And away we go

By the time most of you read this Henry and I will be on the road, on our way to Greenwood for our second HT of the season. It’s a 3-4 hour drive (or so the map says, I’ve never been) but he’s got a full hay net, I’ve got cheddar popcorn, and that’s really all that either of us require. We had one last dressage lesson last night, in which we played with rein back-to-canter for the first time. Hens thought that was great fun. He was much less enthusiastic about the subsequent canter-halt idea.

Why you do dis to me?

He also got to test out his fluffy new dressage girth, which he seemed equally unappreciative of.

girths don’t count as presents

Since he was in such a great mood I decided to give him a bath.

So many sads

I asked him what he thought about that too, so I could tell his readers, but he just flapped his lips and ignored me.

No comment, go way

On Wednesday I made the mistake of going back through a couple years of video from Greenwood to get an idea of the XC course and found that they have not one but TWO down banks. For someone on a horse who hates them, and considering we picked up a stop last fall at one, I am not excited. Now I’m dreading it a little and really hoping we can get it done. I chatted with Jumping Trainer about it and we devised a strategy, and more importantly – a mindset. We’re goin down for real. GDFR.

I’ll be playing this song on repeat all weekend until Henry is like “Holy crap, FINE, I get it, I’ll jump down, just please god turn off the Flo Rida!!!”. Seems like a totally legit riding and training method to me. Whatever works.

Plus I got a new poo cart, and I feel like it’s impossible to have a bad weekend when you’ve got a new poo cart.

Skinny Girls with Fat Horses

This is a subject I’ve been considering writing about for a long time, but never could seem to quite organize my thoughts well enough. Take a look around horse shows these days and an overwhelming majority of what you see is very thin girls on very fat horses. I never could figure out why the “ideal” rider shape was rail thin with mile long legs, and the “ideal” horse shape was fat as a tick.

photo by Lauren Mauldin
When I saw this blog post on Horse Nation yesterday, I thought the author really had some great points. The line “Who made me believe that the most beautiful part of me is my negative space?” is pretty poignantI was lucky enough to show in the jumpers as a junior so I didn’t feel the same pressure that I know the equitation and hunter girls felt in regards to being thin, but I think that learning to love our bodies as they are – thin or not – is something that every woman struggles with at some point. I will never be rail thin and I’ve never really felt the compulsion to be, but I know exactly what the author is talking about regarding body shaming, and she’s right.

It also bothered me a couple weeks ago when this article about Selena Gomez’s recent weight gain was popping up all over facebook. I’m pretty disappointed that we, as a culture, would call that fat. Why do we think that skeleton thin and bony is what looks good? It’s not strong. It’s not healthy. Why aren’t strong and healthy our paramount goals, regardless of what size it comes in? I’d be pretty thrilled if I could ride as well as any of these ladies:

Beast Mode Beezie is not a size 0
Pocket Rocket Margie does not have long skinny legs

Jen Alfano is too full of awesome to have  room for a thigh gap.
And yet to hear people talk about it from the horse perspective (in the hunter ring at least), there is no such thing as too fat. Obese hunter after obese hunter plods around the ring these days, usually looking tired and winded by the end of an 8-10 fence course. A fit horse is seen as a negative thing in the hunter world, because a fit horse is hard to make tired, and a tired horse is a quiet horse. How did this sport get so far from it’s roots of foxhunting, where a fit, healthy, athletic creature was required and a tired horse was dangerous? Of course there is the saying that fat and chrome can hide a multitude of conformation “sins”, especially to the less educated eye, so I suppose that has a lot to do with it.

I can’t really speak to any of the other horse sports outside of h/j and eventing because I haven’t participated in them enough to understand what their outlook is or where their prejudices lie. It has been a gradual process, and still one that I have to consciously make, to get my eye re-tuned to being ok with seeing a hint of rib on my horse. Or in the case of the truly fit event horse – seeing lots of ribs. For some reason we get programmed to think that a horse in good shape is a horse who has a liberal coating of fat, and yet we see a rider with a little bit of fluff, or even just a lot of muscle, and immediately assume they’re lazy and out of shape. We think truly fat ponies are adorable (“give them cookies!”) and average sized people are repulsive (“put the fork down, fattie”, which I have actually heard from another spectator sitting ringside at a hunter show). Why? What makes us programmed that way?

