Advancement or Stagnation

What I really want to discuss is the idea of advancement in dressage. I don’t know a single upper level rider that I knew as a lower level rider. Do you?

Maybe I don’t know enough people…

What I see are people consistently training up through First or Second and then having to start all over again, and again, and again, and again.

I’m not saying a person couldn’t be content training different horses through the lower levels, but I feel as if I’m missing out by not having experienced a true upper level ride. All those basics that are so vital converging into a perfect unity of horse and rider…. or maybe it’s nothing like that… how would I know. I’ve never been there.

Dressage has become almost a love/hate relationship for me. The ultimate bad boy that draws you in with an elusive enticement of power and control. Or maybe it’s the group of high school, super popular girls that give you a brief moment of their attention only to tell you your clothes, hair, face aren’t good enough to hang with them. Except clothes, hair, face mean horse, rider, trainer.  Because regardless of how much you try, without all three of those components (horse, rider, trainer) you’re capped at Second eternally.

I know that a lot of times reality gets in the way of dreams, and heck, a lot of dreams once acquired are a let down. But I know a lot of people, and i should know at least one person who actually achieved the upper level dream, right? Who the heck is achieving upper levels?

Then again, maybe my income bracket isn’t level with those people… Maybe that’s the issue? Or maybe my crappy state chased all the advancing riders out by making this white crap fall from the sky for 6 months straight. I’m just saying… I don’t know the reaons. 

I guess what I’m saying is I’m scared. I’m scared that five years from now I’ll be exactly where I am right now.

Except poorer.

And more achy.

… and with a piss poor 401k because I blew it all on dressage lessons.

Eating canned cat food I pried open with a knife because I can’t afford tuna AND dressage lessons.

All while still poorly riding Second level, on a spiffy warmblood I couldn’t afford.

I may be a tad bitter today….

5 thoughts on “Advancement or Stagnation

  1. This is simple. You hate dressage because it’s hard. And love you love dressage because it’s hard. If it was easy, you would have gotten bored a long time ago and looked for something else.


  2. I know what you’re saying, but for right now, I am not discouraged. I was just told at the show last weekend that Speedy looked like he could make it to 3rd, which came as a shock to me. :0)

    I think I have accepted that I probably can’t afford a horse who can do much beyond second level. For now, that’s okay because I still have to make it through First. I am not letting myself worry about getting stuck permanently at Second Level, although now it seems as though I might get to Third if I listen to bystanders.

    I don’t know if it is any help or not, but my pal, Jen, who is the chapter chair of VCC CDS, rides a home grown boy at 4th level and I KNOW she’s not wealthy.

    Second is a big problem for a lot of riders. I am hoping I take long enough to get there that I am either tired of the sport and quit, or I win the lottery and buy a high level ride. :0)


  3. I think a lot of it is a guessing game in all the equestrian sports. Right you have people with no money, or at least not the money to buy the horse that will get them to their ultimate goal so like you said, you start over, and over and over, with new horses, maybe each one is a little fancier then the last. On top of that what happens if you do buy a Diamond in the Rough, top horses are also very expensive to maintain. I was just talking to my mother recently that even if I trained my current horse to be a Grand Prix Jumper, it would be better for me to sell him to someone who can afford the maintenance and then maybe buy myself another slightly nicer prospect and start over.


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