Friday 25 November 2011

My brush with... sort of somewhat celebrity.

Ok, I took one last kick at the cat (I can't recall whether it was a true kick, or more of a "boxing with my legs".  Like Lisa Wilcox.  Regardless).

Through some convoluted series of contacts that I made on EMG but are not interesting enough to review here, I found a new coach who sounded fabulous to me (at the time).

Credentials included:

- Hunter / Jumper background with some top U.S riders - niiice, niiiice.. she should be able to better understand the challenges I am facing versus Coach Crabby
- Recently imported $$$ horse that she fully expects will take her to the top of the sport shortly..
- Currently in full training with short listed rider - good, I like that

Uhhh... wait a minute.

Reading this now, it is clear - this person hadn't actually done ANYTHING dressage wise, other than buy a horse and find a coach.  She was essentially ME, but with lots of parental money backing her.   So why I actually paid her money to share her ignorance - gee, you got me, she sounded really impressive on EMG - add another one to the stupid choices made column.  For some reason in this horse game, I am not sure why, I think sometimes we have a lot of trouble separating out what one can BUY versus what one actually can DO

(The classic example is the plethora of newly minted "Young Riders" who are hanging out their coaching shingles, thinking they are now ready to give some tips to the likes of Edward Gal... Not to be a curmudgeon.. oh wait, I am one... but I wouldn't be too pumped up on your expertise unless you actually took an active role in getting the horse to that level yourself (and I know some did).  Bought from a pro and all ready to go doesn't quite cut it if you are trying to convince me you are a trainer.  It is a great start no doubt buuuut....)

Team this up with the fact that when an "outside coach" comes to your barn, you don't even necessarily get to see them DO, whatever it is they say they can do.  Even if they can get on your horse (always a nice option), the combined sum of knowledge in the realm of dressage possessed by you and your horse may be so limited that you can't really tell what the hell is going on anyways (ahh I see she is teaching him to leg yeild away from that mounting block, how interesting - whhaa...hey, wait a minute, is that little bugger spooking AGAIN?)

(Which again takes me back to - don't ride with people you have not actually done a thorough stalking on in person).

Now in fact, I really don't have anything much either positive or negative to say about this young woman.   She was nice enough, the chatter was pleasant, I felt like she actually had enthusiasm for teaching.  I remember that we did some walk squares (good exercise), spiral in / spiral out, stuff like that, sure.  Nothing inherently bad.  But - I remember that I just wasn't feelin' it. (Possibly because there wasn't much "IT" to her lessons, since she wasn't actually an experienced dressage rider). If it was a romance, she would have been tall and blond, when as we have already reviewed in an earlier post, relatively short and dark  is more my type.  There was no spark, it was just blah.  I can't even remember one memorable thing that happened that is mock-worthy.  Sorry.

So that would have been that...if it weren't for Mrs. Curmudgeon and her sudden interest in "UnStable" on CMT quite a few years later - maybe 2009.  She said I HAD to watch!  So I did.

To fill you in quickly if you can't be bothered to watch - it is a painful reality show looking at the day to day lives of catty backstabbing Hunter Jumper people.  Including... ta da!... this particular coach.  So somewhere along the happy trail to the top of the sport on her fabulous dressage import, she took a freakish detour and was now slogging it out with a strange little bunch of riders in Southeastern Ontario to see who could be the biggest bitch around.

After seeing this - I did a fairly intensive internet stalking on her and found that she had barely shown dressage at all, ever - the fancy import never made to the upper levels - and the furthest it did go was while being ridden by a true pro. I guess this could have depressed me, seeing what a sucker I was, but honestly, it just made me laugh.  It was actually a testament to just how far I had actually come.  Oh my god, I took lessons with HER!  Ha ha ha.  Oh, DC you moron.  It is a miracle you didn't quit then.

As a post script...scribing last summer, I heard a name I recognized - it was UnStable's import, doing a very normal looking 2nd level or so test at a Silver show.  Nice horse, well mannered, and a well ridden test.  I think her and her new rider are lucky to have each other.


  1. Stephanie -- just found your blog this evening and wanted to let you know I heart you. Of course I heart snark at the best of times and you, my girl, are a Snarkmeister. (Yes, there's a whole exam process for that in Germany and it puts the bereiter to shame.)

    BTW I know well what it's like to have DQs look down their nose. I'm an eventer, and am regularly made to feel like the worst kind of poser when I attend dressage clinics on my (horrors!) average-moving Thoroughbreds who don't bend and collect so well as they run and jump. Fortunately, I'm way past caring -- my money is the same colour as everyone else's, so they can just suck it up and deal. Glad there's someone else out there who likes to take the mickey out of the bizarre alternate dimension that is dressage. Braaaaaaavvvv.

  2. Luv it!! Love the entire thing. I couldn't stop reading.

    I am a newly 30 "something" female who has just gotten back into riding. I feel compelled to take up just seems like the thing to do. I am worried about all the things you have touched on....thank you for making it funny!! I can wait to read more!!

  3. Oh so much truth! That's why it's laff out loud funny. I have the "schoolmaster" big strong ex eventer, was not told he is incredibly hard to ride,so am deep into the "full training" paradigm, financial suicide etc. But no illusions about the holy grail of "classical riding", I train with german trained coaches, they get the job done with not too much BS. Keep these great little essays coming Steph.