February was almost a total waste. It rained and then snowed and then rained some more. The barn was a giant pit of mud and muck that made riding nearly impossible. I lunged Thunder a few times and rode once or twice and that was it. We got nothing done as far as advancing his working trot. It was too muddy to trot anywhere.
I say that February was *almost* a waste because we did accomplish one thing. I decided to try and do Western Dressage with Thunder instead of pursuing hunters. Here’s the thing; I don’t love to jump anymore. I enjoy it with Baron every now and then, but I’m getting old and I’m not into the thrill of it like I was before. I love dressage, the good kind of dressage that turns backyard nags into respectable equine athletes. I love, love, love the German training scale and the logical progression of dressage training. But let’s face it. Thunder would not hold up against big moving Thoroughbred and warmblood horses at a dressage show. He’d get lost in the crowd and his small but mighty talents would be overlooked.
Recently I heard about Western Dressage. It uses the classical training scale to improve stock type horses like Thunder. It uses the same principles of classical dressage but doesn’t discriminate against smaller, western style horses in favor of big movers with lots of impulsion and suspension. It recognizes that stock horses are built for a different purpose and move differently. It’s perfect for me and Thunder! He has a chance to show against horses similar to him and I get to nerd out on the training scale.
Best of all, the North American Western Dressage Association offers virtual shows! You simply video your ride at home and email it to the judges. They email you back a score card with comments just like you would receive at a real show. I don’t need a trailer to participate! It’s perfect!!!
We’re nowhere near show ready, but if spring would ever come we could start training again. Thunder is a wonderful little horse and he’s going to go far. If if would just quit raining for crying out loud!