I recently had the privilege of watching Christilot Boylen teach Belinda Trussell and Belinda’s assistant trainer Lynsey Rowan. I say it is a privilege because both of these riders could say they preferred their lessons to be private. But since I am student of Belinda’s I was able to watch. Christilot is a seven time Olympian. She has trained numerous horses up to the Grand Prix level. So I was most interested to see what Christilot would be emphasizing in the lessons. Belinda was first. She was riding Barb Sinclair’s horse Carlucci and they are training the Prix St. George and Intermediare 1.
“Two legs! Two legs! Two legs!” Christilot said this often to both riders. Sounds simple doesn’t it. But the execution is not simple. When riding a half pass or any lateral work you are using one leg to move the horse sideways and the other leg is working to keep the bend in the horse’s body and move the horse forward. Here is Belinda riding a half pass and using two legs.
Ride!Ride!Ride! This would seem obvious. When you are on a horse you are riding. Once again it is not that simple. Every step, every stride you are checking yourself, checking the horse, how is the frame, how if the contact, what do I need to do. There is no coasting along thinking “this is nice” unless you are out for a trail ride. There is absolutely no coasting along when you are being taught by Christilot Boylen!
“Two reins! Two legs!” “We want to show expression and allow him to relax.” That is a tricky balance. The horse will look its best and show the most expression when it is relaxed in the work. Riding the horse between two legs and two reins is necessary to produce this. Here are Belinda and Carlucci in shoulder-in.
Lynsey had her lesson on her new ride Tattoo. Tattoo has been ridden at the Grand Prix level by Belinda and they recently competed at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon NC on the Canadian Dressage Team. For Lynsey it is a great opportunity to learn the upper level work with a school master horse like Tattoo. However it does not mean the horse is push button and the rider can just sit and do nothing. For their warm up Christilot asked for “a nice warm up canter. Just let him lope along.” Christilot knows Tattoo well and she knows this is the best warm up for him. It might not suit another horse but this is the best warm up routine for this horse.
Through the lesson she told Lynsey “take the rein, then get off……..take, get off. Push up, take, let go. The faster you get off the easier everything gets.”
Christilot took some time in the center of the ring with Lynsey to guide her about the rein length for Tattoo.
Finally she had Lynsey ride with no stirrups. If you are rider you will know this is not easy and yet so beneficial. “Two reins! Sit quiet!”
At the end of Lynsey’s lesson I knew that although I had not been riding I had learned a lot that I could bring to my riding with Biasini. Thank you to Belinda and Lynsey for allowing me to be an observer.