Chinga and I are going to our first Dressage Comp on the 21st of Febuary, and we will be competing in Unoffical 12 and Under (as I'm not 13 till March!). We will be doing Walk Trot A (Page 3) and Walk Trot C (Page 5) http://www.pcaq.asn.au/Rule%20Books/...Jan%202005.pdf
So anyway, I have a few questions. Anyone remeber how many questions I had for my Sporting Comp? So here goes, and there WILL be more questions to come.
1. Preparing - Riding, How do I prepare him/me for the tests? While I don't like to hammer a horse by riding the test a million times, I do school it thoroughly. You don't get points off for a horse "knowing the test". You get points off for the horse anticipating the transitions. I will ride the test as mirror images. I will track right one time and do the same test tracking left and ride it as a mirror image.
2. Remembering - How do you guys remember the tests? Any tips/suggestions please! As others have said, you can practice the test off the horse too. I have a dry erase board with a dressage ring drawn on with a sharpie. That will make the ring permanent. I will trace the test in dry erase markers again and again. You can have someone call the test as you are riding. Be sure to use someone who knows how to call a test. A bad caller can really mess you up. I have ridden seven different tests in a show and I don't use a caller. You can learn to remember them with practice
3. Warm up - Similar to my question from the Sporting Night, What should I do with him for the Warm Up and what are the warm up ring rules? I start warming up long and low, working on both rider and horse relaxing. Then, as I start reeling him in, I do a lot of flex in/ flex out exercises on a circle. Remember to practice walk transitions (medium/free/medium). These are some of your most important movements in a test. Warm up ring etiquette is to stay as much out of the path of other horses as possible. Carve a circle for yourself and try to ride in a predictable way.
4. Horse Appearnce - Grooming/Washing/Braiding what routine should I use the day, week, month before? Even schooling shows require immaculate grooming. It shows respect for the judge, at the very least. I say braid, even if not required. It gives you practice at the very least. If you ride early, braid the night before and keep your fingers crossed that they are still there the next morning. Some shows say NO to braiding. Then, just brush till the shine blinds the judge.
5. Square Halt - How important is it, and how can I get it first go (Its only unoffical P.C) Two movements that are so neglected at home are some of the most important in a test. Walk and halt.
Halt. This is one of the more FORWARD transitions you make. You will need to keep your leg ON and ride the horse very forward, into the bridle, to get a square halt. It takes more leg to get a good halt than to get a lengthening.
Walk. The most neglected gait in most people's training AND the most important gait in the test. It has a X2 score. A bad walk/jig is bad times two! All your walk work should include transitions from medium walk to free walk back to medium. Train them not to anticipate the trot transition that they know is coming.
In walk trot tests, they will not expect a square halt, but it is nice to give them one, anyway
6. Braiding - If any what type to go for? I would do button braids with rubber bands or yarn. Sewn in hunter braids are not the norm. Braid them flat to the neck and tight. Put a band on the bottom. Then, fold them up twice and put a band around the braid again. At shows I will use yarn instead of bands. Check this demo out and try practicing now. YouTube - Button Braiding
7. Trot - Sitting or Rising is my choice, what to go for? In a walk trot test use rising trot. You can use the rising rhythm to establish a rhythm for your horse. The biggest hint is to make yourself relax.
8. Tall Boots, or regular boots? I've got a pair of brand new show tall boots (Actually they are wrapped up under the Christmas tree). My normal boots are a bit, paddock conditioned Most of the junior riders here use tall boots. Ask around and find out what is normal in your area.
Well that's it for now!