10 Things I Learned in My First Dressage Lesson

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lach. Photo courtesy of Lisa Lach.

Lisa Lach has been riding for nearly 20 years in a variety of disciplines, mostly recently throwing her hat in the ring for the sport of eventing (see her previous blog post “A Hunter Comes to the Dark Side.”) She has been competing locally in Wisconsin for the last four years while riding anything she can get her hands on. She is a marketing professional by day, and in her free time she blogs at Centered in the Saddle.

I had my first two dressage lessons recently. If, like me, you are new to eventing and/or dressage, then this list may hit home. If, unlike me, you have been eventing for years, this list may bring you down memory lane, back to when you were just a wee thing with starry eyes beginning your adventure in the sand box.

1. You’ll think more intently about the bend in your elbows than ever before.

2. Your butt muscles will be extremely sore for three days after the lesson. At least.

3. It’s really hard not to push your heel down when that has been drilled into you for years.

4. The outside rein is your new BFF.

5. Sit up straighter. Always. You are not sitting up straight enough.

6. It’s time to start doing crunches and planks because your core is not strong enough.

7. Ride everything like you’re moving up an incline, even downward transitions.

8. Full seat breeches are the greatest sartorial invention ever.

9. Seriously, open your hip angle and sit up straight.

10. Dressage is kind of awesome.

It’s true. I think dressage is pretty cool. It’s hard, it’s cerebral, and it requires a lot from both horse and rider. Not that I’m ready to give up jumping all the things, but I will no longer feel that slight disappointment when I hear the words, “flat lesson today!”