Once More Unto the Breach!

“Once more unto the breach! Dear Friends! Once More! ” These are the immortal words that William Shakespeare gave to King Henry V to rally his troops, to fight on, and try one more time. This past week I had to tell myself “once more unto the breach” after a particularly difficult lesson.  What was the “breach”? The canter half pass zig zag! If you follow this blog you will know that is a gap or a breach in my Intermediare 1 test that I find hard to fill.

Whose fault is it ?

It is not my horses’s fault. Biasini is quite capable of doing this with no difficulty. So what is the problem?  The problem is with the rider. That would be ME!

What is the problem?

The problem is that I am not quick enough. Belinda explained it to me, on the day of this difficult lesson. “Biasini is a miner. He will pull you down into the ground and then take over. You must me so quick, to half halt and remind him to stay up and light and with you.”

What did we do? 

Belinda demonstrated how I needed to ride the half halts by taking a pair of reins and having me hold them and for me to be Biasini. Then I had to pull (like Biasini) and she gave a lightning quick…. Give! Take! Give!  I could not continue pulling with nothing to pull against. Of course I still have my legs to support and ask for Biasini to keep up the forward momentum, and gage if I need a strong half halt or just a tweak of my shoulder blades. I am supposed to know all this already. But….once more!

What happened when I tried again?

I rode the zig zag and in the first half pass to the right I found the speedy half halts worked wonders. I was so excited I forgot to keep on with enough speedy half halts and so we lost it a bit.  At the end Belinda said: “You just have to be that quick. And it has to be automatic.”

That was when my heart sank. To learn a new muscle memory and make it “automatic” is not easy when you are older.  We all get slower, not faster, as we get older. Not in the body so much as in the mind.

So what did I do about it?

The next morning I got up and rallied myself to ride ‘once more unto the breach’. I practiced on my own on the Thursday and on the Friday, in my lesson, we rode through the test. And….the zig zag was not half bad.

Now what?

Now I carry on and try not to think about the impossibility of getting faster and quicker and creating new muscle memories.  I shall just ride on and fill that breach!

 

WBWFIII022318-5548

 

 

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Alli Farkas says:

    I understand exactly where you are coming from, but my quickness deficiency is much more basic than yours with the canter zig-zag. I have to do that same quick motion at trot and canter just to keep my horse from digging a hole and taking me with her. Very quick and light, yes, but pulling it off at the just the right time and not being a “nag” (not trying to make a pun here) is really crucial and even in my simple case it needs to be automatic. I’m getting quicker at it, at least my trainer says so. But trying to put together a canter zig-zag would probably have me reconsidering the whole equestrian thing…especially since I would have to get the flying changes down first LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Your quickness is the same as mine Alli. We all have to start with it at the basic level and I often have to go back to basics. Thanks for your comment I enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these posts – you describe riding, and how difficult yet exciting it is, so well! I truly feel as if I’m there in the moment with Biasini.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment Michele! I think the discipline required in dressage is somewhat similar to playing the piano at a concert level. You have to be adept at using both sides of the body and keeping an intense focus. I agree it is difficult and exciting at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dprastka says:

    You are such an inspiration!! I agree it’s harder to be quick and fast as we age. Such good descriptions, muscle memory it’s so true but can be hard to attain, hope it becomes second nature soon! As always so wonderfully written. I too love your blog site, it’s beautiful just like you and Biasini! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you so much for this wonderfully supportive comment. I hope I will get quicker but I thought it was worth posting that this riding thing is not always so easy especially for those of us who are older.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    Yes, muscle memory is harder to build the older we get, Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Emma for understanding. I shall continue to do the best I can manage to do despite advancing years! HAHa!

      Like

  5. Irene says:

    You go, girl! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cagedunn says:

    With the faster and quicker, it all eventually becomes lighter as well, more natural, less focussed thought and more natural action-reaction, fun and energetic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is the idea. I’m looking forward to the fun and energetic part!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Anne, Beautiful Pictures and content. What format/theme for the Website do you use, it really showcases your blog wonderfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is one of the WordPress themes. I think it is Dyan but I may have forgotten it. But when I started blogging my son helped me chose the theme and I have just stuck with it. The photos in this post are taken by a professional photographer, Joanna Jhodko, of Biasini and me at a competition in Florida last winter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Excellent, I will try and check out the theme Dyan, your site is awesome. I love it. the pictures are great, but so is the content. Love it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Thank you. I very much appreciate your comment.

          Like

  8. Juli Hoffman says:

    I am rooting for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Juli! I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Juli, I appreciate your support.

      Liked by 1 person

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