“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us.”Ephesians 1:18-19
So this thought came into my noggin this evening.
(Ok, I just heard a cow. I live in the suburbs of Auburn. Why did I just hear a cow?)
Anyways, the entirety of November through the Spring I live and ride in the dark. It gets dark at 4:45 pm; I hate it. Thus, I had planned to take Frye out for a quick jump school tonight, but I thought the footing was a bit tough after torrential rains, so I threw on the dressage saddle instead.
For my non-horsey friends. Stay with me. This is a post is very much for you. Dressage can be compared possibly to a mix between yoga meets some kind of military march. It’s a phase of my sport that derives from the military training of horses. You train the horse how to use his body in a balanced and very obedient-strong manner. It’s judged on the horse’s training and ability to perform movements.
So, usually this phase is not my strength. There is a bit more adrenaline to jumping fences. But today, I really focused on having a correct warm-up, staying very correct and fluid in my position, and therefore ended up having a very good ride.
This brought up my very matter-of-fact decision. I receive much more pleasure out of having a really good and correct ride on the flat/riding dressage than I do in a good jump school. But, 9 x out of 10 my dressage schools involve a little bit of good, a little bit of errr figuring something out, a little bit of settling for mediocrity.
You ask any eventer, and they will inform you that cross-country is by far their favorite phase and we put up with the others.
But, if I’m really honest with myself. I love dressage. But between, the structure, and time commitment to develop strength, and the training it’s f***ing hard. Now, when I do surround myself with the right resources of trainers and commit myself to training correctly, it begins to feel much more natural. Any severe break in this training is a few steps back into that itchy-uncomfortable trying to mold back into a solid box feel.
So, I usually grudgingly flat, and look forward to my jump schools and hacks in the woods. It’s a bit more exciting and my horse is a nifty little jumper.
So then, a lot of time we find ourselves completely secure and at peace with something. But the patience and commitment to attain it are just too damn hard. There are so many other things like grande cups of coffee and gossiping with friends or writing a silly blog that are fun too. Can’t I just take an easier route to just simply enjoy these things?
Just a touch of something that might be important though is this. So when you do commit yourself to learning the art of dressage and have a horse who is supple, and strong, and in this relationship with you: the other phases of show-jumping and even cross-country become better.
There are things I want so bad, but they’re just so hard. Hard to wait for, take a lot of time, take too much patience, and don’t allow for sassiness. But what if I just work it out. I put my head down, and really just not cop-out and not accept simpler things because they’re easy.
Sometimes I feel like this is my relationship with Christ too. It’s hard. I’m going to tell you, I can be a bit luke-warm about it I mean I do the christian thing but just y’know I can easily suffice some days with a long heart-to-heart with Mom and a pup snuggle. But, when I do whole-heartedly seek him. Study what He says and what He wants me to do, surround myself with peers who build me up and share what they learn about Christ, the peace and security I get are so so much better. When I’m back in this supple and obedient walk everything else become so much better. It’s unexplainable like when your horse is connected in the bridle and you ask or medium trot and they just lift their bodies but keep floppy ears as they push forward. It’s like strength and softness and it’s just really cool.
So in my current stage of young-adulthood. I’m conspiring between just enjoying some things right now and life’s complacency. It’s pretty nice. Or really just pressing forward and persevering for what I really know I want and fighting for it and being unashamed about it so that I can really reach a point to where my Joy-bombs burst into all those other still good things.
It’s just frankly very hard.
Click for a quick shot of a dressage lesson this summer with Frye Baby and a master, Phillip Dutton