If you haven't been doing those things, I suggest you do ... immediately.
No, this isn't because Rolex is just about the coolest event ever. Not because every horse person should support the sport's coverage on USEFnetwork.com. No. It's for the FREE DRESSAGE LESSONS. Seriously.
I watch a lot of competitions, especially of dressage. Grand Prix, local schooling shows, recognized shows, whatever I can find. I have to say that Rolex is one of the finest opportunities to learn from other riders that's out there. The combination of everyone riding the same test, that test being a mix of hard/advanced elements (collection, extended trot, half pass, flying changes) and somewhat basic elements (shoulder in, counter canter, extended walk/medium walk) and the riders varying from "Oh my god!" to "brave" make this unique. Nowhere else can you see the obvious ways that different riding effects the horse. Sure, some of these horses are too hot to trot (literally, in several cases), but most are more than capable - if less flashy than in the Grand Prix ring. In watching, you'll see how that rider had his weight on the wrong seatbone, so the horse couldn't move over in the half pass. Or, this rider wasn't allowing and direct enough with her hips at the counter canter, and her horse swapped leads.
|Picture from 2011. Credit|
I'm inspired! (Now, bring on the cross country...)