One of the most athletic eventing duo’s in the world – Shiraz and Colleen Rutledge.
In reality, a horse that is healthy is one that is fit, well cared for, and well conditioned for his job. His bones and tendons are strong, his muscles are toned, he can easily carry himself and his rider around and do his job without becoming excessively labored, and he has the stamina to perform the tasks we set in front of them. An obese, un-fit horse is none of those things… he is more prone to injury and more prone to sourness. On the same token, a rider that is healthy is one that is strong enough to help the horse rather than hinder it, strong enough to keep a proper position, and has the stamina to not “peter out” by end and leave the horse to do it’s job on it’s own. We are both athletes, we need to have the same expectations of each other. Weak and unfit is not okay, whether it’s too thin or too fat. The size of your breeches is just a number, and seeing a couple ribs on a horse doesn’t mean it isn’t in top condition. We both need to be healthy and strong, for each other, and at the end of the day that’s what really matters.

Priced out of the market

I have a lot of sympathy for the photographers and videographers that try to make a living shooting horse shows. I know there’s a lot of overhead, the equipment costs are astronomical, and it seems like everyone and their brother owns a decent DSLR these days. I try to support our local photographers and videographers as much as possible. Even if there isn’t media that I head- over-heels love, I’ll try to at least buy something.

I bought this one, even though the timing is off, because I wanted to support the photographer.

The photographer and videographer for the event this coming weekend both offer pre-order packages, which I was pretty excited about, thinking I could save some money that way. Then I opened the emails and did some math, and to pre-order photos and video would cost $250. That’s more than my entry fee was.

I’d love to support them, I really would, but at that point I’m priced out of the market. Now I just have to hope that they actually manage to get some media of me, that it’s decent, and then see if I can pony up the money after the fact for whatever sliver of it I can afford. Usually one digital image costs me $50 which means that I really can only justify buying one, maybe two if I’m feeling particularly rich that day and if they happened to get some pictures of me (since I’m not a pre-order I’m not priority, so sometimes there’s nothing). But like I said, I understand their struggle, so I generally just grumble a little then buy something anyway if it’s halfway decent. That bums me out not only because I’m possibly missing out on pictures and video, which I love, but it also means that I may or may not actually end up giving them any money at all. Then we both lose.

I kinda miss the one photographer from the local h/j shows that charged a low fee of $15 per digital file for a small facebook quality photo. It certainly wasn’t suitable for anything else, but that’s all I need them for so I’m happy. I could buy several of those, and always did. Sadly, I’ve never seen anyone else offer an option like that.

Who buys cheap low res pictures? ME!


lots of them


All the time.


On lots of different horses.


For years and years.

Despite all this, I don’t really know what the answer is. Their struggles are real and I understand that, but so are mine. In a sport that is already so expensive, it’s just not feasible for me, and probably for most people, to spend more on media than they do on entry fees. I’m convinced there’s got to be a middle ground. I want to help them out and feed their business but at these prices it sadly becomes impossible.

Being prepared is overrated

Since apparently Texas has decided to emulate Seattle this spring and turn our arenas into lakes, I haven’t ridden my horse since last Thursday. That’s not generally such a big deal, Henry does fine just sitting around. It is, however, much less ideal when you’re leaving for your biggest event to date in a few days. And you’re going alone. No barnmates, no trainer. To a place myself and my horse have never been. Did I mention my division is totally stacked with very experienced and nice horse/rider combinations? Someone somewhere is laughing at me for thinking this was a good idea, and now probably all of you are as well. It’s ok, I’m laughing at me too.


Also because I’m in the lowest of lowly smurfs division, my ride times are all late. I’m ok with that on Saturday but it’s going to suck on Sunday when after XC I have to drive 210 miles home, drop off the horse and the trailer and my stuff, then take the rental truck back to the south side of town. We’re going to choose to look at this as an ADVENTURE! Because what other choice is there? And it’ll be fun anyway. Hopefully.

which leads us to my super appropriate new bracelet from Swanky Saddle. It says “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”

Since I haven’t been able to ride, I’ve delved knee deep into my first Charles de Kunffy book “Training Strategies for Dressage Riders”. There’s a lot of information crammed in there. If you’re the kind of person who loves philosophy and extreme detail, this is the book for you. I’m finding it very informative, but it’s definitely not light reading. I’m about halfway through and have two typed pages of quotes, plus there’s a a few sections that really are worthy of being quoted in their entirely. Especially the pages on punishment, gadgetry (particularly draw reins and tie-downs) and the horse as a partner. There’s an entire chapter on insubordination of the horse to the rider that I feel like should be required reading for anyone who gets on a horse.  Other things though – there’s so much detail and intricacy that my brain can’t deal with it for more than 15 minutes at a time. I have to read a little, then give it time to sink in, then read more. There’s lots of cool charts and tables though.

