Originally Posted by Hoofprints in the Sand
And it appears that there are only 5 others in my class (Intro Rider)...so does that mean everyone is pretty much guaranteed a ribbon of some color?
Actually not always. Depends on the show. There are ways of not getting a ribbon even with 2 horses in the class.
I was waiting for someone to cover one of the most important things and it seems to have been missed.
At this level the judge has very little to judge on (as opposed to multiple movements) so two things are of great importance.
First BE ACCURATE. Accuracy means you ride letter to letter and the letter STARTS when the horse's shoulder passes through the designated letter. So riding a diagonal where the horse haunch or tail passes the opposite letter is an inaccurate test.
Second ride forward first then worry if the head is in a decent position second (as long as the head is not stuck in the air and back hollowed) and you will be fine.