NEWS FROM THE DRESSAGE FOUNDATION
Thanks to a Gifted Fund Grant for Adult Amateurs from The Dressage Foundation (TDF), Cheryl Tobey of Georgia spent a week training her horse, Heavenly Kruise (“Chloe”) with Greta Wrigley.
What did it mean to me to be able to spend five consecutive days with my trainer, devoted to improving my riding ability and knowledge? Everything! First, to have nothing else interfering with our training gave me the time and focus I needed. No grandchildren, no house or barn chores, no church responsibilities, no GMO tasks, no excuses. Get up in the morning, get ready and ride. Then in the afternoon, ride again. Build on the last session, develop a real sense of feel and see real progress taking place. For once, I have confidence that even though I’m a 63-year-old woman with several physical limitations, I am capable of moving forward.
If I could use three words to describe what I learned that week, they would not be about the technical aspects of dressage. Although technique is important and makes it all possible, it is only useful because of planning, preparation and position- ing. My “light-bulb moments” included planning or thinking ahead so that I can be subtle in my movements; knowing where I want to go and how I want to get there; positioning my body, not just a hand or a foot, but all of me, so that my planning pays off. By the end of the week, improvement was certainly there. I was more confident, better prepared and went about each movement with more of a plan. My seat and position had better quality. Chloe was more responsive and we had a much better working partnership. Since returning home, improvement continues. I wish I could say it has always gone smoothly, but I can say that the rough patches have resulted in “high-wattage” bulbs lighting up. Watching videos of my riding, I see such improvement in my position. And when I get it right, Chloe responds beautifully. Without this opportunity from The Dressage Foundation and the Gifted Fund Grant, I know we would be struggling with some of the same old issues. We’ve moved on to new ones, and I’m happy to say the problem-solving is taking much less time!
To read Cheryl’s full report, visit dressagefoundation.org.