At the beginning of the lesson I asked my coach , Belinda Trussell, what she wanted to work on. She asked me: What would you like to work on?” Well, I had an answer! I told her I had watched the videos from our previous lesson and I was happy with the canter but I was not happy with my riding in the trot work. “What didn’t you like about it?” she asked. “I didn’t like my hands they were too high and I didn’t like my arms, they were too stiff and frozen looking.” I replied. “Good!” she said. “We can work on the contact.”
And so began an entire lesson of trot work. Slowing down to a very slow small trot, gradually moving the trot up inch by inch. Transitioning the trot from five miles per hour to seven and then back. All the while maintaining the steady contact; Biasini’s head could not be bobbing or turning other than flexing to the inside on the corners, and my contact had to be relaxed and light and if I made corrections they had to be done with supple fingers and supple wrists. I went round the outside of the arena. I went in 20 meter circles. I did 10 meter circles. All the while maintaining the contact , keeping arms supple and my wrists supple and my fingers lightly sponging the reins if necessary.
So that’s the top half of my body. Meanwhile my legs are also working. Upper leg relaxed, my calf is on, the ankle is ready to push if needed.
And then…Belinda upped the ante! She asked for more lower leg, more calf on. ON! I really never knew that so much lower leg strength would be required to ride. Thank heavens I had done that six weeks with no stirrups over the summer because I needed every bit of strength that I had gained from that. But…it worked. Here is a video of our improved trot.
Basics! Basics! Basics! This is what it all comes down to. When I get this work solid then I can carry it into the movements.