Why Less is More.

This past week I have still been laid off riding due to my low back strain. I can walk Biasini in the forest but no trotting or cantering. I have been doing exercises given to me by the physio and I am on the mend but not mended enough to do ‘full on’ riding. So I have the pleasure of watching Belinda Trussell ride Biasini. On Thursday her assistant Lynsey Rowan had a lesson on Biasini . Lynsey is currently competing at the Prix St. George and Intermediare 1 level and getting super scores in the 70s! I thought it would be interesting for her to have a lesson on a different horse (Biasini) who is at the same level as the horse she competes with. It was also very interesting for me to watch the lesson as I could listen to what Belinda was telling Lynsey to do and observe how it went. What was the one thing I noticed the most? Belinda often would ask Lynsey to do less. Smaller aids, fewer aids, less!

At one point Belinda said to Lynsey: “Ask him to get his front legs farther out in front of him.” This was while they were trotting. One stride later Biasini was throwing his front legs out in front of him in a very fancy trot! “What do you think Lynsey did to get him to do that?” I asked Belinda. “I don’t know,” she replied. “When I want him to do that I just think it.” Think it! This is what it means to be around riders who are seriously advanced in the subtlety of their riding . When Lynsey took a break we asked her how she had got that fancy trot and Biasini’s legs out in front of him. She thought for a moment and then said: “I put my shoulders back and then I think that I want his legs out more in front.” Lynsey also is a thinker .

Subtlety! That was the word that came to my mind many times in this lesson. Both of these riders execute difficult movements with barely visible aids. It really is a less is more situation.

On Friday we had a beautiful autumn day and Belinda rode Biasini in the outdoor arena .

Most of the ride was in the canter. Belinda did some half pass in canter the width of the arena. I thought it looked good but when she finished she told me she wanted him to be softer his neck. She was going to try some more half pass work. Below is the half pass Belinda felt needed improvement

In next half pass, to the right, Belinda was very happy. She said he had softened nicely. Then she demonstrated riding with one hand. The rider does not need the reins or the bit . The horse is truly in what we call “self carriage”. Here is the half pass she said could be ridden one handed.

Then they turned down the centerline, came to a perfect halt, and gave me a salute!

It was a pleasure for me to see my horse respond so well to everything he was asked to do. Belinda gave him a stretching trot at the end of the ride, then a pat and loose reins.

So what did I learn by watching?

  • Less is more. Once Biasini is fired up and sensitive he only needs the lightest of aids.
  • Sometimes all I need to do is to “think” it and Biasini will do it.
  • Give breaks. A walk break and a “good boy” pat is the reward for something well done with a good effort.

I am looking forward to getting back on myself and putting all this into practice. Just as an aside, I had Biasini decked out in his Equestrian Stockholm “Parisian Blue” polo wraps and saddle pad. I have not been paid or compensated for mentioning this. 😀

30 Comments Add yours

  1. Maria says:

    Your horse is certainly doing great! I hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Maria!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope your back will be feeling better soon, Anne.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Amy says:

    Hope you will feel better soon, Anne! Thank you for sharing what you have learn by watching. I try to do some thinking while taking a walk. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is interesting to think anytime. Thanks Amy

      Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    So horses really are mind readers!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think they are vastly better than humans at reading tiny signals in our bodies and position. They know better than we do what is going on in our bodies and therefore in our heads.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. rkrontheroad says:

    Hope you’re feeling better soon. Sometimes when you step back and observe, there are insights you didn’t expect!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! Thanks you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. David says:

    Anytime less can be done, it is a good ride. Trish would call Belinda and Lynsey instinctive riders, and they would call Trish a thinker. I like the clicks Belinda gives Biasini at the end of the first video. You can’t be a good rider without it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks David. Always like to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. cigarman501 says:

    Sometimes we overthink it! Hope your back mends soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lesley says:

    It must be lovely to get the opportunity to watch Biasini’s performance for a change and it’s a different kind of learning, but I hope you are well very soon, Anne.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Lesley.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. O.D. says:

    I pray you heal soon Anne, lovely pictures as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you O.D. I appreciate your comment very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. O.D. says:

        You’re very welcome Anne! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Diana says:

    I’m so sorry you are still out with your back and hope you heal fast. What a treat and so wonderful to have these riders on Biasini! How fun to watch both riders, one getting a lesson and that connection of “just thinking” and being one with the horse and the subtle cues they use just so very cool. It’s an honor to be able to follow and learn and see this through your blog!! Thank you Anne for sharing! 💖🐴

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Diana ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  11. cagedunn says:

    It’s a continuous learning trajectory, and so much fun to be part of such a team. To me, there is no surprise that it’s called equine ballet.
    I hope the back improves soon, but maybe it’s worth what’s being learned (sorry, I don’t mean the pain, just the instruction/demonstration).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I understand. It is worth a lot but at my age I don’t want to be off for too long or I will have a struggle to get back to the fitness level needed for this kind of training. Thanks for your comment Cage.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. J.W.S. says:

    Looking marvelous in blue.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Naomij says:

    I am sorry for your back and I think that it is wonderful that your horse is so amazing!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Tina Schell says:

    That was really an interesting read Anne. It is so far beyond me to imagine such skills, both for the horse and the rider. Good for you for being so observant and so willing and eager to learn. Biasini looks very handsome in his Parisian blues!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Tina. It is a rel treat to have these riders to watch and learn from.

      Liked by 1 person

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