Dressage is my sport. I love it. I love the theory behind it, I love the way the horses move, I love the challenge...but there are some things about it that make me think that whoever came up with the idea wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree.
Who, in their right mind, requires WHITE breeches for riding. We are dealing with sweaty, hairy, slobbery, nose-blowing beasts. Could someone at least have voted for gray or grass-stain green for breeches? Considering that our competitions are held in warm weather, the whole outfit is ridiculous. Yes, it looks good, it's traditional, it's honorable but still ridiculous. The gloves, boots and helmets I find necessary, it's the jacket that baffles me. Do you see soccer players on the field in dinner jackets? Are the track & field athletes donning blazers? No, because it's ridiculous.
And then there are the letters; the letters used as markers in the Dressage arena: A,F,B,M,C,H,E,K and then R,S,V,P and D,X,G,I. No one knows why these letters were chosen. Who ever chose them has a foul sense of humor, using 7 letters that all sound the same when shouted across the arena.
"Turn at E."
We may have to start reading our dressage tests in police code.
"20 meter circle at Charlie, transition to canter at Alpha."
There could still be room for confusion, though.
"Did you say circle at Harley?"
Then there are the aids for the lateral movements.
"What are the aids for shoulder-in?"
"Inside leg at the girth for bend, outside leg just behind the girth, slight flexion with the inside rein and connected to the outside rein."
"What are the aids for haunches-in?"
"Still the same."
So how does the horse know... it's through your seat, the amounts of pressure from each aid and in your head. If you are going to ask for haunches-in but you're thinking, "I hope he doesn't canter.", the horse can read canter in your body language. You have to think haunches-in.
Dressage is so Zen.
Until next time, "be one with the haunches..."