I am riding , training and competing at the FEI Intermediare 1 level. So riding a 20 meter circle should be a simple task for me . Right?
Not so fast. In a lesson this week I warmed up while my coach Belinda Trussell, watched. I must have been a bit ‘la di da’ about my circles because I heard that they were just not good enough. Belinda, who is after all a two time Olympian, pays attention to details and expects real discipline in her students’ riding.
She told me, in the nicest possible way, we were going to work on those circles and she set out some cones. I had to ride the circle placing Biasini only 1 1/2 feet away from the cones. Once I got that Belinda added in riding half of the circle in shoulder fore. Here is a video.
We worked on the 20 meter circle to the right as well. The right is the more difficult rein for both Biasini and me. He needs more support going to the right. For turns and circles I have to give him support with my right leg so he does not fall in or motorcycle around the turn. Unfortunately my right leg is my weaker leg. I could blame my age (70) or my replaced right hip but basically it is just my weaker leg. It is what it is! In this video you can see Belinda has marked out a smaller circle, of about 12 meters, and asks me to ride it in a slight travers (haunches in) position.
So there you have it! This is a terrific way to reinforce the discipline of riding a correct 20 meter or 12 meter circle. Adding in shoulder-fore positioning or haunches-in positioning helps me to focus on keeping control over every stride . What is all this in aid of?
It is in aid of getting this right. The pirouette. The smallest of all the circles.
These exercises help me to prepare for riding a good pirouette. The details and the discipline of these exercises will teach me to ride each stride. Do I need more leg so as not to stall, more bend, less bend , more inside leg to stop spinning? Every stride there are questions. I need the answers before the questions are even asked.
And dressage looks so easy from the ground!!