The whole time I evented as both a teenager and an adult, I was always trying to move up. I didn't really care to what level--I just wanted to get above Beginner Novice, because I wanted to be one step better than the lowest division. I want to feel like I didn't just have my toe in the door, but like I sort of belonged.
at least I got a water picture
It was never meant to be--as a kid, I couldn't afford to join USEA, which you had to do to go Novice, and as an adult, I had an unsuitable horse (Izzy) and then one that went lame just as I regained my confidence (Cuna). There's a part of me that's glad I don't event anymore, because it's weird to tell people "yeah, I've done this since I was a kid and I still can't get past the level you start at".
becoming a team
I think that's what drives me with Courage. I hate telling people I do dressage when my only scores are at intro and training level. Sure, it's "technically" dressage and I know it's a stage we all have to go through, but I want to be better than that. I want to do a level with a number. I want to do things that the average rider who doesn't do dressage can't just pop into the show ring and do as well. You know?
we even lunge now
It's not that I need to go FEI to be personally fulfilled or even that I have have a goal past third level. I don't. I just want to be a Dressage Rider and have that term mean something more than "my saddle is black with long flaps". I want it to mean that I sit on my horse and his way of going is different because of me. That I attend an event and I belong, because I not only speak the language to other people, but to my horse as well.
I do love that dressage doesn't intentionally institutionally demean it's lower level constituency by calling it "novice" and "training", when it should be called "legit hard stuff". "First level" at least sounds mildly cooler, right? I want to do hard things well enough. I want to ride a level with a number. I want to have a place in the horse world to call my own.
one step at a time
I want to arrive in my own quiet way, take a seat in the back, and know that I'm in the right place. The place where I belong.