“If you look at all aspects of all sports, everything comes down to basics and fundamentals.”Robbie Lawler
There may not be too much in common between Mixed Martial Arts and Dressage but MMA Professional Robbie Lawler is right; it all comes down to the basics. So for Biasini and me the time of preparing for competition and our Freestyle is over and now Coach Belinda Trussell takes us back to the basics.
What exactly does Belinda want to see in our basics?
She wants all of our aids to be lighter, softer and quicker. So for the leg aid to go forward she wants me to just brush the inside of my ankle against Biasini’s side. Just graze his side. I would be the first to say this is a grand goal to set and it will result in a big step up for us in the finesse of my riding and Biasini’s response.
It’s not all that easy. I have not been nagging and pounding on Biasini so as to make him dull. My aids have been firm and distinct, but not exactly just a “graze” with my ankle or a half halt that is merely a pinch of my shoulder blades.
How can I accomplish this lightening of the aids?
For every aid, whether I am asking him to go forward, or to stay light in my hands, not pulling down, not sticking his nose out, or asking him to put more power into his movement, more RPMs, and more active hind end, I start with a very subtle aid. Does he respond? Yes..then reward by not repeating the aid. No? Bingo! Sharper aid. Immediately! Then try the subtle aid again. Does he respond? Yes…reward with a release of the aid. No? Boom! Sharper aid again and maybe come back to the walk and repeat the aid. Once he is light and responsive pick up the trot or canter again and ask again. After that sequence Biasini always responds well.
How quick must I be to correct or repeat or release?
Immediate! As quick as the blink of an eye. The instant I give the aid I must react to his response. If I am too slow how will he know what I want? Biasini is clever and he is a good worker. But he cannot read my mind. I have to speak with my aids and tell him either “yes that’s what I want” or “No, that’s not it. Let’s try again.”
How slow is this process?
In our last lesson we started with canter work. It took a good 20 minutes of Belinda getting after me, telling me I was letting him continue when it was not right, or my release was not quick enough, or my RPMs were loosing their RPMs and so on. Belinda does not let me away with anything and I must not let Biasini away with anything. Finally we had some good work. Here is a video of the last of the canter work. Still not perfect all the time but many good moments with Belinda pleased.