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RC: dressage and endurance

Cindy Collins
After resisting "arena" work for years because I hate the whole show scene
and what they've done to horses, I started taking dressage lessons from an
wonderful woman with a great sense of humor (if you saw me ride or my
horse spook, you'd understand the need for that!) who also events.  Her
eventing background meant a lot to me because she has some understanding
of real conditioning and riding fast cross country.  Anyhow, I had a young
mare I was just starting in endurance who was/is a major "head case" and I
felt she really needed the structure and obedience of dressage.  Of
course, I needed it worse...just watch most endurance rider's hands and
seat or ask them about leads and diagonals...and you have that picture.
I can't say enough about how much these lessons have helped me and my
horse.  Because I needed some goals to keep me going with this (by the
way, it's hard work!), I entered all of the local schooling shows last
winter at Intro 2 and Training I levels.  We won one best score in
show!...of course, that was at Intro level and not entirely fair in my
mind when competing against 2nd level horses, but that's how the game is
played and I was so proud of my little plaque.  My mare completed 450
miles this season and was always under control and on the correct lead or
diagonal on the trail!  What a concept.  I am sold on using dressage
training for my endurance horses.  We've just started up our winter weekly
lessons again and I will, once again, enter all the local schooling shows.
When I can afford it, I also participate in local clinics that bring in
out of town/area instructors.  I've learned so much.  No one has laughed
at my Arab and almost everyone has been very encouraging.  Hope you'll
keep it up and enter a few schooling shows for fun.  I'll never be a "DQ",
but glad I took the risk  to try this.   Cindy Collins, AERC #176, 7,005

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