So Many Details. So Little Time.

Dressage is all about the details. There are an infinity of details that must be remembered and carried out. Focusing on the details is the Lens Artists challenge this week given to us by Patti. This is a tough one for me as my dressage life is all about details. Endless details! But how can I show that in photos? Well, I will show some photos and try to describe the details that may not be seen but are all there.

  • In the photo above my coach Belinda Trussell is riding a corner of the arena. Here are the details of this move that must be executed simultaneously. . 1. Two strides before she begins this turn she will have given the horse a half halt to let him know something is coming. 2. Then she will put a bit more pressure into her right calf to encourage the horse to bend, like a banana, around her right leg. 3.She will keep an even contact with both reins and with the fingers on her right hand she will ask for flexion to the right in the horse’s neck but also keeping contact on the left side of the horse to bring him up in the shoulder . What is next?
  • In the photo above Belinda is now going to do a half pass across the arena on a diagonal. She has turned her upper body in the direction she wishes the horse to travel. What are the details? 1. She makes sure his head is on the line of travel and the destination is visible between his ears. 2 .She has moved her left lower leg a tiny bit back and applied some pressure, in the rhythm of the horse’s gait, to encourage the horse to move his body sideways. 3 She is keeping her right leg on the horse’s right side to stop him from just drifting sideways with no leg crossing or bend.

Here is a photo taken by my friend Queca Franco. . This is of me and Biasini competing in Florida. We have halted at X (the center of the arena) to salute the judge. Where are the details here?

  • 1. To get a good score I must be right on the centerline and the judge is seated at the centerline so she will know if I am a bit to the right or to the left. 2. The body of the horse must be straight not crooked with his hindquarters off the centerline. 3. All four feet must be squared up. Can you see that Biasini’s feet are not quite square? His left hind leg is just slightly behind his right. The judge may not be able to see this detail from her position but if there was a second judge at the side of the arena then…..Bingo! I would loose points for this halt.

Dressage riding is all about the details. Riders like my coach Belinda have made it to two Olympics because she has an indefatigable sense of detail. That is what makes the difference. Every corner, every arena short side, every movement needs to be prepared with a multitude of different aids that are defined by how the rider feels the horse is going at that exact moment and precisely what aids are needed. Details! Details! Details!

I hope that my description of dressage details has given you an idea of what is going on while the rider looks like they are doing almost nothing and the horse dances through the movements. Thank you for this challenge Patti.

27 Comments Add yours

  1. The mind boggles at all that is involved, I think you are so talented to do what you & Biasini do. I am lucky to remember to put socks on before my boots let alone all the details of dressage riding. Great post. Have a great weekend ahead pony friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! It is not.easy I can assure you. And just FYI I have days when I get to then barn and find I am wearing mismatched boot socks 😁 You have a good weekend too.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Leya says:

    Very well explained, Anne! I knew about details, but not just how many…I have only come across showing my dogs – where we have to have a good communication and details are important as well. But then there is Agility and Freestyle competitions where the dog and the handler must do many tricks and dance together. Details. but never as many as in dressage! Thank you for giving more insight here!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I love to watch the dogs going through thr agility and freestyle courses. That is communication between dog and handler! Thank you for commenting on my details.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pattimoed says:

    Wow, Anne. I had NO idea of all the details the rider must consider when competing. This is amazing. You have to think through every step and prepare. The details are fascinating and eye-opening. Thanks, Anne for giving us a sense of all the details!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Patti. We have to remember all these details both in training and competition. Thanks for the interesting challenge !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pattimoed says:

        You’re very welcome, Anne!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dprastka says:

    Such a great post! ❀️🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Honestly I wish to go and see a dressage competition and enjoy it with the details I learned. I am sure this blog would have created a respect towards this competition for those who don’t know anything about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I hope it will help people understand dressage better. Sadly I do not know of many competitions in Oman. But you could look up videos of Carl Hester or Charlotte Dujardin and watch them in competition.

      Like

  6. Amy says:

    Wow… lots of details. So amazing the horse can remember all the details. Remarkable training!

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      The horse does not have to remember the details. But it must understand from the riders aids what is wanted and if the aids are clear the horse will respond with the right movements. The training familiarizes the horse with those aids and trains him or her as to how to respond. It is amazing that the communication can work as well as it does Thanks for commenting Amy!

      Like

      1. Amy says:

        Thank you, Anne for explaining to me. It’s so interesting. Amazing communication!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          You are most welcome Amy. It is the only sport that involves having a partner of a different species!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. David says:

    An excellent post, Anne, about how equestrian sports are more than riding around. Trish has said the hardest thing to teach a rider in the beginner ranks is paying attention to detail. “You can be a talented, natural rider, but it doesn’t guarantee you in being successful if you don’t know where each hoof will land.” When Trish lets the girls mentor younger riders, all three will have their ‘charges’ ride a dressage package (mostly transitions). This is when you don’t want Elizabeth as your mentor. If a rider does a messy job with the package, she will tear into them. Elizabeth is not asking for perfection, but what she is asking for if they know the mistakes they are making in riding the dressage package, the details. Deborah and Tara go for the quiet approach.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well it is good to know that Trish focuses on details. I am sure in all of the disciplines it is of paramount importance.

      Like

  8. Makes me sad that you couldn’t come to Florida

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      We hope for next winter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fingers crossed 🀞

        Liked by 1 person

  9. JohnRH says:

    Dare I say whewwww. And woof! How do you get a horse to stand four-square?! LOTS of details!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Getting a square halt is all about the details of how you ride into the halt. Oddly enough you must have your legs on to ride forward and then sit up, pull your shoulder blades together and close your fingers. The horse should then give you a nice square halt. And you come to the halt from trot at the lower levels and from canter at the more advanced levels. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment John.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. JohnRH says:

        Thank YOU for your thorough explanations. VERY informative.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          You are most welcome.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Tina Schell says:

    Yikes Anne – those of us who do not ride have NO idea what goes into becoming a champion rider. Of course we understand the dedication that goes into it but have no idea of the incredible amount of detail involved! Very enlightening – thanks for sharing the details!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Tina and thank you for reading through all.those details.

      Like

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