Sunday, October 27, 2013


Photo used with permission
Sometimes I wonder, what would Sugar be like today if she was owned by a professional... or a very talented 20 something?  She is so god-awful talented, athletic and of course beautiful... I do a good job with her but, I am a solid amateur rider - busy with a full-time, stressful career, middle aged and oddly brave with some things and a complete weeny in others.  I do wonder sometimes...

Yesterday I had a dressage lesson with a Man-With-An-Accent (MWAA) - the fabulous Niall Quirk.  There is something about a MWAA (or perhaps just Niall) that takes what is just ordinary and makes it Extraordinary!  Although, we worked on improving what we had, I felt that anything was possible (Spanish Riding School - watch out) and Sugar was right with me.

It's all about Connection.  Ok, you Dressage folks are saying, "DUH!  Of course its about connection, do you not read or listen to anything dressage related.  SIGH, you Eventers are sooooo backwoods..."    Yeah, I do know about Connection and I read/watch so many things about it that I probably could quote a few legends on the matter.   (Although not a parties, people frown on that..)

I'm not talking about the front to back, or the inside leg to outside hand or even hand to mouth (yes, I admit to using that "tool" sometime too).  I'm talking about that moment when horse, rider and instructor connect and every limitation, every ounce of self doubt and every fear slip away and the air is filled with realities and possibilities...  the crossover from ordinary to Extraordinary.

Sugar came into the lesson full of fire and brilliant energy.  This is the horse who makes me feel like a million bucks riding her.  All the fears I had of her being NQR  (not quite right), lame or broken were gone the second I moved away the mounting block. 

Ahhhhh...  this power and energy is fantastic to feel but can turn into an amazing display of naughtiness at any point... a professional would be able to channel that energy 99% of the time, a talented 20 something would laugh with her behavior and for me...  it's a toss up between - dueling angry mares, settling for trot truces, giving up in self derision or channeling it into something nice.

Photo taken by Lacey Odgen at the clinic with iPhone
Niall is a gifted clinician.  He has an amazing "can-do" attitude and his ability to direct our energy and our body is done simply and effectively.  No two lessons are the same and I leave with tools that keep what was taught moving forward.  My only regret was that he was here for just one day.  A girl is left with just a dream on what Day 2 with a MWAA would be like.

Oh yeah... Connection!  Of course, you silly Dressage folk, besides the mystical feeling of connecting with one's horse,  I did mean the amazing feel in your hands and under your seat true Connection.  Sugar may not have the big, wiggling body of a pure dressage horse but when her body gives, the tension releases and she relaxes into your hands... what happens is Extraordinary!

Sometimes I do wonder...  but I don't think Sugar ever does...

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