For most people, in order to become a world class dressage rider, one must travel to Europe, Florida or California with at least one quality, upper level horse. From there they must ride each of these horses every day under supervision. Beyond that it is crucial for the horses to remain sound and healthy through some cross training, many veterinary visits and an extremely balanced diet. For the rider it is also important to stay fit off of the horse by doing pilates and yoga and eating right.
The training is extremely rigorous. Costs can easily exceed $10,000 a month and if you are out of your home country, income is nil. Your entire day is focused towards dressage and horse care. There is no such thing as a "day off".
For people like me who are not at the point where they can commit to such a level of training, the same principles apply. I only have one horse and live 3 hours away from my coach. I get training whenever possible but otherwise am on my own - meaning I need to find motivation myself.
I work 45 - 50 hours a week, have a job cleaning stalls at the barn on Sundays and am at the barn every day training my horse. Recently I have started riding another horse twice a week. I also go to the gym once a week. From there my horse is seen by a farrier every 6 weeks and by a vet and massage therapist every 12-16 weeks.
It's not easy, but it is rewarding! You really have to love horses and love the sport.