This past weekend brought back many memories. My daughter entered her first dressage show. While my knowledge in this sport is more historical, the experience did stir up equine memories. I first learned about the art of dressage from my mother. She explained how her Uncle Billy, along with any men with horse experience, were recruited during WWII to train for the invasion of Italy, as motorized vehicles could not maneuver the rocky terrain. Uncle Billy and all those other “Cowboys” prepared to infiltrate and ultimately fight using horses and mules. Much of this training can be traced to modern day dressage.
Growing up a city girl, Mom and Dad found a way to provide the “horse experience.” My primary horse knowledge involves a western saddle, upon Dad’s insistence (Probably because of his childhood in the Colorado mountains).
However, one day when Mom was making the daily jaunt to the barn, she surprised me, “I picked up a used English saddle. Give it a try.” And proceeded to tell me about Uncle Billy’s experience during the war.
Back to recent events…three weeks ago, MKs trainer, Jenn, suggested she try a dressage show. MK primarily studies behavioral/training issues, not show preparation. While I was hesitant, Jenn assured me that Mary had a firm foundation, and with a bit of focus, she could learn the needed information.
So for the past three weeks, she immersed herself in videos and lessons while I attempted to throw together an outfit. After a trip to Goodwill, I found a suitable coat (with a few minor alterations), and thanks to some borrowed tack, she was good to go! Her choice of pin brought me tears, the unicorn pin Mom gave her last year (shortly before passing).
Horse shows are an exciting and nerve wracking time (for mothers and daughters). The mental focus is only amplified when also preparing the perfect 3-4 minute routine partnered with a 1,000-1500 lb. animal. Though horse shows provide the perfect, final perk, the down time, just being there, relaxing in the midst of the glorious chaos.
While not the finest cinematography (In my defense, I apparently have potential as a show mom;), much of the day is here. Enjoy!
What a wonderful thing to learn…she looked one in spirit with her horse. Way to go MOM FOR TEACHING YOUR DAUGHTER THESE SPECIAL GIFTS….
I loved reading this story to start my day! It was wonderful to see a tradition passed on. I love the World War II connection and, of course, the unicorn pin.
Thank you! It was a fun day. We’re looking forward to the 2017 Dressage season.