A Daughter's Gratitude
Dressage Today|November 2017

DT’s managing editor shares her appreciation for the unwavering support of her family.

Lindsay Paulsen

It still remains a mystery as to how my mother, Margaret, an artsy, creative, indoorsy type, and my father, Bill, the organ-playing scientist, ever produced me: a rider. There is not a single traceable drop of equestrian blood in my lineage and no one in my family had an interest in horses until I came along. Now I think they know far more about equestrian life than they ever cared to.

My mom might still flinch when my mare stomps her foot at the flies and she still religiously applies hand sanitizer after leaving the barn, but when I look back at everything, it’s clear to me how much effort she’s put into learning more about this weird thing called dressage. She’s come a long way from asking questions about “that thing that holds the saddle on” or wondering if it hurts when horses get shoes nailed on. She’s learned how to pronounce words like “passage” and “piaffe.” She’s also become pretty good at explaining to people how dressage is, in fact, a very complex sport.

My dad, the soft-spoken intellectual type, has also quietly been absorbing information about dressage and horses for the past 20 or so years. At one combined-training show where I competed when I was 16, I came out of the stadium arena after my round looking for my parents. I discovered my dad standing at the side of the dressage ring under the blistering Savannah, Georgia, sun, literally engrossed in an Introductory Level dressage test.

“Dad, did you see my jump round?” I asked. “No sweetie, did you already go?” he replied, sounding surprised. “Yeah, I just thought you might have wanted to watch that since jumping tends to be a little more of a spectator sport,” I said. “I really like to watch dressage,” he said excitedly. “You do?” I asked, shocked. “I just think it’s so neat,” he said. “Like the way you salute and everything. It all looks so graceful.”

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