Competing can be a very rewarding experience. There is the excitement of the preparation and arrival at the venue, the competition itself where you get a measure of all your hard work, the feedback for your future schooling sessions and hopefully a rosette or two if it’s been a good outing! It is very addictive and you can easily start to move up the levels and enter teams as you improve. Here are some ideas and tips for you if you are just starting out:
- Online Dressage with Daniel Timson
If you are completely new to dressage, or can’t get to a venue, this is an excellent way to start. All you need is as arena or field that is marked out, a friend with a phone that can video your test. It’s a great way to get the feedback you need from riding a test, so you know what scores you are likely to get when you do go to a venue. Remember of course, you can keep videoing your test as often as you want, until you are happy with final ‘take’ before submitting it! At Daniel Timson we can give you all the help and advice you need.
- Be working at home at a slightly higher level than the classes you enter.
You will feel far more confident if you are ready for the level above. However, when you are starting out, if you can get your horse to walk, trot a circle and get down that centre line to halt, then you are ready for an Intro test! At the moment, there are 3 BD Intro tests that are nice and straightforward. If you struggle with any of the movements or need extra help feeling calm and focused at a competition. Here you will find CDs and downloads specifically for Schooling and for the Dressage competitor.
- Tips on learning your dressage test.
You usually have a few weeks to memorise the test(s), so you do have lots of time to prepare. There are many of ways to remember your test:
Every night before you go to bed, go through the test as you go to sleep. It’s amazing how much you do take in and remember if you do this regularly.
‘Ride’ it in your living room or down at the yard.
Draw it out on paper. ‘Visual’ people love this!
Watch a YouTube video of it. Do make sure you get the right test though…
Sit down in a quite spot and ‘see’ yourself in your mind riding the test (as if you were on your horse).
Actually ride sections of it on your horse, but don’t do the whole test so your horse learns it too and starts to predict the movement.
Ride the whole test a few times on another horse. I used to ride Pedro’s tests on Hettie (who was working at a higher level) and Hettie’s tests on Pedro (minus the fancy bits!). It just gave me a sense of what movement followed on when and what direction I was supposed to be going.
You want to be able to ride the test to the best of your ability and remain focused on getting the best transition at a marker. Practising in your mind will help you do this. If you know your test, that is one less thing to think about.