Going Forward by Going Back to Basics.

“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.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. cigarman501 says:

    As a former athletic coach, I can say there is wisdom in your words.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I appreciate your comments on coaching topics.

      Like

  2. dprastka says:

    Lovely post, and always Love seeing your videos. We should always practice the basics! Belinda is so wonderful to listen to as she guides you through the lesson. ♥️🐴

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana. It is a priviledge to have a coach like Belinda who is prepared to work with an older rider like me. I’m so glad you enjoy the video.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MAP195 says:

    nice post…thanks for share

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome

      Like

  4. Alli Farkas says:

    I use a routine similar to the “response to the aids” scenario you described. It usually takes about three attempts at the beginning of each ride before my horse figures out I really mean it. After that we’re mostly on the same page!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      That sounds pretty good Alli!

      Like

  5. A half halt that is a mere squeeze of the shoulders sounds pretty dreamy!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      It actually works! Not all the time. There are times when I have to give a stronger half halt but going into a corner, for example, the shoulder squeeze works wonders!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. sscribner07 says:

    So lovely! My trainer says “less is more” to me often especially when my mind is going a mile a minute. I hear her voice in my head every time I ride alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Today I had a lesson and Belinda told me that she was not going to say anything and see if I knew what needed to be done without her telling me. Of course if I was lagging she spoke up! Thanks for commenting on this post. I enjoy hearing from other riders about their training and work with their horses.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. sscribner07 says:

        I love watching your videos especially! Belinda is very calm and encouraging; and you/Biasini make a fantastic team!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. anne leueen says:

          Thank you. Belinda is very encouraging and always raises the bar for us.

          Liked by 1 person

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