We did and do things other than competitions when the opportunities present themselves. Attending clinics and taking lessons being one of those things. Though no longer a beginner I have taken the Intro to CDE's clinic at least three times at Happ's. It's a great way to start a new year, a refresher course on the finer points in dressage, a place to discuss rules, meet new people and renew old friendships.
My good friend and first navigator Jenn Charles said to me once that "you can either embrace dressage, or you can hate it". I have to admit that at first I really hated it. Learning the patterns is not a problem for me it just seemed like a tedious chore that had to be done before you could go out and have fun in marathon and cones. The only thing worse than the dressage test itself was to practice the various movements over and over again in the weeks before the competitions. My opinion has changed some since then, I am not sure I really embrace dressage but I can honestly say I do not hate it as much as I used to. Most of that change of mind is due to the people I have had the honor of taking lessons from. Bill Lower, Tom Shives, Hardy Zantke, Marsoe LaRose, Muffy Seaton to name a few, each having their own styles, concentrating on points special to themselves. I was able to learn something from each and every one. They make it look so easy.
More recently I have been taking lessons from Terri Jones. I found that lessons from a variety of people with a variety of styles confusing. Don't misunderstand, I value that time spent but mine and my horses skills were not progressing as one would expect. Maureen at Happ's this past winter offered lessons with a local trainer and I signed up. Terri's style suits me well.