Coming in on a wing and a prayer!

Coming in on a wing and a prayer. During WWII there was a song about a fighter plane, with one motor gone, they radioed ahead to say “We’re coming in on a wing and a prayer. ” How does this relate to dressage? I don’t know about you but I have ridden dressage tests in front of judges and as certain movements came up I knew I was coming in on a wing and a prayer. Most riders have some movement that is their nemesis. It can be the pirouettes, or the tempis or the stretchy circle. We know it is coming and we just try to get through it. But Covid had given me an opportunity to get that broken motor fixed.

Due to Covid the show season is not really happening this summer and next winter I will not be going to Florida where I usually compete. This is the perfect opportunity to work on the things that will strengthen my overall performance. I am fortunate to have my coach Belinda Trussell happy to be helping me with this . So where do we start?

Lightest of aids. Belinda took hold of my leg and demonstrated how small an aid she wanted me to give Biasini to ask him to spring forward. If I did not get this response I had to give him a quick bump with my heels. Then go back to a light aid and repeat it. When he responds let him know he has done the right thing.

Accept only the best transitions. If he goes to dive down or to pop up with his head then tell him that was not the right response and repeat my question to him. The correct response,a nice balanced transition, then I tell him that’s the right answer.

The gaits must be active. The walk must be ready for anything. Could I piaffe? Could I go to extended trot? The trot must be up and light and have good suspension The canter must be active and quick behind and he must carry his own head and neck.

What is my broken motor? Well the canter half pass zig zag is my nemesis. In a lesson last week Belinda told me there could be two things that have to be working to have the zig zag successful. 1) The canter must be balanced and active. 2) Biasini must be reacting well to my leg aids.

We worked on that and did a lot of work over more than one lesson with just getting the canter right. This is a new level of engagement and activity for me with the canter. So I need to have that become the norm and have it memorized in my “feel” .

We are working on it. Despite some very hot weather this week Biasini has been trying hard as have I. We are not there yet but we are getting closer.

Here is a video of our canter work.

  • Feature photo for this post (C) Connie Gee

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Alli Farkas says:

    Don’t know if this will be of any help or interest, but you can ask Belinda and see what she thinks. I noticed her “clicks” were in sync with the inside hind coming forward. Way back when I was riding my Thoroughbred, my trainer asked me to activate the inside hind leg more. Then showed me what to do: give a little tap with the whip as the hind leg is reaching forward coming toward the ground (you can tell, if you don’t have the feel for it yet, because it happens when the mane pops up) but don’t let him go any faster. It’s just a measured tap, each time that hind comes forward, while keeping a constant speed. Maybe that’s what you were already doing?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! I understand exactly what you are saying
      For Biasini it is the right hind leg. Belinda has only ever suggested a tap with each stride and once he responds I stop. Thanks for this comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. David says:

    Nicely done canter work, Anne.

    Deciding to skip Florida must have been a hard decision, but it’s likely the best. A couple of Florida friends have said it’s a mess down there. One said he doesn’t think the authorities seem to know what to do. The other said it’s just plain tiring. Both have said it seems there is a reluctance to do the things that need to be done.

    Knock on wood things will stay well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The toughest decision is for those riders who want to qualify for Tokyo. That is if Tokyo goes ahead. These are all younger riders but some have children and families and if they have to go to FL with no health insurance for Covid that is a tough decision to make.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. David says:

        Plainly, I don’t see Florida happening in the winter, and possibly Tokyo. Japan has had their share of “spot” outbreaks. Certain assurances would need to be given it can be done safely.

        Though my daughters had a good show experience in Saratoga, they said it would have made better sense to scrap the entire 2020 season. Those riders, especially in the lower ranks, had plenty of rust since they were locked out of their home barns. Two, three weeks is not enough to prepare and be ready for a show. But keeping the shows closed to the public made sense. Elsewhere, other shows are open to the public at reduced levels. At the Summer In The Rockies, the big showjumping series here in Colorado, there is no mask mandate and physical distancing is highly recommended. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Covid cases result.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. anne leueen says:

          I dont understand why people continue to deny Covid and the pandemic. I went into a health food store in the town near my home. I go there on a regular basis. The staff and the owner NEVER wear masks or face shields. The other day I knew that it had recently been mandated by the county that masks must be worn. When I asked the owner why she was not wearing a mask she started quoting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms!. I was shocked . This is not something people fall back on here in Canada. I found her pretty aggressive in her anti mask diatribe as well . So I turned on my heel and left.. i have found a Canadain store online that has all the things I want and ships them in a couple of days. Anyway I also hear you about the shows and horses not being in shape for showing. As for Tokyo I just hope they call it sooner rather than later. Thanks for commenting David.

          Like

  3. Corona virus lock down has given many good lessons to many of us more than in the way we expect I believe. Biasini and you looks beautiful maa, your competitions are bringing joy and satisfaction to the viewers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for commenting Subbashini. It is interesting that the Covid restrictions have offered an opportunity to do some training that we might not do under the regular schedule. I am so happy that you enjoying seeing Biasini at work. He is a wonderful horse to ride and he is also a great character!

      Like

  4. Tina Schell says:

    There, you see, there IS good news in the pandemic for those who are committed to making the best of it. Keep up the amazing work Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Tina..I will keep on.

      Like

  5. You are determined so I know you will both get it. Will miss you being in my neck of the woods 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I will miss it too.

      Like

  6. I agree with the video…”we’ll done.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dprastka says:

    I can relate when showing as I think back to hunter classes where I was just able to finish on a wing and a prayer. I always had one direction that I was more comfortable than the other. But your discipline is so much more complicated at least in my mind because of all the nuisances. Having you describe the difference in light leg and getting that feel with each stride. Oh my, you describe it so well and I’m not but I totally understand what your working on in your lessons. Your canter work looked great! 😃❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana. I’m glad my descriptions make it easier to understand. Dressage is a very intricate discipline. And the higher you go in the levels the more detailed it becomes. But it is never boring!😄

      Liked by 3 people

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