Like many people, I have traditionally heard the term Dressage Queen used in a generally negative manner. When I think of those words, I often picture all the stereotypes that are depicted about dressage riders - stern, tight-lipped, maybe just a little overbearing. If you go by what you hear, aspiring to be a dressage queen is often a frowned-upon goal.

But something happened that completely flipped around the meaning of the phrase for me.

The other day, I had one of those rides we all dream of. Cyrus was energetic, confident and bold, bouncy-bouncy and just full of life. He was sharp and had a spring in his step as if he was going for gold (in his own mind). He felt so upbeat that he carried me right along with him, lifting my spirits and putting me on that pedestal that only a horse can do.

Here is my attempt to capture the feel of the moment.

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Soft, harrowed footing draws sweet patterns ahead

inviting the thumpety thump of my horse's rhythmic footfalls,

making a hoof print trail in the untouched sand.


Blue sky;

gentle, warm breeze and

a wonderfully huge, open space

calling to us,

urging us to move, move, move!


Almost soundless footfalls

traversing over space and time

pushing, lifting, carrying two as one.

Walk/trot/canter merrily-we-go-along

making circles, lines, loops and turns,

bends and laterals, straights and engagement

taking us from flat to round to uphill-like-an-airplane balance.


Heartfelt snort from my horse,

steady breaths on my part,

moving to stay still but covering ground in literal leaps and bounds.

Lofty almost floating yet

welcomed back to the earth with soft cushioned landings

step by step, stride by stride,

until we're both spent and needing to walk.


For a break.


Is this what being a queen feels like?

Not just a dressage queen -

but a Queen

riding dressage,

on top of the world

(on top of my black beauty)

savoring every fantastical moment,

enveloped by all that surrounds us in sound, sight, feel and movement

and welcoming it all



Into my being.


Maybe this is what being a queen really feels like.


Have you ever had one of these rides? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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If you liked this poem, you might also like:

A Recipe for Living: If life were a recipe, what would it look like?

Because of Horses: What has changed in your life because of horses?

Living in Flying Changes: I wrote this short poem after a wonderfully exhilarating night ride.

Caught: A short piece of horsey fiction.

Moment of Beauty: Caught in the moment and recognizing it.






  1. I can feel it I read your comments…….

    Meanwhile, my ride on Cricket several years ago (she’s now 32)……..standing still in the center of the pen & breathing softly, a slight shift of my weight & when I feel her corresponding shift a touch of my right leg & we lope of softly on the left lead, I raise my hand a couple of inches & tilt my body slightly forward & we are flying around the arena for 2 large fast circles, I softly sit back into the saddle & Cricket drops into a soft slow lope without changing her rhythm, I change the direction I’m looking & shift about 2 ounces of weight from my right seat bone to my left & the lead change is so smooth I have to glance at her shoulders to make sure she changed (she did), around the end of the pen & tilt forward again & we build speed down the straight-away, I pitch the reins to her & sit back while letting my breath out in a drawn out “Whoa” & Cricket melts into the ground (in probably the best sliding stop I’ve ever ridden), I look over my left shoulder & she cracks back in an amazing roll-back & we are loping off again on the left lead…….and that was only part of the pattern……… 😉

  2. I have to say that description of a Dressage Queen was outstanding and up-lifting.. Only once in my riding years was I lucky enough to experience that magic moment. That feeling of floating and the power that was totally under control was a feeling I will never forget. It was my Quarter horse who gave his all. I had a judge ask me what my horse was at the end of our ride. I told him he was a Quarter Horse. The judge was totally surprised. Thank you so much for your beautiful poem. That’s exactly how I felt during that ride and if’s that’s being a Dressage Queen, then I will take it. Thanks again.

    Katie Glenn

  3. Gliding in and out and around the trees in the field, around this one and then that one, circle around this little one here and then straight to the next tree, down transition in the middle of these two right over there and then right back up again to trot around that big one over there and then leg yield around the bushy one all. in. the. same. rhythm with horse snorting the rhythm with every stride and then with just a slight shift of my weight horse is walking and then stretching nose to the ground with repeated, long blows of relaxation. When my horse enjoys our rides as much as I do, that’s when I feel like a Queen.