For some riders learning a dressage test comes naturally, they can read it once, remember it and go and ride a perfect test. However, I do not think that I have met a rider that can truthfully say – they have NEVER gone wrong in a dressage test.
So here The Horse Exchange – THEx team have put together some top tips in how to remember your test on competition days.
Prepare in advance – start learning the test a couple of weeks before the competition to ensure that you are not stressed about where you are going, or what you are doing on the actual competition day.
Ride the test in your mind – picture yourself riding through the prefect test in your mind. Go through each movement. If you are familiar with the competition venue, picture the arena, where the markers are, and where the judge will be watching.
Have a flatwork lesson – your trainer will be able to help you prepare for the competition and work on movements that you and your horse need to practice. Breakdown the movements that are in your test to help you learn the test and ensure you know how to ride each movement. For example, if you have an extended canter down the long side of the arena and you know that your horse takes a few strides to get back into a collected canter you can plan to ask for the transition to collection early to ensure you are in a collected canter by the exact marker.
Plan your warm up – with your trainers help, plan weather your horse needs 5 minutes to warm up or 45 minutes to warm up. Create a routine that works exactly for you and your horse from the amount of time walking, stretching and going through the movements.
On the day – Allow yourself plenty of time before your test. Before you get on your horse, go to the competition arena and watch a few tests. Take note of where you enter the arena and plan weather you are entering on the right rein or the left rein. Familiarise yourself with the warm up arena and check the running order.
Ride forwards and smile – ride forwards straight down the centre line for a bold confident entry. Be as accurate as possible, smile, relax and enjoy the test. Good luck!