Hopefully today we can at least go for a road hack, then we’ll see what the rest of the week brings.

Rolex thoughts and reflections

My main thoughts from spending a cumulative 9 million hours glued to my live feed over the last 4 days:

1) I’m really discouraged by Karen O’Connor saying she prefers a top hat. Really really discouraged. I was also discouraged by her during the Carolina feed a while back when she said she preferred having the show jumping before the XC. That’s not eventing. And even if you do like the look of a top hat better, you probably shouldn’t say that when you’re a big time role model.

photo from The Chronicle of the Horse

2) I did however agree with her preference for a smaller horse. I too think that 15.3-16.1h is ideal.

3) Michael Jung is probably the most impressive rider I’ve ever seen. He is world class in all three phases. I learned a lot just from watching him. The way he uses his body and seat, not his hands, is second to none. His balance is impeccable.

4) WFP is an alien. There’s no other explanation for him. He’s too tall, he’s too balanced, his neck is too long, he’s too elegant, and he rides too well. Definitely alien.

5) Listen up here, Charles Owen! The custom AYR8 is SO COOL, how come there’s no custom skull cap? Imagine if you had 12-15 colors of shell to choose from for the Pro II helmet, and then 12-15 colors to choose from for the cover. I would buy that. Every eventer would buy that. You can’t argue with me here because you know it’s true. Also matching custom Roeckl’s. I would buy those too. Hire me, let’s make beautiful things together.

I want this in yellow with a navy cover, thanks.

6) It’s interesting to look at who is wearing an air vest and who isn’t. Very few Americans without, very few foreigners with.

7) Before I die, I shall own a Connemara cross.

8) My dream horse is fischerRocana x Mighty Anakonda (the Mighty Magic stallion that MJ acquired last fall).  Can we make that happen, Team MJ?

9) Wearing head to toe white for XC is really ballsy. Really really ballsy.

10) I hate the new frangible pin penalty rule. The way it played out here wasn’t right and it must be fixed.

11) I still believe in Bells! Better luck next time, Jimmie, you’re a class act.

12) Watching these riders and listening to them talk about their horses gave me a real sense of pride about my sport. The level of appreciation and care for the horse is like nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced in any other sport that I’ve been involved in. So much pony love and gratitude, even when things didn’t go their way, makes my little heart go pitter patter. We might be a bit whacky and sometimes rough around the edges, but the level of horsemanship is second to none.


can’t Life right now, come back later

USEF Network live streaming from Rolex is both the best thing ever and the worst thing ever. I pulled it up yesterday fully intending on leaving it in the background with the sound down low and only pop it to the front when someone came in that I really wanted to watch. That ended up happening more than half the time. My newfound “You will not defeat me” attitude toward dressage has suddenly made me feel like I’ve spent forever in the desert, finally found water, and now I can’t possibly soak up enough. Yesterday when I changed lanes in my car I actually thought to myself that the hind end was trailing. Great, now I’m leg yielding my car. Obviously dressage makes people crazy.

But, since I’m so obsessed with Rolex right now, I’m basically useless for anything else. I’ll sum up my week for you in a series of pictures:

I’ve now Scotchgarded every white thing I own. The square pads came out great so the breeches and Ogilvy got sprayed too. Scotchgard is life.

I got Henry’s ribbon from Pine Hill. I took this picture of it and then promptly left it at the barn and forgot about it. Sorry satin lovers. Hey, it’s white, maybe I should Scotchgard it! (kidding. mostly)

Henry did a lot of thinking about his new dressage-heavy life. He says it needz moar jumps.

And that’s about it, because the Rolex live feed is gonna start soon and I’ve got obsessions to feed. I’ll leave you with the knowledge of several sales happening right now:

PS of Sweden – 15% off saddle pads and polos this weekend

Riding Warehouse – 15% off through today with code FLASH15

O’Shaughnessey – 15% off with code OS5K

Personally Preppy – 20% off with code YAYFOR20K

Swanky Saddle – first 50 orders get 25% off with code SWANKY25

Gray & Co. Designs – Free Stuff Friday, all orders placed today receive a free gift

Divoza – 20% off all breeches, or 15Euro off all orders over 75Euro

Because nothing says Rolex like buying a whole bunch of stuff.

