Lows and Highs–All in One Lesson.

I don’t think there is any human endeavor that proceeds exponentially upwards. Certainly in dressage progress is marked in a rather erratic graph. Up! Down. High! Low. But over time there is progress.

This past week , in my lessons with my coach Belinda Trussell, I had highs and lows. One lesson we spent working on the trot. It all went well. A high! The next lesson we worked on the canter.

“What canter movements would you like to work on?”Belinda asked. I thought for a moment and then said I would like to work on the half pass and the straightening to the flying change. The straightening is a real weakness for me. We started with travers ( haunches in ) on the long side and then on to the half pass out of the corner to the center line, straighten, flying change.

“Bring the quarters! Bring the quarters!” Belinda repeated several times. This meant I did not have Biasini straight. His quarters were lagging behind. I did several things to try to improve this: more outside leg to push the quarters over, more inside leg to keep him from going sideways, more outside rein to straighten his shoulders . None of these seemed to be working. A low.

“Tell me what you are doing to straighten him.” Belinda said. I told her . She then suggested some other exercises that might help me. We did them. Still not good enough.

“I think I should pop on. I haven’t been on him in a long time and maybe I can feel what he is giving you.” Belinda said. She put on her helmet and mounted up. Of course when she did the half pass he went sailing sideways, straightened and did a nice change. She was not carrying a whip, she did not kick or pull.There was nothing visibly forceful in what she was doing . But the effectiveness of her riding had the desired effect.

“Come and put your hand in between my ankle and his side.” Belinda suggested before I got back on Biasini. I did this and then she demonstrated how much push she was giving with the inside of her ankle. Ah! A clear strong push. Knowing Belinda I already knew that once I would have Biasini responding to this aid I would make it a lighter aid. But for now it would need to be strong and clear! It is not held on but on and off with each stride of the horse. I got back on Biasini. I did my best to give a stronger aid with my ankle (just the ankle not the whole leg) and also a firmer half halt with my outside rein.

Well it worked! Here is a video.I was pleased once we had completed the movement and I knew better than to relax for even half a second. I had to make a good turn with no change in the frame. We finish up with some trot and my ankles had to work again to make it even better.


“Push the boundaries,” Belinda tells me. That was a high note and a good finish for the lesson.

  • feature photo (c) Connie Gee*

15 Comments Add yours

  1. You guys always inspire me! I’m struggling with having enough strength and flexibility in my ankles, it really is surprisingly hard work to consistently maintain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      We all struggle. Riding looks easy but it is not so hang in there and keep working on those ankles!

      Like

  2. Connie says:

    Thanks for another super informative post! As a non-rider / dressage enthusiast and photographer I lap up everything that helps me understand how the movements are trained and achieved. I really love the detail you provide; it’s almost like I can feel what’s happening as you put Belinda’s coaching into action. Thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Connie. I’m so glad you get something out of my blog posts. I always enjoy your photos on Facebook.

      Like

  3. Great insight :)) Good reminder that communication is the key — and pulsing aids work best. I found the following and thought of you. I think you will find it interesting! Keep moving forward :)) Dawn

    https://robbreport.com/lifestyle/sports-leisure/cloned-horses-competition-2881549/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Dawn. The article on cloning is very interesting. Thank you for sharing that. Perhaps at the press conference in Wellington I might ask if there are any acknowledged cloned horses competing? Haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. :)) :)) I wonder what they will say! Best to you, Anne

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          If they do say something I will put it into a blog post for sure! All the best to you too!

          Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    I think all the learning processes are like this. I am attempting to learning Irish online (So I can read it in Donegal) and I have moments where I feel I am making progress, rapidly followed by (longer) moments of total incomprehension. I keep slogging away. As you say the overall movement is upwards (sort of). I wonder how Biasini regards it all?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Biasini doesn’t see his life In the graph of ups and downs. He only is thinking about the present. When Belinda got on him she said he felt more tense. When I got back on I could feel that but within 10 meters he had relaxed again. He knew the “test” was over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        I dont know whether to laugh at that or feel sorry sorry for Biasini!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          I dont think you need to feel sorry for Biasini. He has a good life for a horse and he has humans who understand him. He does work hard and tries to get it right so I think.thay means he is happy with his life.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Emma Cownie says:

            I am glad he has a good life!!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Alli Farkas says:

    Lovely horse AND rider!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Alli for this encouraging comment.

      Like

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