I was reminded about a quote from Christoph Hess, (FEI “I” judge and former director of training for the German Olympic Committee) who said that the journey to ride at Grand Prix was like hiking across the Rocky Mountains, barefoot and in winter! And yet riders set out every day with fresh enthusiasm to train their horses and themselves in this exacting sport. I’d like to believe that we continue the journey because we are inspired by every small proof of improvement and that every day we build a better relationship with our horses through dressage is a good day.
So tomorrow when you finish your warm-up and consider which exercise should come next, cross your stirrups over your horse’s withers and ride without them while you school your lateral work and transitions. Imagine you’re traveling over frozen mountain trails in mid-January when your thighs begin to burn and your lower back begins to ache. Then be grateful for those nice warm boots you’re wearing and remember that dressage is not easy – so sit up straight, toes forward, lift your chin and ride! Susan Moody, IEO President