Saturday, July 22, 2006

Perhaps my dreams are nearer than I thought

I went to Saint John today for a ride, and by fluke I got to ride a horse trained to Intermediare I, which is an international level, instead of the lower level horse I usually ride. I have ridden this horse once before, a year ago in my very first lesson at Debbie's barn. Then, we were tinkering around with very basic, low level stuff. Well, as I discovered today I have come a LONG way in a year!

After I warmed her up, I asked for some trot half pass (which for those of you non horse people is the most advanced of all those movements when the horse goes forwards and sideways at the same time). I've never really done half pass, but when I asked for it, Pere just did it. And miraculously, after a little bit of half pass, she relaxed everything in her body and just gave me the keys, so to speak. She went from farm tractor to Porsche in about 5 minutes. After that, we did some trot lengthenings (when the horse takes longer, slower steps, and it looks like they are floating, barely touching the ground), and those went well, so we went onto canter. In the canter, I asked for some more half pass (which is harder in the canter), and she did it. It was just amazing, because I have never done half pass in canter, and its quite an advanced movement, and she just did it with no hesitation. It felt so powerful and light. I know its really a cliche to say this, but it felt like we were dancing together. In the end we did some movements from fourth level tests (the last level before the international ones) and they went just as easily as could be. I almost think that with a few weeks of work with this horse, I could ride a 4th level, or even Prix St. Georges test competently.

Seriously, today has given me hope that I won't spend the rest of my riding career riding 20 meter circles watching everyone else passaging and pirouetting around, wishing I could join them. Dressage world, now that I've had a taste of this, I'm not gonna quit, so look out, HERE I COME!!! :)

PS. For those interested, the dressage levels go like this:
Training Level <--- Where 95% of all riders are, where I'll be competing later in the summer
First Level <--- Where I am with the horse I usually ride
Second Level
Third Level
Fourth Level <--- The level we were doing movements from today
Prix St.Georges <--- The best rider in NB is currently showing this level
Intermediare I
Intermediare II
Grand Prix <--- Olympic level