By Sally O’Dwyer
“Your vision of what you want to be is your superpower.” -Sally O’Dwyer
Passion is a choice and deciding is an action. You do not get chosen—you choose. Once you decide, the muddling ends and your path becomes clear. Is it time for you to sign up, be intentional, and make time to do the work? The sport of dressage is not for dilettantes, dabblers, or hobbyists.
“When we adopt the posture of commitment, something extraordinary happens: the lessons get more profound and useful. The questions asked get more specific and urgent. The connections that are made get deeper.” -Seth Godin.
Once you decide that you are going to give dressage your all, your focus will improve, and your decision will guide you on what really matters, spark passion in you, and help you face your fears.
Decision-making criteria: While we can have big, fat, fabulous dreams, a good decision is reality-based. Consider these tough questions: do your finances support this decision? While it is possible to lower expenses by being creative, dressage is still expensive. Are your family, loved ones, and friends behind you on this? Do you have the right team to help you? You are going to need experts to assist you on this journey. Trying to ride dressage on your own is like walking on a tightrope without a net.
Is your decision right for your horse? Is your horse sound, with a good temperament, and willing to learn? Will your horse be happy in this role? Are you sure you can commit to make the time and put in the effort to maintain your fitness and the fitness of your horse? If you are not currently in a situation that lends itself to pursuing dressage more seriously, are you willing to make changes that might be difficult for you? (Jana and Imparable pictured)
Believe. While there are many factors involved in becoming a better rider and taking your relationship with your horse to a new level, you must first believe in your partnership. Of course, there are no guarantees. But one thing for sure is that you will, 100%, certainly, and without a doubt, not get there if you do not think it is possible.
Be a Grand Prix rider in training! With clarity of intention, you will see yourself as a work in progress, and with this mindset, who knows how far you can go? It is not about how good you are right now; it is how good you can be. Just like everyone else, you have great potential. I am not talking about blind ambition, but do not let negativity and self-doubt shove you around.
Once you have decided, begin where you are. Determine your priorities and create a plan based on incremental progress—the hallmark of dressage. Say “no” to things that do not help you reach your goals. Know that everyone who has advanced in dressage has been where you are now in your training. They stayed focused, held on with everything they had, and did not let anything get in their way. Good riding is not found in DNA—it’s attitude and skill—both can be learned!
Respect yourself enough to invest in and appreciate yourself. You are worthy to dance. Choose your reality—it is up to you! Go ahead, be audacious. Embrace your potential. Owning a mighty goal takes courage. But you got this!
About me. I am an amateur dressage rider, living in Boulder, Colorado. I enjoy learning and competing in dressage. I hope to encourage others to GO FOR IT!