If I can keep this to only a mini - novel, not an epic, I will. Very brief history of me/my riding. Age 30. Been riding 18 years mainly hunters, jumped through 4 foot.I showed in hunters for something like 6 or 8 years until I started Dressage in 2000 because one of my very best hunter horses was very on the forehand and we used that training to lighten him up to improve his coursework. I started to love Dressage for the amount of collection I could produce and how cool it felt. About 2003 I got pretty heavy into Dressage, lessoning with GP level trainers and riding GP trained horses. I didn't do much showing, more learning than anything.
In 2005 everything went down hill and I have been consistently ruining every horse I ride attempting to ride Dressage. I work with upper level trainers, USDF bronze and silver medalists, I still ride hunters and ride with trainers that compete in 4' hunters and GP level jumpers. I have no problems riding hunter. Whenever I ride a horse in dressage consistently, they get ruined. I mean ruined.
In 2005, I bought a low level dressage horse, by April 2006, he was totally unrideable, painfully back sore, and would buck like crazy if you sat on him at the mounting block. I gave him many months off and tried to ride him again, managed to get through 2 Dressage shows and 3 months, and he started back into bucking and being tense. He had 3 years off until this summer a girl got on him western and he was perfect for her. With no warm up, no pre working, nothing. She just asked if she could ride him, I told her how he'd behaved 3 years before and up she went and he was perfect for her.
At the time, I was also riding another horse 1-2 x's a week and he began to buck and jump off the ground and refused to be ridden after a few months of me riding him.
In June 06 I bought a lovely warmblood mare that had some basic dressage training into 1st level movements on her. I had no problems with her at all and we were working well on the basics of suppling, flexing, and bending. I really thought I bought the perfect horse and our trainer always said we were a great pair. By Dec, the mare was completlely unrideable. She exploded on me one day when I asked for a canter and reared and bucked and started squealing and striking the ground. About 10 minutes later, I couldn't get her to walk, she would bite at me and tense up when I put my leg on her.
The whole time, I worked with trainers (and then many vets) who all said it wasn't me, that I ride correctly, effectively, and am not hand heavy or doing anything I shouldn't be doing. The trainers said I can't be causing these problems. I had the saddle looked at, I changed saddles, I rode Western on these horses, I tried everything.
I had one vet who told me it was all me and I shouldn't be riding Dressage because I clearly have no clue what I'm doing.
A 5 star eventer rider and problem horse trainer came to ride the mare and said it was a behavioural problem. He saw me ride and didn't think I was doing anything wrong, but very clearly saw the violent and aggressive way the mare would react to me - bitinig, striking, cow kicking, bucking and rearing - VERY high. She behaved the same way for him but he was able to get her going nicely in a frame and working. I couldn't even get her to walk off the mounting block. I tried for 2 years to ride her after that and she always reacted the same to me- even just being leadlined by someon on the ground. I took her to my hunter trainer and they've never had a problem with her, they jump her around full courses and she's been fine with them.
I have also been riding hunters for the last couple years and have no problems, I don't jump very high anymore, only about 2'6", and I don't ride any where near as often as I used to, going from every day riding different horses to riding once a week if I'm lucky on a school horse.
But I really miss Dressage and this summer started leasing a trained 4th level horse. He was a very good boy and once again I started with working with a medal winning trainer. She said I rode the horse correctly and handled him well, even though he was a 17.3h powerhouse with a huge motor. Personally I felt like I did nothing but fight with him to keep him from bolting around the arena, and combined with that he was incredibly spooky at every little thing, I stopped leasing him.
I continued with lessons with a different trainer starting this fall and rode her school horse for a while and only had one issue with him pinning his ears, throwing his head up and not wanting to move forward. 5 weeks ago I started leasing a fantastic lower level dressage horse that she trains. He is so soft, so light, and so well trained, I thought this was the best thing ever. Working with the trainer this horse and I have really blossomed. I've only been on him maybe 12 times.
Now he's getting incredibly girth sore, far worse than he was when I started leasing him, last night he started