When it’s time for the professional to mount up!

This week I had a lesson with my coach Belinda Trussell and things were just not going well enough. It was taking too long for me to do the exercise properly. The exercise was three 10 meter circles on the long side of the arena and in between the circles travers ( haunches in). What was going wrong?

1.Biasini would fall in on the circles and not respect my inside leg. Or I was not using enough inside leg. 2. The travers did not have enough angle. 3.Biasini would loose the correct frame: too long in the frame or not enough activity behind.

Since I did not seem to be able to correct these things in a timely fashion Belinda asked me if I would like her to “pop on”. “Yes!” I replied. Belinda went to get her helmet and once she had it on she mounted up .

There are lots of amateur riders who do not want their coach to get on their horse. They prefer to sort out the training difficulty themselves. The feel they will learn more if they can work through it with their horse and that is fair enough. Belinda rarely gets on Biasini. It has been at least six months since she had asked if I would like her to take the reins. But on this day I was happy to have Belinda get on. I knew I was taking too long to get it sorted out. This process can just tire the horse and the problems can get worse.

Belinda got on and picked up the canter. She made a few quick corrections to Biasini’s canter and then did the exercise on the left rein , then the right rein. Then she told me to get back on.

As soon as I picked up the canter I knew I was riding a different horse. Belinda asked us to go straight into the exercise. The circles were balanced and the travers felt wonderful. I put my leg on and away he went with lots of bend and activity. Here is a video.

What is the huge benefit of having Belinda ride my horse on a day like this? I get back on and I can feel how he should be going. I can feel how it should be . So next time I can aim for that.

In my lessons on Thursday and Friday Belinda had something else for me to work on. She wanted me to learn how important it was to use the inside of my ankle to get Biasini’s hind end under him and bring up his shoulder and neck. Here is the breakdown of how it works.

  1. First Push with the inside of my ankle. PUSH and keep pushing. Keep that push on till I can feel the change in his balance.
  2. Then half halt . If necessary make it a strong half halt until he gives.
  3. Once I have achieved the balance and he has come through I ask him to move forward with more activity. I relax my lower leg OFF. Then tap with my heel. Just a light tap. If he does not respond then add more taps.
  4. Then another half halt to keep him balanced. But ideally it can just be a light half halt perhaps only with my shoulder blades.

That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? Well let me tell you the amount of PUSH from the inside of my ankle is tremendous. It is a big demand on my old lower legs! But when you train with someone who has been to two Olympics you try to Just Do It!

Did it work? Yes it did. What amazed me the most was that once I had Biasini balanced and light in my hand just a light tap with my heel and off he went forward and active.

What did I learn? I must develop a new muscle memory to train myself to use leg first and hand second. And that means a LOT of leg followed by a serious half halt. Then be light. The taps with my heel must be quick and snappy!

I had to have a hot bath with some salts in the evening after the Friday lesson! I felt like I had earned it.

*The featured photo for this post is of Belinda riding Biasini back in June when we were still in the lockdown.*


13 responses to “When it’s time for the professional to mount up!”

  1. dprastka Avatar

    What a great post!! When in training years ago, I always loved having my trainer get on my horse when needed! Your video was wonderful!! 💗💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you Diana I’m so glad you enjoyed the video.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Subbashini Meenakshi Sundaram Avatar

    Wonderful to know about how a good training goes, amazing peoples you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      We are not amazing just dedicated. Thank you for commenting Subbashini.


  3. David Avatar

    My daughters had instances like yours, they had a hard time getting through a exercise, let alone the lesson. Trish would have them dismount, she would do the exercise. Whoever it was remounted and were able to do the exercise, complete the lesson. But, Trish would also let them muddle through if they weren’t getting it.

    Captain Andrew was/is notorious for being stubborn. There was one lesson he wasn’t responding to her at all. Trish had Deborah dismount. Trish rode the exercise, no problems, no issues. Captain Andrew responded to her cues. Deborah remounted, and they did the exercise. Same thing with Lilith, except Trish rode Lilith in competition. Elizabeth didn’t think they would do well. Trish rode Lilith to a win. When Elizabeth rode Lilith two days later, Elizabeth said it was like riding a different horse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      That is why a good coach and trainer are so important!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cagedunn Avatar

    And the bum muscles! They get a workout with the changes in tension from leg/heel aids. It’s almost as if the hands are the final stage of the instruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Yes! You have understood it. I find it is the adductor muscles on the inside of my thighs that react. But so far I have not bee stiff or sore afterwards!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. littlepiecesofme1 Avatar

    Good coaches/trainers are worth their weight in gold!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Yes they are! Thanks for this comment!


  6. Sagittarius Viking Avatar

    It’s wise to get help when we need it. For several years I worked every Saturday at a riding school for no money, giving beginners lessons, in return the owner/my instructor would let me ride her own horse as much as I wanted, including two private lesson/week. To ride a horse that new so much was worth so much more than a pay check would have been.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      That sounds like a very good working student situation. Thanks for sharing your experience. Have a good weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sagittarius Viking Avatar

        It was. Have a great weekend!

        Liked by 2 people

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