Sam from Lofthouse Equestrian gives us her top tips to help you get competition ready for the dressage ring.
- Learn your test: I still learn my test even if I have a reader! It makes me feel less panicked and more prepared. Sometimes even your reader can go wrong!
- Try to relax: I know. This isn't as easy to do but your horse can sense the tension and that does not make for a nice test! Take a big deep breath before you go down the centre line and mentally give yourself a pep talk! You've got this! You have, honestly!
- Ride the line: Pick a point and ride to it! No one said dressage was easy, but it's even more difficult if you're not riding positively forward. Pick your line and ride on it!
- Preparation is key: It's too late one you've got to the marker to just expect all will be OK. Prepare for the movement, have you got enough bend? Are the steps active enough? Is your horse listening? Are you sat up straight? Ask yourself questions as you're riding, it will make you really think about each and every movement.
- Give yourself more time: When you look at a test, read it carefully. Does it ask you to show medium trot from H to K or does it just ask for 'some strides'? Remember some transitions can be progressive, so give yourself time to think about them and act, there is no rush! Fluent tests gain bigger marks!
- Don't forget the free walk is still a movement: Plus it's often a double mark! Remember don't just sit there you need to ride for the big walk, then comes the big marks!
- Practice makes perfect: Try not to get stuck riding the same way at home. Mix it up. If you know what tests are coming up, practice the movements. The test itself might not seem as frantic if you practice stringing different movements together at home.
Lofthouse Equestrian is an equestrian and countrywear boutique with hand selected products and sponsors of the Preliminary class in November's British Dressage Online Championship Show.
This blog was originally published on the Lofthouse Equestrian website.