Best. Cheap. Stuff.

We’ve all got those few little staples in our collection that we can’t live without… that exact brush or saddle pad or pair of gloves or hairnet. They might not seem like much but they’re so awesome in their own little way. Since it would be a little silly to do a review on each of these small things I decided to throw my favorite “Must Have items for under $20” together in one post. Because cheap essentials are always important!

Ultimate Hoof Pick

If you’ve ever tried to pick dried Black Gumbo mud out of a foot, you’ll understand that a jackhammer is more helpful for the task than a regular hoofpick. This thing is rugged and this thing means business. The pick is shaped more like a flathead screwdriver, which makes it extremely efficient at picking out the toughest of mud and rocks. Things that you have to slowly chip away at with a regular hoofpick fall right out with this one. Just don’t stab yourself with it – you will bleed. It won’t bend or break and the grip is very comfortable in your hand. The regular version is larger, but I have the “junior” version, which I think fits my hand a little better and is a bit cheaper at $13.95.

Easiest Spur Straps Yet

Yup, rubber spur straps. Don’t worry – they also come in black. I know these seem weird, I was scared of them at first too. But then I borrowed a pair of spurs that had them and the clouds parted and the angels sang and these are all I’ve used ever since. For only $11.95 they stretch, they move with you, they hold up great to abuse, they’re easy to wipe off to get clean, and they stay put. Boom.

Aerborn Heavyweight hairnets

This is a bit of a weird one, I know. But being “raised” in an A level h/j barn with a trainer who had very particular criteria for turnout, you got to be good at hunter hair. To this day I still put my hair up, hunter hair style, in a net, every ride. Over the years I’ve tried several different types of hairnets but I hate – yes hate – every single one except the Aerborn Heavyweight hairnets. I have them stashed all over the place so that I never run out, because that would be a Big Problem. Forget the One Knot, forget the No Knot, all you need are these and a hair tie and anyone can do perfect hair, for only $2.99.

Blue Q socks

Awesome socks with rude sayings – I don’t really need to elaborate on that do I? Everyone needs “Carpe the fuck out of this diem” socks. And “I hate everyone too” socks. And “My favorite salad is wine” socks. And “I love bread” socks. And “Kick this day in it’s sunshiney ass” socks. They’re also super comfortable and hold up really well to abuse, and the smiles they give me are worth every penny of $9.99 a pair.

Win Sports Detergent

The SO originally brought this home from the bike shop to use on our cycling clothes, and I liked it so much that I used it on my riding clothes too. They tend to get pretty funky and stinky, especially in the summer, and sometimes our regular detergent didn’t get all the stank and grime out. This detergent is intended for synthetic sports type fabrics and all of my expensive gear launders up really well with it. I will say that I think I prefer the regular Win over the Win Green as far as efficacy, but the Green is fragrance free and dye free, if you need that. None of their products are tested on animals. It retails around $10 per bottle, which does 21 loads.

Road ID bracelet

Considering I’ve had my Road ID for 2 years, worn it 24/7, and just upgraded to a custom band in my XC colors (woot, limited edition sales) I’d say this was a good buy. I love not having to worry about an armband for XC and stadium, plus I feel a bit better about going for a road hack or riding my bike out on the road. At least they know who to call when they scrape me up off the pavement. The Road ID Slim (the model I have) is usually $19.99 and on sale through today for $15. Plus they’ve got cool horsey badges.

Henry gets a trainer ride, and I get perspective

All along in our dressage adventures I’ve always felt that the majority of Henry’s shortcomings are a reflection of my own. And in a way – they are. Of course they are. But he did come with plenty of baggage himself, and I’ve tried like hell along the way to do what I’ve felt is best for him and his brain and his future, to the best of my ability. Lately in particular I’ve felt like there are a couple things that Henry has been juuuuuuust on the edge of grasping, but I’m not quite educated enough to really help him make that last little step. I asked Dressage Trainer to ride him this week so I could watch and see how he handled certain things, and so Henry could be helped a little bit more. This is a first for us, so I really wasn’t sure how it would go. On one hand you’re like “maybe this’ll be the magic bullet” but then you’re like “Oh crap, that would mean I really do suck.”. And then if you’re like me you curl up in fetal position and chant “Dressage is too hard” over and over again. But back to the trainer ride…

