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.