OK... it was a long time coming, but here it is. I have owned my Quarter/Morgan cross, Duelli for over 10 years… He is now 14. A few years ago, Duelli and I had a bad accident. The details of the accident aren’t important – the accident was 99.9% my fault (they usually are)… Long story short, I put Duelli in a bad situation and using his reactive side of his brain, he reared. I wasn’t ready (since this horse had NEVER reared in his life) and pulled back on the reins. This caused him to lose his balance and he flipped over on top of me. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days with a pelvis that was broken in 4 places. I spent the next 8 weeks in a wheelchair/walker/crutches…. No work, no driving, NO FUN.
The injuries healed, but my confidence had taken a pretty hard hit. All of a sudden, I was really struggling with being afraid. I had never been afraid of riding in my whole lifetime of riding. I was so scared that I would have to get off and walk in the middle of trail rides. I would make excuses to not go riding at all. I even questioned if I should get out of horses. I started over from ground work and arena riding to rebuild my confidence. After some time, I realized that I was pretty confident in an enclosed space (ie roundpen, arena, etc) but terrified out in the open.
When I first heard of Western Dressage last fall, I was thrilled. Finally, something that Duelli and I could do together within the confines of an arena. I would be confident and my horse would be learning something new. We have taken several clinics over the spring/summer and practiced a lot on our own… and guess what, I am no longer afraid. I have been trail riding all summer WITHOUT fear.
Western Dressage is the perfect discipline for someone who is looking to get back into horses but is a little afraid. It’s great for green horses, it’s great for ANY horse, any discipline, and any person. Dressage is simply “training”. A wise trainer once said to me, “when you collect your horse, you collect their mind”. How true that is. My relationship with Duelli has skyrocketed this summer. Everyone at my barn always comments on how “connected” we are… I couldn’t be happier. Well, ok, I could… once I start nailing those more advanced dressage moves!!