I rode my first dressage test just a week or two after an endurance ride. Speedy and I started at Introductory Level. Having already competed in endurance racing for nearly two decades, it was tough going back to beginner status. I desperately wanted to be successful and felt that getting to Training Level was where it was at. Forget about First Level; I knew I'd never make it there. Second Level was home to the Big Dogs. I felt guilty even breathing their air.
A very nice woman walked up to us and wanted to chat. She was very complimentary as she stroked Speedy's face. During our conversation, she said something like, I ride, but I'll never be as good as those of you riding at Second Level. Imagine my embarrassment. I spluttered, didn't you just see my test? If I can make it to Second Level I told her, ANYONE can!
The lesson for me is that Grand Prix riders put on their underwear just like I do. And for those of you who feel like everyone else is doing it better; they're not. Okay, maybe some of them are, but they have their bad days too.