Anyone for Dressage?

Hello, its been a while (since June to be precise) and its now the end of the summer, with long nights and bad weather to look forward to…

Its been a long, drawn out difficult summer for me, my friends, family and work colleagues, who have all been bored to absolute rigidity regarding my ‘to sell or not to sell’ dilemma. This ongoing saga, peppered with a few disappointing and demoralising views of potential steeds has dominated, what should have been a wonderful summer.

Not that I haven’t had a good time, I’ve just not done it on horseback (as they say), this summer I’ve had more success riding my surfboard than my horse.  So there is to be no post summer round-up, highlighting the thrills and spills of middle-aged show jumping.  In fact last week, I contemplated giving up horses completely, this week however, I am contemplating a winter of dressage…


Its odd, but I never thought that I’d be ending the summer having spent three months trying to work out exactly what I want from my riding and whether my drive to compete is greater than my desire to enjoy and pursue other activities, such as cycling, surfing and maybe even having a bash at Kite Surfing (another tick on the bucket list).

All this soul-searching is important, as a new horse is a significant financial investment, which once in my hands is only going to depreciate. Young, (slightly) cheaper greenies, need to be ridden everyday, and whilst older schoolmaster types may seem the answer, how long has one got before arthritis and any number of age related problems start to take hold? and don’t get me started on the whole minefield of reading between the lines regarding over optimistic adverts.  I may do a separate post on what those familiar phrases really mean!

So for now, Jay is staying, yes, he can be a tinker, but sometimes ‘better the tinker you know’.  As to my future plans, well, I might try a winter of dressage, he works nicely on the flat and I’ve never explored his (or my) potential in this area.  Maybe I need to stop acting like such a diva and realise that I’m lucky to have a horse at all.  If the show jumping isn’t quite working out at the moment, taking the pressure off myself and Jay might be just the ticket. Training for dressage is much more convenient and competing doesn’t reduce me to a quivering jelly of nerves.

I just need to get over this little niggle in the back of my mind which keeps telling me I’ve failed, and allow myself to cut myself some slack.  Riding is a hobby and I need to start enjoying it all again. After all, who knows, if I can brush up Jay’s canter on the flat and produce a softer, more responsive horse, that surely has to help our jumping.

I guess, if I’m honest I worry that a brief sojourn from jumping, may end up as a permanent break, but I think I’ll park that thought and deal with it at a later date.   After all, following some rather hairy hacks with Jay, I was wondering whether my days of barreling up and down the beach were over, but a fantastic ride on Putsborough beach a couple of weeks ago put paid to that particular theory. (See photo, this was taken last year, and it was much sunnier for the ride).  Thanks to Big Lilly, the lovely 19 year old thoroughbred/warmblood cross. She’d done advanced dressage in her time, but sadly there was no room in Tony’s van to take her home.

Puttsborough looking towards Woolacombe

I suppose this is the reality of all sports, things don’t always go to plan, and rather than being down and beating myself up, I should be grateful that I can simply swap disciplines and dip my toe into the world of dressage. After all, Pammy Hutton said that our flatwork yesterday was the best she’d seen us, so it has to be worth a shot.

Anyone selling a MW second-hand dressage saddle?!