Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
It's great that you want to take lessons. Since you've already ridden horses without them, I would advise that you start English Pleasure at the barn where you sister takes Western, if she likes the barn. Part of horses as a hobby is a social element and you two could travel to lessons together and encourage each other.
Yes, the longer any of us rides/trains that more we appreciate Dressage. It's just a fancy title to define the obedience and gymnastic training of horse and rider, made sometimes snobby by an emphasis on the first syllable. =b
Speaking as a past riding instructor, there are probably some bad habits that you will need to eradicate before you tackle Dressage. You probably have a chair seat, no feel for the horses mouth and no understanding of a deep seat and weight cues. UNLESS you can find an academy that starts you on the lunge for 6 months to train your seat and keep your hands away from the reins--you might not like that right NOW--I wouldn't want to teach you basic Dressage on "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) if he was still around, bc you're not ready. You REALLY have to be dedicated to begin your lessons like this, and I get the impression that you want to learn to ride AND have fun. I believe that you can do both, and then see where you want to go with your riding. There is NO perfect form of riding and lots of us like to use our horses for multiple sports. If there is a Dressage academy close by, it will still be there later if you want to take lessons there.
I forgot the name of which Itnl USET Jumper, but he rode Showjumpers in two Olympics and then switched to driving Racing Standardbreds for 30 years. It's like that with musicians where someone begins with one instrument, then sometimes switches to a different one and finds that's where they want to stay.
Enjoy, whatever you do. =D