In the ring it’s all you!

During the Olympics there were a series of ads on the CBC that focused on great quotes from coaches. One was about a young woman who was a boxer. She said her coach had inspired her even before Women’s Boxing was allowed, let alone become an Olympic sport. Her coach used to say to her :”In the ring it’s all you.”

That rang a bell with me. In dressage you warm up in a ring with other horses and your coach is on the sidelines guiding you through a remote mic system. But then comes the time for your test. You ride into the arena and you are alone. No other horses and no words from your coach, to help you . No matter how many people may be watching. No matter how big the competition is . You go into the ring and you are on your own with your horse. It’s all you!

Charlotte Dujardin riding Mt.St.John Freestyle at WEG 2018

Your support team: groom, coach and supporters must be on the sidelines anxiously watching. Coach Carl Hester,(seated below), groom Alan Davies,( standing behind Carl) and other Supporters of Charlotte and Freestyle. WEG 2018

Horses that are experienced know that they go from the company of other horses in the warm up to the solitude of the competition ring. Despite being herd animals they handle this well and focus on getting down to work for their rider. But for an inexperienced horse who suddenly finds themselves alone in the ring it can be a very scary time. They may call out to see if any other horse will answer them . Sometimes they will keep on calling all through their test. But as long as they just keep going and get through the movements well they will not be marked down. But if they start to get too distracted and their rider cannot get them through the movements properly then they are in trouble and the marks will go way down.

Biasini did not suffer from separation anxiety in the show ring, when I first got him, as he had already been to several shows with Belinda. Now we have had many miles in competition together. But just like every other dressage rider when we go down that centerline and halt to salute the judge I know we are alone.

Biasini and me at White Fences Equestrian. Photo credit Queca Franco

In this photo taken at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival you can see my husband, who is a very important support person for me, taking some video of my ride. But he cannot come in to help me during the test nor can my coach give me any comments or reminders.

Photo credit : Susan J. Stickle

So there it is. In the ring it’s all you.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. J.W.S. says:

    The helpful bit is that “in the ring” you ring the experience which you have gained with the help of others. Alone?…perhaps, though perhaps not?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I do bring the help of others into the rind with me. So I am physically alone with my horse but in my head my coach is there helping me. Good comment JWS!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. firnhyde says:

    Nothing peeves me more than coaches who offer outside assistance to jumping riders at our interschools shows! It’s against the rules, but sometimes people let it slide, which annoys me.
    On another note, Thunder is one of those horses who whinnies happily through most of his tests at shows – he doesn’t seem anxious, but he’s definitely chatty! But he stays relaxed in his body and doesn’t pick up his nose, so the judges don’t mark him down. I just can’t ride him with a caller or I’ll get lost!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha…I like the idea of Thunder calling away but just carrying on with his work. He’s a chatty fellow. Maybe he is telling the others how his test is going! Thanks for commenting I enjoyed hearing from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana says:

    Love this quote! And brings back fond memories of my Hunter show days! You and Biasini look beautiful in the photos you’ve shared! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Diana. All the Equestrian disciplinee have classes that involve being alone with your horse in the ring. So I’m glad the quote meant something to you too.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. David says:

    This is true of every equine sport, it is just you and your horse. Well, maybe not driving, but when in the ring …

    You gave a tease about returning to the show ring a few weeks back. Any more news on this front??? 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Well Belinda and I decided that I will not be returning immediately. The thing is I could go and show in the Inter 1 or PSG and get the same scores I have had before. Not bad but not as good as I could get it I was able to go in and ride with Biasini in the frame and movement we have been working on. I said to Belinda :”Well I could get through the test ok.” she said ;”Yes but not like this! ” she was referring to how I had just ridden the trot tour from the PSG. So we are working on me doing more test patterns and when I am more solid with that then I will enter a show.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Lesley says:

    Such beautiful photos of you and Biasini, Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Lesley !😀

      Liked by 1 person

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