I spent the summer before my senior year exploring dressage with Magnum, the horse I lease from Otterbein University. I have been riding Magnum in lessons since I was a sophomore when he sparked my interest in dressage; this summer my goals developed into showing Magnum 1st level. I began taking additional lessons, reading about dressage masters and their methods and learning to develop a training schedule that benefitted my horse and myself.
Initially, I had a cycle in which we had three good rides in a row, followed by just as many that we struggled through. We changed tack, debated supplements, adjusted his turnout schedule and took more lessons. Then, the dressage arena went up at home and we started to put all of our new knowledge together before we headed off to our first schooling show. At the show, Magnum was wonderful and seemed to love being back in ‘show mode.’ We ended our first show together as high-point champion and even brought home my first prize cooler. Of course, now I am afraid to let Magnum wear it and get it dirty!
After a great show experience, we headed back out to a recognized show in August. We achieved the high score Training-1st Level ribbon on Sunday and Magnum received the ribbon for highest scoring Trakehner of the weekend. I also tried my hand at a 2nd level test and cannot wait to get out and compete again after receiving a solid score, helpful comments and having so much fun!
This summer has left me a better dressage rider than I was at the start of my Otterbein experience. The way I think and problem solve when I encounter roadblocks on horseback have changed, my position has improved and my development as a rider off the horse is present as never before. Watching the changes in Magnum have been just as interesting; his muscling is different, he seems happier to see me when I arrive at the barn and I genuinely think he enjoys the more challenging work we have asked of him. I look forward to continuing my dressage education and hope to eventually earn my USDF Bronze Medal riding Magnum. But for now, it is back to school one last time and riding once again has to share time with classes.