I guess I really shouldn’t call myself an ex-dressage rider. I continue to use the same principles in my riding, I just now ride in a western saddle most of the time.
I do get out my dressage saddle once and awhile. It’s much lighter and easier to throw on when I don’t have very much time to work with my boys.
I used to own an Oldenburg named Finian. He was beautiful and I loved riding him. I bought him as a three year old and he was not an easy horse to train and ride, but we had come a long way in the five years that I owned him, thanks to my trainer Julie.
Then I moved to my own place and tried to make a backyard horse out of Finian. It worked pretty well while the weather was nice. But then winter weather moved in. Finian is a horse that needs to be worked hard and frequently, which I couldn’t do without an indoor arena.
I tried to ride him in November after he hadn’t been ridden for awhile. I should have known better. Finian took off while I was getting on him and I broke my collar bone and wrist when I hit the frozen ground.
I reluctantly sold Finian and now have two horses more suited to standing around most of the winter, only to be ready to go again in the Spring after a brief lunging session. Neither of them will ever be dressage horses, but they can still do the leg yields, turns on the haunches, shoulder ins and such — all with a western saddle on.