First EVER Dressage test! Critique? :)

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First EVER Dressage test! Critique? :)

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    02-27-2011, 03:27 AM
First EVER Dressage test! Critique? :)

Hi guys!

It's been aaaaggges since I've last posted on here, just gotten back into serious horse riding following a bad knee injury/surgery/recovery blah blah blah.
So this is my first attempt at a dressage test - non official, hence the t-shirt, but joining up for membership at the equestrian centre next week and will be going to regular rally days from now on!

Anyways, how am I doing following such a long break from the saddle? The horse I'm riding is named Rhubarb, my lease horse.
Critique her, me, anything you wish, but be nice, as it's been a while haha.

P.S. Ignore the stupid little head throw of hers at the end, she decided she'd be a troll just at the end.

P.P.S. And yes, I like to pull faces when I ride, LOL.
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    02-27-2011, 03:43 AM

Thank you for sharingthat video. For a first ever dressage test, I thought you did splendidly. And it was very wet then, so mare wasn't enjoying kicking wet sand up under her belly in those canters. She looked like she was sucking back a bit there.
You are a hunter rider, no? This is very evident in the way you look for your next fence, that isn't there. You are turning your head much more than necessary. Better to just kind of look about to the inside ear angle. Stay more with you horse and help her stay up and not fall in on inside shoulder when turning. (not that she was really doing that). Just looks better and keeps you more with your horse, here and now . Since you want to ride her every step, don't get thinking quite that far ahead.
That being said, you do want to prepare her. YOu turn onto the centerline strayed wide because you didn't prepare her enough for the 10 M half circle that is that turn.
Also, in Canter depart , try not to lean forward so much. Think more of gathering you horse UP , together and then , step forward into the canter from behind. This is a goal for the future, but for your first test, I think you did tremedously well! I like your mare and you two go very well together.
    02-27-2011, 04:24 AM
Hi tinyliny!

Thanks for that, very constructive!
Yes, I am originally a hunter rider. Lol. Stuck out like a sore thumb, didn't I? Haha

Yeah, I knew I overshot the CL, kicked myself for it later, and also was late coming out of canter after my first circle, (you can see my face! Haha). Didn't ride her forward enough through the trot, so it made it very hard to get her going through the canter transition.
Didn't help that there's nothing Rhubarb hates more than getting wet! She tip toes through puddles back home, and pulls all sorts of amusing faces. Working on getting her moving forward through them back home, but she just enjoys being a troll too much!

I had a second test following this, which I didn't film sadly (my girlfriend was doing her own test in the next arena), which I scored much better at. I rode her more forward through her trot circles so that when it came to her canter trans, I didn't end up leaning forward so much to get her going (it's a bad habit of mine, aagh!). I mentally have to tell myself to sit up staight and shoulders back, or I curl in on myself. :(

I was proud of myself with my hands and arms through! :) Usually I've got a bad habit or straightening my elbows and locking them, cause she likes to lean on the reins when she gets tired.

Also on my comments, she got distracted through her free walk. You couldn't hear it, but her paddock buddy, Morgan was in the next arena, and she was nickering to him, and then when we left the arena, Morgan was on his way out and she let out this HUGE neigh that made evewryone turn around! Aah! Embarrassing!
    02-27-2011, 06:20 AM
Any more? I'd love any feedback you guys can give me!
    02-27-2011, 10:12 AM
As tiny stated not a bad test for a first one.

You need to try to be more accurate. Not only on the overshot turn down center line at the end but throughout. Remember that your horse's shoulder should pass the letter before you do the next thing and you missed this on your diagonal changes. Try to be a little closer to the arena fencing as this will help with those diagonals.

On the horse the speed is fine but the horse was not all that relaxed but being a first test that is understandable. Hopefully on future tests your horse will be a little more round and accepting of the bit.