So Trainer hopped aboard and got to warming up. Henry did pretty much the exact same things for him as he does for me. First thought “Oh thank god, I’m not totally retarded”. Second thought “Well this means we still have a ways to go”. Henry isn’t bad. He’s never ever bad. But he’s tense, he’s an overachiever, he’s very sensitive, and he comes undone pretty easily if he feels trapped or confused. He’s very simple to ride, but he requires a lot of tact and precision. The mental baggage from his past shows through a lot in the tension. It was awesome to watch this happen with Trainer so that I could see what he did to work through it, and be able to see the exact moments of change in Henry. Feeling it is one thing, seeing it is yet another level of education.


Of course Trainer said he liked him and he was a talented horse and he thought I’d done a good job getting him to this point, etc, which were nice things to hear. It’s easy to get so bogged down in progress that you forget where you started and how far you’ve come. A year ago this horse was in a hackamore because a bit sent him straight nose-to-chest and made him very nervous. I have to give him a lot of credit for that, and need to do a better job of keeping our journey in mind. He tries hard, his canter is lovely, and he has definite moments of brilliance.

Trainer got more true shoulder in and shoulder fore work than I am able to get – I can tell I’m doing too much with my reins there. He also got better trot-canter transitions than I do. I suspected those two faults had a lot to do with me and I think this confirms it. Something else to work on. Otherwise I think, and Trainer seemed to agree, that we’re on the right track but he’s just gonna take time. We’ve got to get him to relax more and connect better and really give his back and his ribcage – he’s still protecting himself and hesitant, and who can really blame him. He’ll get there one step at a time. It’s a lot harder to undo and redo than it would have been to start from scratch in the first place.


I do however feel more confident that I’m doing the right things, and that eventually I will have a pretty nice horse when we get through all that. For now I’m happy with where we’re at and know that we’ve just gotta keep chipping away. Trainer ride: success!

The Rattlesnake Apocalypse

Jen’s post yesterday about snakes reminded me that I haven’t yet told the story of Rattlesnakepocalypse 2015 to the readers here. Maybe because just thinking about it makes me shudder and triggers severe PTSD. I should start off by saying that in the 19 years I have lived in Texas, I’ve seen ONE rattlesnake. ONE. And that was a few years ago. Granted, I saw it only because after it bit my lease horse Kai on the nose, the grooms went and found it and killed it.

This is what a $900 vet bill for a snake bite to the nose looks like, in case you’re wondering. Poor Kai.

We know the snakes are there, but we basically never see them. It’s really rare to find them near any place with regular activity (like a barn) and if you do stumble upon one, they tend to want to get the hell out of dodge just as much as you do.

This year however… this is the end of times. Pretty sure the Bible was wrong about the plague of locusts, it’s a plague of rattlers. First the Barn Owner found this little guy in the garage

Which – ok, the garage, I can give him that. It’s pretty quiet in there and he might have found something to eat.

But then one showed up at the barn. This is ultra strange because #1 – there’s a lot of horse and people activity. #2 There’s cats. #3 I have never seen a rodent or even a hint of a rodent in that barn. They stay out in the fields in their own little world and we never see them. WHY ARE YOU HERE, SNAKE?

This guy was BIG. Not as big as I’ve seen online, but BIG when you’re standing there staring at it. He was slowly making his way up the back of the stalls behind the barn when we found him. Brandy and I tried to kill him with a shovel but he managed to wedge himself into a small space so instead we just babysat him until the BO could get down there and kill him. And when I say Brandy and I tried to kill him with a shovel, I mean Brandy tried to kill him with a shovel while I ran backwards at a high rate of speed. And when I say we babysat him I mean Brandy watched him while I said “HE DIDN’T MOVE, DID HE? IS HE STILL THERE?”.

This is Brandy: “Wow he’s so interesting looking. Wow it’s so LOUD. Wow I’ve never seen one before!”


And then, a few days later, the BO almost stepped on one just hanging out in the barn aisle when she went down to do night check.

A neighbor a mile or so down the road found a little one on their driveway, so it’s not just us.

That was bad enough right? Snakes in the barn. Snakes near the horses. Snakes everywhere. But wait, it gets worse. A few days later Dressage Trainer, whose barn is about 10 minutes away, sent this picture of a visitor he found in his barn bathroom.


