Sharpen the Pencil!

“Sharpen the pencil!” These words from my coach Belinda Trussell were the take away from my lesson. What on earth does “sharpen the pencil” have to do with riding a dressage horse you may well ask. Well, a sharp pencil will make your writing or drawing clear, sharp and precise. Clear ! Sharp! Precise! That’s what dressage is all about really! When I put on an aid I want my horse to react immediately and if the reaction is not immediate then I must demand a better reaction and one that is immediate. If I need a change in my horse’s frame I give a half halt and ask for that change. Did I get it? Can I feel that change? No? Then ask again and ask in as clear a way as I can. Do I need more activity? Get my ankles on and ask for it and when the energy is created, half halt it to make him even fancier, but don’t stifle that energy!

That’s all there is to it really. It sounds so clear and so simple but speaking for myself I find that sharpened pencil riding is not easy at all. The timing, the quickness of the aids, the focus on my horse’s response have my body and my brain working full time! Every Single Second. Here is an edited video from our lesson on Friday June 11. This was the first lesson allowed now that the Pandemic restrictions are being gradually loosened. In keeping with Provincial government restrictions physical activities must take place out of doors. Even gyms must have their classes outside.

The video had to be edited as we had some problems with the robot camera; it lost its’ zoom function and sometimes it also lost Biasini and me. But I think there is enough for you to hear Belinda’s instruction and to understand how she wants the pencil sharpened. You will also hear the chirping and scolding of a red winged black bird who has a nest in the hedge at the side of the arena. It was a beautiful June day and I was happy to be back in lessons with Belinda who is very encouraging. She reminds me about my less than perfect position but does not harp on it if I have got Biasini in the right frame and energy.

  • Featured photo (C) Connie Gee

21 Comments Add yours

  1. firnhyde says:

    I’m working on the exact same thing with Thunder right now. The coordination and commitment it takes is just unbelievable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is isn’t it! Thanks for this comment and all the best as you pursue this riding dressage.

      Like

  2. Lesley says:

    It amazes me how for something that needs perfect concentration can look so beautifully effortless. I enjoyed watching this. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment Lesley. I appreciate your taking the time to look at the video. Trust me it may look effortless but it is a lot of physical work going on.πŸ˜ƒ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lesley says:

        I don’t doubt it. πŸ˜€ πŸ‘
        I had a little chuckle to myself as I thought of the blackbird telling you to ‘eff off’ in birdie language every time you rode past its nest!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          🀣🀣 that is exactly what he was saying!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lesley says:

            πŸ˜€

            Like

  3. Amy says:

    Beautifully video! Thank you for sharing with us. Biasini is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Amy. I think Biasini is awsome tooπŸ’• I appreciate your taking the time to have a look at the video.

      Like

  4. A beautiful day indeed! And you all are so hard working! πŸŽπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A good way of describing the actions you preform to get the right performance. I can see it’s hard work for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment. It is hard work but it is always an interesting challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah Davis says:

    Fascinating. I trail ride a Tennessee Walking Horse, so these terms and style of riding are foreign to me. I appreciate the description and video with audio. It helps me understand and relate it back to my world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so glad you can relate to it on hearing the video. It must be very different from working with a gaited horse. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sarah Davis says:

        Yes and no. How I position my body, use my legs/heels,ankles and my hands/shoulders/elbows/reins/bit/shanks communicates gait his body movement. They are all horses, just with lots of variations on a theme. We ride them into the gait. If it is to bouncy, we slow down to build back up to the sweet spot.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Yes they are all horses and I believe most horses want to understand us and do what we are asking for. Thanks for your comment.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Way to look sharp. I love the clip you & Biasini look so good together & you can really see him respond. I love that your coach gets so excited & it really sounds like she wants to cheer really loud. How fun to have a bird cheering you on from it’s nest. Just beautiful.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for your comment. Belinda is very encouraging. If she thinks I am not focusing or trying to really get stuck in and do it she can let me know about that too. I really appreciate that she has so much enthusiasm for our progress. She makes us work hard and does not let us just glide along and tell us we are doing ok. Many coaches would do that with a rider my age. But not Belinda. I think Biasini tries hard and works hard . The key is for me to be clear and consistent in how I ask him to do things. The redwing black bird is a very talkative fellow!

      Like

  8. dprastka says:

    What a beautiful day and I just love the video you shared. Biasini is so beautiful and your lesson looks like hard work (I wish I was in that kind of riding shape!) I’m so happy the restrictions have lifted a little bit so you can have lessons once again outside! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is glorious to ride in that outdoor arena. I am glad it does not look as if we were just out going la di da di da. It is very hard work and Belinda expects me to be fully focused and riding every single stride. I’m glad u enjoyed the video and thanks for commenting Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

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