02-13-2010, 11:54 PM
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I tell all my students to make a good first impression with the judges. Too often I see riders with an expression of fear and worry all over their face. It tells the judge that you may not be having much fun.
My students practice working the ring with a relaxed smile (not a grimace) on their face. They practice entering the ring correctly, look right at the judges face as you go down the center line (looking at the letters with your peripheral vision to see when to halt). As you look at the judge, have a pleasant smile on your face. Even if the halt goes poorly, practice not looking stressed. As you practice this, you will absorb some of this relaxation into your riding. I call this tactical riding.
One of the first thing a judge sees is the riders "attitude". It can't help be make an impression.
Immaculate grooming, gleaming tack, neat tidy appearance is important, even in a schooling show. My students braid at schooling shows. If nothing else, it is good practice.