Yes that’s the shower. Yes that’s a giant freaking rattlesnake wrapped around the shower curtain rod.

My most sane and logical response to this picture was pretty much that we should just burn down the entire place. That’s the only reasonable thing I can think of.

Then I decided I’m not safe inside OR outside and now I’ve got this new habit of checking around the toilet for snakes. And the shower. And the bed. And the closet. And my tack trunk. And my car. And basically everywhere I go or think about going. Yes I live in the city and the snakes seem to prefer the country. Don’t care. They could be anywhere. Rattlesnakepocalypse 2015, y’all.

If anyone needs me I’ll be moving to Canada.

Charles de Kunffy clinic recap

Brandy and I audited an afternoon of the Charles de Kunffy clinic at our dressage trainer’s farm this past weekend. Our trainer works pretty regularly with Charles and has a lot of the same teaching philosophies and style. Honestly, my brain was total mush by the end of the 3 hours, that’s about as much dressage as my brain can process at a time. I jotted down notes as Charles talked – mostly things that I thought would be helpful to me, but also just general wisdom as well. Hopefully others can find something useful in here too!

– “You can’t do anything without trust – the horse has to want to work for you.”

– Adjustability, adjustability, adjustability. He said that word about 1000 times, along with suppleness.

– He is not a fan of the dressage training pyramid.

– “Shoulder in strengthens the hocks, haunches in strengthens the stifle, half pass strengthens the hips.”

– “What you can’t accomplish in a 30 minute ride is for tomorrow.” Anything more than 30-45 minutes is mentally taxing, and continuing to work after the horse has given you good work is punishment.

– Lots of walk and stretching breaks for body and mind.

– Constantly change the length of the neck, the tempo, and the length of stride throughout the ride. This creates a supple, adjustable horse.

– For a horse that tends to travel with it’s haunches in when going “straight”, the inside rein is too strong.

– To help improve the connection through the topline, give alternate reins for 4 strides at a time (give left rein 4 strides, then right rein 4 strides, etc). When you give the rein it raises the ligament in the back. This exercise worked really well.

– Inside seatbone down into the canter, outside leg back, keep the toe in, “scuff” the horse with the leg.

– The rider has to advance as much as the horse. The rider should constantly be seeking education.

Charles de Kuffny clinic from amanda chance on Vimeo.

– “There are 3 evasions of a horse: crookedness, inversion, and speed.”

– “Speed is the enemy of impulsion.”

– To help improve the seat, he suggested riding sometimes with the shoulders behind the vertical to help build abdominal strength and feel how the ab muscles should engage. This strength is what helps create a good vertical position.

– To fix overflexion: slow down 3 strides, drop the contact, double the inside leg drive and then go forward again.

– “The horse is where his tail is, not where his head is.”

– Jigging in the walk is a rider problem caused by unclear aids and rider tension.

– To help learn to drive with the seat, he had one woman alternately rock her shoulders (NOT hands) back – left, right, left right – which put her more into her seat aids. This actually really worked to get the horse forward from the seat and the rider sitting more “in” the horse.

– “By perfecting the rider, we perfect the horse.”

– A rider with a good seat in sitting trot is much lighter for the horse than a rider with a bad seat in rising trot.

– He really hated a toe out leg position because of what it does to the rider’s pelvis. See video below (hopefully you can hear his explanation, but if not you can see what he means).

Charles de Kunffy from amanda chance on Vimeo.

Overall he was big on position (leg, seat, body, and elbow in particular were very common themes), having a good effective seat, and rewarding the horse through walk and stretch breaks. He wanted to see a leg that draped on the horse’s sides, with the toe behind the knee, seat IN the horse, and an elbow that hung by the rider’s side. He is not a fan of heavy contact and never wants to see a horse behind the vertical.

Whether you are a fan of Classical Dressage or not, I feel like there was a lot to be learned from Charles. He seemed like a true horseman first and foremost, with a lot of compassion for the horse and for rider education. The horses and riders that I saw come into the ring all improved under his tutelage. I really agree with him in that a horse is truly a reflection of how it’s ridden, and we as riders must always ask ourselves what we can do better in order to get better results. I was inspired enough by his philosophy to come home and buy his books “The Ethics and Passions of Dressage” and “Training Strategies for Dressage Riders”. We’ll see what I think about those!