Like Cement Drying

Dressage is occasionally called a “long obedience in the same direction,” although the colloquial “like watching cement dry” is a more apt descriptor.

As 2017 concludes, I’m impatient for the things that 2018 will bring. There are lots of good things in store planned– like the WAMS podcast– but like a child in a candy store, I want it all now, RIGHT NOW.

The thing about dressage is that one must learn to walk the fine line of patience and moving the bar forward. Too much moving the bar and you are bound to lose the quality of the basics. Too much staying in one spot, and you’ll never know what all you could do with your horse. Dressage riders are skilled tightrope artists, indeed.

Ambition is the enemy of patience.

Ambition for a dressage rider is a like a type of greed: it tells you to have more, to get it faster than it will come naturally, that achievement is greater than the journey and partnership to get there in the first place.

And yet– the desire to be more, to learn more, to seek continual improvement is like oxygen. It teaches us to keep stepping forward, to keep testing the dryness of the cement because we know that one day, we’ll come out and whatever it is– a canter-walk transition, a smaller circle, a series of flying changes or even steps of piaffe– will happen. The cement will be dry.

Patience is active. It is keeping ourselves from fidgeting, yet not detaching from boredom. Patience is uncomfortable.

What areas in your riding do you need to cultivate patience? Where do you waver between ambition and boredom?

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