Me riding my trainer’s mare, Molly, during my last active show season. Even when the dressage coat diet works, I’m still unlikely to tuck my shirt into my breeches, which is a bit of a dressage fashion faux pas. I’m not alone, am I?

Photo: Courtesy Natalie Perry Dressage

The fact that I’m willing to wear white breechesÑin public while being judged, no lessÑis proof that I love the sport of dressage.

You see, I’m what you might call an “easy keeper.” If I were a horse, I’d be the Welsh Pony on the dry lot banging on the gate at dinnertime or sadly wearing a grazing muzzle when out on pasture. And, like my metabolically challenged Hanoverian, Marathon, I require measured meals and a structured exercise program to stay dressage fit.

(I also understand Marathon’s enthusiasm when he sees green grass: The look on his face is the same one I’d wear if facing a cupcake buffet.)

During the winter I tend to curl up, hibernate, and inevitably pack on a few extra Christmas-fudge-fueled pounds. Come spring, though, I ramp up my own exercise program, eat better, and get ready for show season. That means getting back into my dressage coat before our first entries are mailed.

I don’t know if you know this, but nice dressage coats are expensive, so fitting into the one I have has long served as encouragement enough for me to my shed wint