Round. Like a circle in a spiral. Like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel.Lyrics from Windmills of your mind.
Going back to the basics. How often do we hear this as riders? We are always going ‘back to the basics’. But it does not mean we are always going back to the basics in the same way. For a young horse starting out or a rider who is new to riding the 20 meter circle is one thing. For the Grand Prix jumper or dressage horse and rider it is another. We are on a spiral as we move up. We have to come back to the basics but each time we are higher up on the spiral.
For the past two months my coach Belinda Trussell has been working with me on the “basics”. I will not be competing over the summer so it is the perfect time to do this. That 20 meter circle has to be ridden in a way that will achieve Biasini in the right frame; balanced, up in the shoulder, neck rounded but still light in the contact, hind end under and working in a quick and active way. All of this has to happen all at once. Sometimes we get it and sometimes we loose it or loose some piece of it.
This is not the same frame and impulsion and activity we had three years ago, two years ago, or even last year. We are higher on that basics spiral now and Belinda expects more . Belinda may be small in stature but she is mighty big in energy level. When she moves into the middle of the ring and has me ride a 20 meter circle around her I know Biasini and I had better put out our very best effort.
“More active behind! Active behind! Active behind!” or “He’s too flat! What happened?” “What score would you give this canter?” If my answer is a low score then …. “you’re right so fix it. ”
When we get it right… “YES! THAT’S the canter. YES!”
Here is a video of Belinda riding Biasini a few weeks ago when I had just got out of the hospital. I have shared it before but it demonstrates all of these basics that she asks me to do. And it may look like Belinda is just sitting there but believe me she is NOT. She is giving a tiny aid every second or third stride. Keeping him up and light and active behind and, and, and…
The spiral of basics. Where are you on your spiral? Are you on a horse riding spiral? A writing spiral? A marathon running spiral? This not the same as being on a hamster wheel, far from it. This spiral moves up and up and up. Enjoy the journey!
Photo from Pandotrip.com