Riding — Without Style

I am in that awkward stage where I know a big Aha moment will hit eventually (hopefully soon), but right now I really suck. Here is how my rides have gone lately:

Me: Alright Ava, maybe you could stop making it feel like I’m falling into a hole on the ride side of your body?

Ava: Uhmmm, No.

Me: Fine, lets try leg yielding left to get you on your left shoulder more. (do some leg yields)

Ava: Bring it lady, I can do this all day long.

Me: This is not helping… Ok, lets try haunches-in left.

Ava: Ugh, really. Here’s the slowest haunches-in I can do.

Me: No, go forward while in haunches-in.

Ava: HA. Screw you lady.

Me: thinking “I can fix this. I can fix this”.

Ava: OMG, there is light coming from under the door crack. Spook. 

Me: I’m still here horse.

Ava: Crap…


I’m so frustrated with how my rides have gone that I’m starting to think that any other horse discipline might be a better fit for us. Nothing I try helps for more than a second. Half of me is convinced I’m doing it wrong, the other half thinks my horse is pulling my chain (which she has done before). When all of the clinicians you’ve gone to tell you your horse is capable of going Fourth/PSG and your horse is sitting there telling you that First level sounds like a fine level to stay at…. It creates some discordant rides. Add in the fact that I’ve never gone beyond where I am currently at. In fact, right now I have surpassed all previous training I’ve ever had.  I don’t know what I’m doing, where I’m going, or how to get there.

I hate that feeling!

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. I have a lesson this coming Friday (it’s been 5 weeks since my last lesson). My only hope at this point is that when we get to the lesson the trainer doesn’t think I’ve completely ruined the horse. I’m just hoping it’s all fixable still. I’ve given up the hope that we’ve made progress and have lowered my hopes to “Please don’t let me ruin my horse”.


My mare is a saint to put up with me as well as she does.  I really lucked out finding such a gem.

4 thoughts on “Riding — Without Style

  1. Thank you for your honesty! I found your blog from a link on Karen’s Dressage Blog and thought I would head on over! I ride at Intro/Training Level and switched from a lifetime of Western riding to Dressage about 3 years ago. I too get frustrated when I feel we are not making any progress…. sometimes to the point that I just dread the arena. That is when I hit the trail and relax. Everything that irritated my about my last ride (canter transition, leg yields, whatever) I work it out on the trail. I am no where as far along as you are and I look forward to learning more!


    • Thanks, Sandra. I think trail riding is the best place to train. And the horse always seems happier on the trail then the arena.

      I think the comminality of being frustrated to tears bonds most dressage riders. 😉 We all go through it. And it’s so nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like I’m not getting it, or not as well as we’d like to.


  2. Hahahahaha! I so know this isn’t funny, Mia. But holy crap you make me laugh!

    My rides today were horrible – exactly what you’re describing. Things are better on Sydney, but that’s because he’s been going to regular lessons while Speedy has just been getting whatever I throw at him. Speaking of which, be prepared for a gigantic list of questions regarding how to fix/deal with his ridiculous heaviness on the left rein. I’ll blog about it in a few days. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

    In the mean time, press on girlfriend, you and Ava rock!


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