HorseAddict: Extreme Dressage

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 11:59
Training Your Horse
Anne Leueen and Biasini, always looking to learn

The term “extreme sports” usually denotes high risk with the athlete risking injury and possible death. Things like running a marathon across the Gobi Desert or in equestrian sport the higher levels of cross country in eventing.

So when my coach told me on Friday we would be having an “extreme lesson” I liked the idea at once but knew there would be no high risk involved. So what did Belinda mean?

We started with canter work. My coach wanted the working canter to go from the working canter at 12 miles per hour to and extended canter of 16 miles per hour and I was to accomplish this in ONE stride. And while doing it I was not to loose the frame. Biasini had to remain rounded in the neck, head at the vertical , shoulders up, hind end sitting and activity in the hind legs. I tried a few times and was not successful enough to get an A grade from Belinda. Not extreme enough. Then she asked for 16 mph and in one stride walk! OK! I had to calculate exactly how much leg I needed and how much half halt. What balance did I need between the two? If I could not bring him back to a walk from the 16 canter, boom, just like that then it as an indicator that he was too long. Keep him short and together and then ….there was the walk! I have fixed the video audio and I hope this time it will work.

What were my biggest take aways from this “extreme lesson”?

  1. In the very collected canter I need to be light and fluffy with my fingers.
  2. Bending in the corner. Never forget the bending. Bending is the key to suppleness.
  3. If I touch the rein, just a touch , what reaction do I get and is it enough ?

I really enjoyed my “extreme lesson”. I also give Biasini a lot of credit. Once he understood what was wanted he worked hard to do his best and give me what I was asking for.

You will be pleased to know that the next day Biasini and I went out for a long trail ride in the forest and now he has the weekend off!

by Anne Leueen

Based in Ontario, Canada, Leueen calls herself a "vintage" dressage rider. Initially she rode in the jumper and eventing world, but stopped while at university. She did not ride for thirty years, other than occasional trail riding, when she was living in England  and took up dressage at age 50. Anne is coached by Belinda Trussell and her current equine partner is Biasini, a Hanoverian gelding who is a dressage expert and often wonders why Anne doesn’t just let him make all the decisions about what to do and where to go.

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