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. 😀