need to stop annoying my very patient boyfriend by talking about how this is a great way for me to meet more horse people in the area and people to ride with and maybe even find a good boarding barn for later on and unlock Joey's Dressage Pony secrets because he just nods, smiles, and says, "That sounds great, babe!" because he has no idea what I'm going on about. I've Google mapped the way to this new barn
from my house and from work; I've checked out deals on new breeches online; and
I've gotten giddy at an excuse to make my boots shiny-clean before each lesson (don't ask me why; I just find it's soothing and it makes me feel like the real deal). Can you tell I'm looking forward to this?
My riding education thus far has been kind of piecemeal--I have had some great instructors, but I've never worked together with an instructor to really further my "riding education." The instructor I was with the longest (from age 13-18) unfortunately didn't explain much, and as I realized later, was not the most humane to his horses. This instructor has a good reputation of teaching people about the whys behind dressage so I'm hoping that will translate into me gaining a better foundation that I can build upon in my (slow) path to buying or leasing my first horse.
Also, I'm doing a low-level H/J show this fall. I've done this series several times before, and I intend to kick ass again...just putting it out there in Internet-land just so that dozens of strangers will peer-pressure me into writing a post about my show. The horse I will be riding is kind of far away from where I live now so I need that extra motivation to actually make it out there for some practice rides this summer. I'm hoping that dressage lessons will ramp up my jumping classes an extra notch. It's a schooling show (they mix English and Western in the same class if that tells you how casual it is), but I could still stand to use it as a test of my skills. As a previous instructor told me, I just need to think of the jumping classes as dressage with obstacles, not "stop breathing and tear around the course as fast as possible!" classes.