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Lady’s Dressage Test #NationalStorytellingWeek

national storytelling week

This week is National Storytelling Week. As someone who has always loved writing, especially fiction, I thought this would be the perfect time for me to share one of my short stories with you.

I currently keep a document on my computer called Straight From the Horse’s Mouth. In this I write short stories from the point of view of 1 of 4 horses. These 4 horse characters are combinations of different horses I have known through my life with some of the stories being loosely based on actual events. But this is the story of a horse I have called Lady.

I can’t stand dressage. I don’t appreciate being told what to do and when. No I don’t want to bring my head down. No I don’t want to go at your desired speed and I certainly don’t want to bend or do any lateral work.

Despite my tantrums, Mother’s friend is a very persistent rider and I have given up arguing with her too much in the school. My usual tricks never work so I eventually give in and do pretty much what she tells me to.

However, today she pushed her luck. Mum thought it would it would be a good idea for her friend to take me to the local dressage show since we have been doing so well at home. I was not impressed.

They had me up late last night bathing and preparing me for our “little outing” and they dragged me in from the field at some ungodly hour this morning to get me plaited up. I really don’t know why they bothered.

As soon as we arrived I was tacked up and Mum’s friend climbed straight on. She let me have a long rein on the way to the warm up ring. Which was smart as I was in no mood for this. I never agreed to it and I would be using any mistake on her part to show the whole world how stupid and unreasonable they were both being.

Now after a few laps of walking on a long rein, she started to ask more of me. For me to accept a contact and think about coming onto the bit. She was asking very politely so I certainly thought about doing what she asked me to… for a second or two. When she didn’t get the response she was hoping for, she started to ask a bit harder, squeezing me between her legs and softly squeezing the reins.

I responded appropriately by taking her increased leg use to mean go faster. I poked my nose in the air and broke into trot. I could feel her frustration but she decided to work with me, now asking me to keep trotting while keeping the bit moving slightly in my mouth to encourage me down to accept it. I have to hand it to her, she knew exactly what she was doing to get what she want without causing an argument. Well, with any other horse at least.

I let her think she was winning, basically behaving myself for the rest of our warm up, only challenging her occasionally to keep her on her toes. By the time we had finished in the warm up ring, Mum looked quite proud at how well I was going and her friend was pleasantly surprised by how agreeable I was being.

But because I had been so good in the warm up ring, I really didn’t fancy doing our dressage test now. Not in the slightest. I had done plenty of work today and it was time to go home. I must admit that I was quite surprised that they both didn’t decide to end there and quit while they were ahead.

I will admit to being less than lady like when I entered the dressage arena. I stuck my nose in the air and fought against going forwards. Mum’s friend wrapped her legs around me and squeezed and squeezed until I had no option but to go forward just in time for the car horn.

She kept her legs around me, tunnelling me down the centre line towards the judge. When we reached the end I ignored her aids for inside bend, pulling my head to the outside before attempting to do my best giraffe impression down the longside, baiting her into pulling on my mouth. But she resisted, continuing to tunnel me along between her legs and squeezing alternative reins.

I was getting really irritated now and I had had enough. I stopped moving forward, ignoring her squeezing legs as she steered me across the long diagonal. My strides were getting shorter and shorter, my head rising up, but she was still trying to push me forwards. I was done. She wasn’t giving up, there was only one thing for it. I planted my front feet before slowly lowering my hind end to the floor until I was sitting at X and looked over towards the judge at C.

Mum’s friend quickly slid off my back and pulled the reins over my head. I have never seen a human go so red as she urged me to my feet and made a beeline to the lorry. She won’t be trying that again in a hurry.

Share your stories this week for #NationalStorytellingWeek.

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