Gorgeous and Accomplished!

You know you are off to a good start in a clinic when the clinician, who happens to be a 4* judge,watches your warm up your horse and says.: “What a gorgeous horse!” However that does NOT mean she will not have lots of corrections and useful critiques to give me on how I can help my “very accomplished” horse do better.

Yesterday my Florida coach Lou Denizard had arranged a clinic at his base, Silver Drache Farm, in Palm City FL with Sarah Geikie. Sarah is a 4* judge and an excellent clinician. And I’m not just saying that because she liked my horse! So what did I learn?

The warm up.

She immediately spotted that Biasini’s favorite modus operandi is to go on the forehand, pull down and get me forward and out of the tack. Sarah suggested I stop using a long and low warm up in the trot and instead go for a good working trot frame and balance. One very useful exercise was quick walk-trot transitions: trot, two steps walk, back to trot. And those transitions must be seamless: no diving down, no loss of momentum, and quick off my leg aids. All of this must be done with him accepting contact, and in a good working trot balance.

Trot work.

We established a good working trot and then collected trot to do 1/4 turns as pirouettes to go diagonally across the arena. This was an interesting exercise as I found Biasini, if he was properly balanced, was much more even in both directions (both reins) than I had expected.

At the end of our session Sarah asked for very collected trot almost to half steps. When I asked Biasini for this I could feel he was quite ready to offer passage. Again it was having him in the right balance that made this possible.

Canter work

Sarah reminded me to use my corners but not loose the forward momentum in those corners. Then ask for medium canter down the longside of the arena. Biasini loves this and he offered a nice bounding uphill canter.

We moved on to the pirouettes. Sarah had me do walk pirouettes first. I know from Lou that this can reveal what I will have in the canter. Sarah told me to use more outside rein and move his shoulders around for the pirouette. And she made it clear she wanted me to MOVE THOSE SHOULDERS! When we did the pirouettes in canter I was amazed at how successful this was. He did not get stuck but moved in a sprightly fashion with clear strides and with my outside leg giving little tick, tick, tick aids the pirouettes went very well.

Final words

Sarah’s final words to me were to “Never, ever….ever allow him to be long and low in the warm up. He is accomplished enough to not need that. ” She may say something different to another horse and rider combination but she is right about Biasini. If I do not set the standard in the warm up I am letting myself in for a big struggle in whatever work we are going to do.

How lucky am I to have already had two clinics this season, with two FEI level judges ,and benefited from their wisdom .

I would like to thank my husband David, who took the photos. He does not do “action shots” but I appreciate his coming and taking these photos so I have some to share with you.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    Well he is a gorgeous horse!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. chasingbeans says:

    So inspiring!! & Great Story!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems that you two had a really great time! So beautiful! Enjoy these moments!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Ribana! I am enjoying all of these moments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dprastka says:

    So inspiring!! So great to follow along with these GREAT clinicians, and their critiques. Your hubby is a trooper, excellent job! Fun to see photos with your posts!! ❤️🐴😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Diana. I am lucky to be able to ride in these clinics. And yes my husband is a trooper!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Pretty amazing how much we can learn from a great coach with a practiced eye Anne. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Irene Tron says:

    Sounds like a great learning experience for both you and Biasini. David did a great job on the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I will pass on the photography compliment to David. And yes it was a great learning experience with much to take away and work on. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have stopped giving hubby my phone to take photos, as they are either blurred, or I don’t have a head.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      David gets one of my camera bodies with a 50-200 lens. I set up the focus and metering for him and he does pretty well I think. He won’t do horse in motion shots as that is tricky. But I am grateful for the photos he does take

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are brilliant.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done by all concerned…including David.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. David is a good sport about all the horsey stuff.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Alli Farkas says:

    Biasini IS a gorgeous horse! You are so fortunate to have him. It’s also perversely comforting to know that such an accomplished horse has a couple of the same issues my never-will-be-accomplished horse has–such as that tendency to “go on the forehand, pull down and get me forward and out of the tack.” Arrgh, I struggle with that every ride, but as Sarah said, it helps to just get going in the warm-up and forget the long and low stuff. I also, just coincidentally in my last lesson, got the instruction to use more outside rein (along with half-halts) and get the shoulders moving in the walk pirouette. I really appreciate it that you’re putting your clinic experiences out here so some of the rest of us can take heart that we’re not alone in our learning journey with horses.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is like a spiral. I find I move up the levels and come back to the same things. Not identical as the expectations are different as you move up but essentially the same. You are not alone Alli. We are all in this together😀

      Liked by 2 people

  10. You must be having the time of your life. Beautiful blog! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Looks like a great time! It can hardly Hurt that she thinks Biasini is gorgeous, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Absolutely! It makes me feel very proud and happy to know she likes the horse. We were off to a good start!

      Like

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