Oh, early mornings in September are so lovely for doing a little dressage work. You tack up, head out to the arena, do some figure eights, some bending, a few trot-halt-trot transitions… you barely break a sweat in the cool dry air. I’m really in love with fall, by the way. It’s one of those seasons you just don’t get in Florida, along with spring.
Now I know I’ve thrown everyone through a loop, so here is a little background –
One of our horses, whom we shall call Puppy Dog, because that is his personality, put in a request for a little work on his hind-end. Well, I told him, my dear boy, that happens to be my speciality. And while I am well aware that all of our racehorses have very well-realized talents in the high school dressage division (I think all racehorses secretly long for an interview at the Spanish Riding School) I suggested that perhaps he do a little remedial Training Level work.
So Puppy Dog and I went on a long, cheerful walk down the horsepath, past the evil fallen Willow Tree of Doom, past the Wild Death Goat By Contessa’s Barn, and, apparently, past a ghost. (Seriously, every other horse that went past this one particular spot absolutely lost their minds. One did a few steps on his hind legs. Talent, I tell ya.) Because Puppy Dog is, well, a puppy dog, he merely pricked his ears and looked thoughtful.
We went up the ramp to the chute, which, thankfully, didn’t house the big blue gate this morning. There’s nothing quite like jogging along in maiden fancy-free and hearing that rrrrrriiiiiiinnnnggg!!! as some hapless horse is seeking his gate card, and hanging on tight as your horse puts in a fast break of his own. The chute this morning was more like a three-sided arena. The side that didn’t have a fence, of course, was the very inviting expanse of the backstretch, littered with dancing horses.
But Puppy Dog and I did our dancing alone, quietly, jogging through figure-eights and halt-trot-halt transitions. Riding with loose fingers, open leading reins, guiding legs – it doesn’t go away, this style. Dressage is the fundamental base of all riding, and it never loses its value.