I have been riding Western for over 12 years now. Majority of it has been competing in gaming and barrel shows. I love the speed, the adrenaline rush, the wind making my eyes tear; But I've always found myself drawn to something slower. Dressage.
I think Dressage, when done correctly, is beautiful, harmonious and so poised and proper(not really my personality but I love the idea of being poised, proper, and serious) I've always wanted to take a few dressage lessons. I've been playing around with my QH lately and teaching him some very low probably very sloppy Dressage moves. I've been working so much on that, that the poor boy forgot everything about speed and gaming at our last show haha.
I might have the opportunity to do a working student (work for lessons, shows, etc) position at a Dressage barn (if I work up the courage to call them, I'm so nervous!)
I'm not exactly sure at this point and time but I'm fairly certain I would like to go to a highish level of Dressage if possible. I'm conflicted
Also I would try to work as much as I possibly can to get as many lessons a week as I can without interfering with school, work, and riding my horses. So it would make me pretty busy which is definitely not a bad thing because I hate sitting around doing nothing when I've done everything.
- If I still wanted to barrel race as well would that be okay? I wouldn't want to develop any bad habits or mess up any of my dressage training. Barrel shows are coming to an end next month so I would be able to focus on Dressage all winter.
- Would it confuse my horses if I took Dressage lessons? I know I can control which cues I use on them so that shouldn't be a problem (I ride multiple horses and all have relatively different cues from the others) but wouldn't my seat change? Would my seat changing confuse them? I am such a worry wart.
- All of my Western buddies make fun of/joke around with me whenever I break out my English saddle so I can only imagine what they'd say if I started working and taking lessons at a Dressage barn. I don't really care what they think but as most everyone knows some remarks can sting a smidge.
Now general questions.
-What do you look for in a Dressage instructor? The instructor at this barn is a USDF Silver medalist. Is that good? I'm so new to all of this. They also show young to FEI horses at USDF/USEF competitions. - What, in general, would you wear for lessons? Being western I have NO english clothing whatsoever haha. - How big of a transition would it be? I'm nervous I'm too "Western-Y" for the Dressage world or that the instructor wouldn't take me seriously given my riding background. Also, I'm worried about sticking out like a sore thumb. Sorry for the rambling, I'm just really nervous, excited, conflicted, and possibly every other emotion in between haha. Any advice would be awesome. People who've done the same as me (Western to Dressage) stories are welcome. Anything. Thanks