The Olympians are in the arena!

Wednesday this week there were two Olympic dressage riders in the arena. My coach Belinda Trussell and Megan Lane. Megan was there to be the “eyes on the ground” to help Belinda. I was lucky enough to be able to watch Belinda ride two horses. The first was the 6 year old Diamanten Dave.

Megan Lane is the “eyes on the ground” for Belinda.

The Warm Up

Megan asked Belinda to do lots of transitions between the gaits and within the gaits. She suggested Belinda try some slight shoulder fore with Dave to help the transitions, and a shallow leg yield for the transitions in trot. Megan said that keeping the fluidity in the downward transitions was important.

Once Dave was warmed up Megan remarked: “He does wake up doesn’t he!” Belinda agreed and said that when he’s ‘with’ her he is light in the contact. They worked on using travers ( haunches in ) for the transitions to going more forward as well as the downward transitions.

“Anytime you feel him diving down add a little bit more travers,”Megan suggested.

Belinda was very happy with how Dave was working. Megan agreed and told Belinda what she could see. “The more you push him the better he gets.When he’s on the bit he’s focused and he’s going to do whatever you ask.”

Both Megan and Belinda agreed that he needed to have more physical strength before introducing him to the double bridle.

Feng de Lys was the second horse Belinda rode. Feng is 8 years old.

The Warm Up

Feng’s warm up was a bit different than Dave’s.

“I would start already to get him to think about his back legs. Do that until he gets a bit looser. Until you get some steps of just relaxed moving through his back. ” Megan suggested.

For the trot Megan wanted Feng to be ” a little bit more boring. Let him go quieter. It’s all about him being loose in his back and trotting how he wants to trot is not conducive to warming up. Maybe start his warm up with just walking him for five minutes.”

Once they started into the work of the session Megan suggested: “The trot will establish what you want for the canter.” And: “Think about the extended trot while in the collected trot.”

When working on the collected canter Belinda said she felt Feng was getting “pingy”and needed to be more forward. Megan suggested Belinda ride him with a lighter seat. That was a moment when I realized the level of riding I was witnessing. That level of refinement to be able to just fractionally ride with a lighter seat!

It was a real treat for me to see these sessions. Here were two Olympic dressage riders helping each other. Next week Belinda will go to Megan’s barn and help her with her horses. Olympians help each other! And do you know what else Olympians do? They pick up the manure from the footing. The footing is sand and fiber and it is important to have the best possible footing for high performance athletes like these horses so they avoid injuries. Manure can ruin the consistency of the footing.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. kunstkitchen says:

    Just so impressive to see your photos for these professionals. Thanks for your commentary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a treat for me too seeing them at work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kunstkitchen says:

        I’m sure it is! I’d be awestruck. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. David says:

    Most think the practice sessions are a solitary effort, especially with higher level riders. They don’t rely on their coach/instructor as much. While they are relying on their experience, they also rely on a teammate to suggest adjustments. They need to value and trust the input, much like the trust between horse and rider. Trish taught the daughters how to rely on each other as those extra eyes. Yes, you are fellow competitors, but you bring the extra perspective – you’re the push, the motivator, to better riding. The daughters still rely on Trish as those extra eyes. She brings them extra savvy, perspective and experience … and sometimes a lesson, or two. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think that the eyes on the ground are a big help. These two riders are very experienced with Belinda having two Olympics under her belt on two different horses and four World Championships and one World Cup. Megan has one Olympics and two World Championships and they both have Pan Am Games. So it is fascinating to listen to them and how they tackle different things with the horses. Due to the pandemic restrictions I am not able to go as a visitor to Megans barn with Belinda this week but I hope to do that in the summer when things ease up a bit. Thanks for your comment David. Will Trish go with the young women to the show itn New York?

      Like

      1. David says:

        The trip to NY, Trish might attend. It depends on her schedule. It also depends on whether a certain friend of hers is home, or is in Florida. Still close friends, they practiced together in the 1990s though Trish had rode from a different home barn.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Knowledge is timeless and so are the professionals. Carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dprastka says:

    WOW, that was so AMAZING! Thanks for sharing, so great to hear how they help each other! You are so fortunate to be there, and with your photos and words I felt like I was almost there too! And it’s great they help out too, keeping arena clean. Makes sense!! ❤️😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is such a treat to be able to sit in on these sessions. I hope to do it again. And these two Olympians are not above doing the work of cleaning up the manure. They are both very down to earth

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sscribner07 says:

    It’s so wonderful to see even the greats helping eachother out. It goes to prove that even when you are top level having the pair of eyes on the ground to see what you’re doing and talking you through it is invaluable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Those eyes on the ground are so valuable and I wanted to show that the greats will pick up the manure because they know the value of the footing! I’ve seen amateur riders not pick it up!. Thanks for your comment. Have a good weekend!

      Like

      1. sscribner07 says:

        Yes, there are LOTS of amateurs that don’t pick it up. Even with a rule saying to do so . 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Yup. It always annoys me .

          Liked by 1 person

  6. cagedunn says:

    No one gets to the higher levels without helping hands, often many helping hands — and it goes round, give and get, show and be shown.
    A demonstration that the sport isn’t about one person competing against others, it’s about helping and learning through helping.
    The outer teams, friends, colleagues, peers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      So true Cage! Thanks for this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Every day is a learning day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is Susie!

      Like

  8. Emma Cownie says:

    Ah, nice to see that they pick up the manure too! There is alwys so much h\rd work with looking after horses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes and this Olympic rider is not too grand to get in there and do what’s needed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow what a gift to peak into that level of dressage!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Avery says:

    That is just so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think so too. Thanks for commenting Avery

      Liked by 1 person

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