“One millimeter more bend. Keep the activity! And the bend! ” These are the words of my coach Belinda Trussell during my lesson on Thursday this past week. One more millimeter? Not too much, not too little, just the perfect amount of bend. Just like Goldilocks’ porridge the bend has to be just right. It was my first lesson back since I injured my lower back. It went well and I suffered no ill effects. But I did feel a bit like I had lost some of my effectiveness. What did we work on? Transitions.
- Canter walk -Walk canter.
- The depart from walk to canter had to be electric and immediate on the lightest of aids. If it was not then I had to give a swift kick! Then repeat and see if Biasini had learned how the depart had to be performed.
- Then in the canter come back from 7 mph to 6pmh, all the while maintaining the bend, the roundness of the neck, the poll the highest point and the lightness in the rein contact . If I felt all that was secure transition to walk.
- In that transition to walk I must keep his frame the same . No dipping down or pulling on either rein. The walk must be active and ready to depart to canter.
- Trot -walk-walk-trot.
- The walk must be active and the contact light and balanced, no pulling or diving down. The bend must be consistent. If it was not enough I must find just another millimeter of bend! Not more, not less.
- The transition to trot must be seamless, no loss of frame . I must keep the trot active while asking for more bend or more roundness.
- The transition back to walk must also be seamless. The bend and the frame must remain the same. No loss of activity!
- I had not forgotten how important the details were in lessons with Belinda but it was a step up again after three weeks of only riding Biasini for walking hacks or a 10 minute warm up before Belinda got on . Here is a video of Biasini and me going to the right in walk, trot transitions . I noticed something interesting in the downward transitions . The first clue that he was going to drop his back and loose the frame would come from him taking hold of the right rein. This was different than when we were going to the left. To the left the first thing I would feel was his back hollow out below my seat when I asked him to come back to walk.
Never a dull moment in dressage lessons with Belinda! Always something new to learn and work on!