Consequent, used as an adjective means “following as a result or effect” and “observing logical sequence”. This is according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The concept of “consequent” riding was introduced to me by my coach Belinda Trussell in my first lesson after returning from the World Equestrian Games. Belinda told me that when she had been at WEG she and Christilot Boylen spent time watching the riders in the warm up before they went in to compete. Christilot Boylen has competed for Canada in seven Olympics. and Belinda (a double Olympian herself) has trained with Christilot for 20 years. Belinda stood with Christilot as they watched the riders. They focused especially on German rider Isabel Werth. Here is what Christilot had to say.
“On the dressage scene, at the Worlds in Tryon, the most important impression and fact that I took home was the absolutely stunning and superior performances from Isabel Werth and Bella Rose. Isabel was in a class of her own, and she has a worthy partner in the mare, although I saw a dozen bona fide superstar horses!
What makes Isabel so good?
The big word I brought away from WEG is: “CONSEQUENT” from the Latin “consequi” meaning “logically consistent”. Her training time is built on solid fundamentals, she has and gives her horse all the time in the world to warm up, to settle, to supple, and to concentrate ever more exactly. She is impeccably consistent in her “little” demands – straight on the straightaways, bent on bent lines, the “stop- start” exercises, and the “patience” exercises- of which “Bella” needs a lot!
All of this “exactness” is delivered with consequence and patience, and yet with an agreeable “lightness” that allows her horse to keep its personality and willingness to perform.
Isabel works the “DETAILS” out everyday, the slight flexions right and left, the shorter and longer steps, the “wait for me” aids in all phases and at all gaits.
Isabel’s skill in producing a world class performance on exactly the right day, is what has made her the most successful dressage rider in the world.
She methodically “honed” her performance with her horse working down the clock to be as perfect as possible on day X. She did not overwork or underwork ….she got it just right – Period.
And make no mistake – “Bella Rose” is no “Piece of Cake.” She has a rider who solves her problems before they become issues.
THANK YOU Isabel, for inspiring us, and showing us what plain good riding and “consequence” can produce!
The “lightness” that Christilot speaks of can be seen in these photos that I took during the competition; in her light contact with Bella Rose and in the lightness of the mare’s frame. This is visible especially in the second photo where the mare is cantering….up and light.
That is all very well but I am an older amateur rider and a long way from Isabel Werth. How does this apply to me and to how I ride Biasini? I can apply the same principles. I must learn to be better at “solving problems before they become issues”. I am working on it.!
Dressage is a fabulous sport because you never stop learning and there is always something new to learn. And the proof of that is that a seven time Olympian and a two time Olympian watch one of the worlds’s best dressage riders and study what she is doing and even they are still learning.
Thank you to Christilot Boylen for giving me permission to use your thoughts for this blog post.
I’d love to hear from you!