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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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