What were your scores btw?
    02-27-2011, 10:40 AM
Really good test for your first one! The only thing I would say ( I hope this hasn't already been mentioned) is you need to give your horse a little more heads up before transitions and sharp turns. One of the big things alot of beginners do it to think only about what is currently happening, but really you should be thinking one step ahead. Some of your transitions were late, I think the trot at A was early but I've ridden hot horses that despise med walk so I'm not going to say anything about that. Just use your body to let your horse know when something is coming, close your legs 4 strides before trot/ walk or canter/ trot transition points and get good flexion before trot canter transitions so it runs smoothly! Only other thing is some of the canters looked really slow... It may just be how your horse canters but it even looked like a 4 beat at one point! But overall I think y'all did awesome ESP with the conditions to think about! I think y'all have a good future, y'all just look good together! Also there's probably a hundred gramatical errors inthis post, sorry about that I'm on my phone :)
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    02-27-2011, 05:12 PM
You've got some really good advice here that specifically relates to the dressage test, I cannot do that because I'm not the expert on that. I will say a few things about the ride, though.

First of all, your horse does look a bit tense/annoyed, although you overall seem to be a great pair...tinyliny is probably onto something with the sand kicking up, she always notices such details like that! Nevertheless, that is something to keep in mind as a goal is to have a smoother ride, more relaxed and effortless in appearance.

As for you, some things to work on: 1. Your posting trot...It's not bad by any means, but for some reason it's looking a bit forced to me. Try to keep the motion smooth. Your legs look good, but maybe they are a bit forward making that motion difficult? They are not in a chair seat from what I can see, but at some times it looks like they could be forward enough to hinder your posting...I'm just hazarding a guess on this one, I really can't quite tell where they are. Remember that your heel should be lined up with your hip. If it's really feeling impossible to do that you may have to lengthen your stirrup a hole to get your leg there.
2. The canter is also good. I don't see you slamming or bouncing on the saddle...I do see however that you are pitching forward, giving almost a "pumping" forward motion. Try to keep yourself more upright and deep in your seat at the canter.

Overall, great work! I have a hard time with my hands as well, I tend to lock my elbows out and am working on this did a great job in the video of not doing that! You're a very balanced, relaxed looking rider...wonderful for your first time I'd say! Keep up the good work!
    02-27-2011, 05:40 PM
Amlalriiee, (thanks for vote of confidence above)
I am glad you mentioned that about the posting and cantering looking somehow a bit forced. I had the same impression the first time I watched the video.

The posting looking forced I THINK was due to the horse not giving good forward, and I THINK that is due to it not liking the rain/water/sand being kicked up. I have been there and remember how it felt like I was trying to force my horse to trot through honey!
And, the canter , just as you said, had a bit of "pumping". This comes a bit with her hunter background and her trying to get more forward out of the horse.
YOu were spot on there.

We all agree that this is a good rider with a ton of potential and a cute horse. If she has interest in furthering dressage, she may get a nice dressage saddle, which will be so helpful in position issues. As for rain puddles, well we have rain something like 300 days a year here, so it's a way of life for us.
At least she is in sunny OZ.
    02-27-2011, 05:46 PM
Spyder: Thanks for that! Yeah, both myself and Rhubarb are very new to official dressage, so accuracy is something we both need to work on. She's a veteran at pony club and mounted games, but dressage and collection is something we both need to concentrate on. :)
Thanks for the feedback, always helpful!

Sullylvr: haha it was POURING by the time we got to ride! The poor girl before us had to redo her test 4 times, so I was left out in the warm up area for fifteen minutes extra. We were rather wet and miserable by our test!

Amlalriiee: definitely. Good eyes on the posting trot thing, if you look closely, my left leg moves a bit more than my right when I post. That's the leg I had my surgery on, and the muscles are still flabby and unfit haha, haven't got the strength to keep it there yet. But the other one is really still.
My 'pumping' action is definitely due to me leaning forward when I ride, biggest problem I have when I canter. Also, the saddle was soooo wet, I was sliding forward with every step, haha!

Thanks guys, not a bad comeback to dressage! Excited on getting better!

EDIT: Thanks tinyliny! That makes me feel so much better! I was terrified that I'd get out there and all the veteran dressage nuts would laugh at me. :) Cheers for the feedback! And yes, this has been our wettest summer EVER here in Oz, yesterday was perfect conditions, and an hour after we left, the sun came out! Aah!
    02-27-2011, 07:26 PM
Ahah! I did wonder if the horse's motion was a part of the posting thing as well...

This has been a good critique DarkEquine, you've got good positive feedback, as well as suggestions on what to improve on :) It takes courage to put videos out here! I was terrified of what comments I would get when I posted mine. Haha

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