Olympic Inspiration!

Watching the best riders in the world go through the Grand Prix, one of the most difficult of Dressage tests, and the next day the GP Special is a joy and also an opportunity to learn a lot. I watched these riders and I saw all the things that my coach Belinda Trussell keeps telling me to do in every lesson. What were the lessons I learned from these Olympians?

  • BEND!
  • I did not see a single rider who went into the half pass zig zag without bend in the horse’s body. I also did not see a single rider take their horse into a pirouette without preparing the correct bend. Every corner they rode they had bend.
Charlotte Dujardin and Gio in the Grand Prix Special. Photo Credit: British Equestrian/ Jon Stroud media
  • HALF HALTS!
  • I saw half halts as preparation for movements; before diagonals of tempi changes, before starting down the center line for the zig zag and the pirouettes. I saw half halts rebalancing over achieving horses, calming tense horses and reminding horses that they needed to be ready for a difficult move coming up. These half halts were visible in the rider’s bodies or the movement of their fingers and the effects were visible in the horse becoming more collected , sitting more in their hindquarters and focusing.
Carl Hester (GBR) & En Vogue – Dressage – Grand Prix Special; Team Final – Equestrian Park, Setagaya City, Tokyo, Japan – 27 July 2021 Photo Credit: Jon Stroud Media
  • LEGS ON!
  • I watched every halt salute at the end and the camera angle was perfect to see the riders legs. Those lower legs were ON as they transitioned from passage to halt. I also observed those lower legs were on for every downward transition when it was possible for me to see the lower leg.
  • HOT HORSE
  • To do the movements in the Grand Prix you do not want a happy hacker, calm and steady. For the sequence of movements in the Grand Prix you must have a horse that is sparking on all cylinders and those sparks must be flying! I have been learning that even at levels below Grand Prix I need Biasini to be a hot horse. Once we get into the work he transforms into the ‘hot horse’. Then he is so sensitive and I have to be very careful and precise with my aids. He rewards me with such great responses.

So….did my Olympic inspiration work? Yes it did! At the end of the week Belinda told me I had risen to a new zone in my riding! And of course half of the praise must go to Biasini. He responded to my requests and both of us rose up to that new zone. Here is some video taken by Belinda at the end of one of our lessons last week. Bear in mind I am just an older amateur rider and not an Olympian.

  • Featured photo credit Jon Stroud Media/British Equestrian.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Sadly I saw very few equestrian events on the TV channels available to me, Anne! Like Tina said, of the snippets I did see, I thought of you. We can all learn something new and be inspired by watching elite athletes of the world engage in their passion. I wonder how many little girls and boys will be inspired after watching all the sports and if an uptick in equestrian interest follows the Olympics? I know this is true for many sports like swimming, track and gymnastics. Isn’t it satisfying to watch the sport(s) you know so much about? Always fun! Have a great week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m sure there will be quite a few little girls who will take up various sports after these Olympics because these Olympics had so many women who were featured and did so well. I saw lots of the coverage of many events. I was knocked out by a woman from the Netherlands who fell in the 800 , but got up and finished the race and came back to run the 1500 and then she won the 10,000. The commentators said it was miraculous that she had done this. There were women doing so well in diving, swimming and other sports. Dressage has many women stars and perhaps one or two little girls will think they would like to follow Charlotte Dujardin ( Team Bronze and Individual Bronze) or Isabell Werth ( Team gold and individual silver) or Jessica von Bredow-Werndl who won the individual gold ! It was wonderful to watch these riders and their horses! Thanks so much for your comment Terri! Enjoy the week ahead.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. pattimoed says:

    Wow, Anne. I can only comprehend a small part of what you are doing here, but it’s amazing how the horse and rider communicate with each other. Fascinating. I’m delighted the Olympics inspired you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tina Schell says:

    I thought of you as I was watching some of these events Anne. It must be so much more fun to watch when you know how very difficult it is. They make it look so easy. I did see several of the leading jumpers knock a post over at the end of their performance and it was rather heartbreaking. Good for you for watching, learning and being inspired!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Tina. It is so interesting to watch a discipline you know well. It is possible to see lots of things and to know what is happening.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks so much Susie!

      Like

  5. J.W.S. says:

    The experts make things look easy…though it is very hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cigarman501 says:

    You are speaking a language I do not understand…the photos are great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      My apologies for that foreign language. The video has more of it and perhaps in watching the horse moving and hearing my coach say all those things about bend and half halts it might make more sense. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. cigarman501 says:

        I imagine if I spoke in “coaches speak” it would be the same. No need to apologize. Hope you are enjoying the Olympics. I have actually watched some of the equestrian events myself. Beautiful animals and I love the “uniforms” the riders wear.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          We are watching the Olympics at all hours Just looking at the 10,000 meter women’s race. I’m exhausted just watching them. Good to know you saw some of the equestrian events.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. cigarman501 says:

            I just saw Bruce Springstein’s daughter won a Silver in show jumping. Lost the gold in a jumpoff with the Swedes…I’m learning.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            Thanks for letting me know. The Swedes were unstoppable in the jumping.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Emma Cownie says:

    It’s great that you really understand and appreciate the skills that these riders are horses are displaying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it was amazing to see there riders, all f them really, doing all the things I struggle with, and doing them seamlessly. Thanks for leaving a comment Emma.

      Liked by 1 person

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