I would like it a lot if you could give me some critique on my dressage test. I had a good feeling about it in general, but the judge apparently didn't. I placed 16th (of 21), while usually I place about 4th to 8th. But I don't ask critique because I want to blame the judge :P , but to get some advice on things I could do better. If I had placed 1st, I would still post this thread:).
I know this is far from perfect, but we're just at the most beginning level and for what we're used to, I think it was quite good.
My own remarks:
- my hands are still quite low
- I have to stop pulling my heels up (especially while walking)
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I can't really critique because you're a far better rider than me, but I think you did great! beautiful horse as well.
The video does not play very well for me - it is very jerky and looks almost as though it's in fast forward!
They didn't make it easy for you though - no chains/poles/fence to line the arena?????? That makes it very difficult!! - You can see that everyone has problems with straightness, the lines worn into the grass are very curvey ;)
Keeping your hands low is good at this point in your rising is good, you want to feel the wither and base of the neck, to follow the topline with your elbows. Keeping the hands to high will often result in a broken contact if your seat is not 110% perfect.
What I can see, and I think I'm accurate in this, not just the shakey video - but it looks as though your elbows are locked. This will create a loop, then tension, then loop in the reins, which then encourage the horse to duck back behind the bit and come into a false frame. Imagine that you have weights tied to your elbows, they need to just 'drop' at your sides, try to stick them to the top of your hips. This will free the joint up, and allow the elbow to open and close with the movement of the topline.
Once you master this, you will find that you horse is more willing to come into your hand, and your scores will improve.
You did a very good job of riding this test, it was a pleasure to watch - very tidy and soft. I think maybe, without seeing the other competitors, they had their horses up and travelling a little more. Your horse goes very nicely, but is a little flat and 'nice'. If you can get him up and travelling, a bit more active and uphill, you will find that your scores will increase.
You have made an excellent start though and I hope your trainer is proud as they have done a good job!
Thanks, both of you!
We never have chains, poles or fences to line the arena, so I'm used to that.
The lines in the grass are indeed curvy, but that's partly because in the morning there were group dressage tests on the same location, but in a larger arena (20-60 m versus 20-40 m)
Thank you for the tips, I will try to work on my locked elbows and to ride more active and uphill (although I think I already rode her a little bit more uphill than I usually do :P )
in dressage placing is not as important as marks.
I've come 1st with a mark of just over 60% before and i've come last with a score over 65% depends on what the other people on the day are like.
We'd have a better idea of where you went wrong in the judges eyes if you put up your score sheet from the test.
rather than thinking about not pulling your heel up, i recon you should think about pushing our knees down as you look to be gripping with them slightl, push your knees down and your heel will automaticl drop
For most points I had a 7, and I had sixes for things I knew I didn't do very well: - stretching the neck (that's probably not how you say it in English, but it's what I'm trying to do between 2.12 and 2.30, but is never goes very well, I find it easier while trotting)
- the passing into the left galop (because she slipped a little and lifted her head)
- turning to the other hand (?) between E and F (I first thought I had to turn to B, so I turned too early).
And I had fives for
- turning to the other hand between E and B (I only noticed this now, but I didn't realise this was so bad, it was probably because she was shaking her head and I didn't pass to trot immediately at B)
- for the extended trot (?, really don't know the right word, but it's what I tried to do between 4.44 and 4.51, but she passed into gallop)
- for turning from A to C and stopping to greet (I walked crooked on the middle line)
I had a 180 point in total (every judge has his own way of giving points, there is no system, but usually 180 isn't bad, but not excellent either).
I am not familiar with that test. But in addition to the other comments, I thought your walk work was a bit "blurry". I mean, I wasn't sure if you were trying to do a free walk or a medium walk. The trot was great as was the canter. The walk needs work to get the horse to move forward freely and with elasiticity.
I indeed felt that the walking parts were not very good. I'm not sure what the Dutch equivalents are for free walk and medium walk, but I think it was supposed to be a medium walk.
Are your stirrups to short? I had my stirrups like that and today I had my instructor (well my instructors instructor who is am AMAZING dressage rider) tell me I rode like a jockey/jumper and I wonder if that gets points off.
IMO in the US that test would have earned you a very good placing. The scoring is consistent for what I was seeing.
Your hands are in a good place for the level you are at. Keep focusing on riding up to your hands and developing a stronger connection that your horse is able to do the test with less unsteadiness in the contact. S/he is quite unsteady in the neck and abrupt in the transitions. As the connection is better and you focus more on balance, these things will become steadier.
About the leg, keep focusing on pushing it down, and as you are able to do so, lower the stirrups but not in place of good balance.
In theory one could ride in a racing saddle with very short stirrups and still win a dressage class - there is no marking for the length of stirrups however if they are too long or too short it can affect your aids.
ETA in the future make sure your pockets are tucked in and your hair very neatly placed in a bun, or in your helmet, before entering the ring for a more professional appearance. Although judges should be impartial there is always something special about watching a carefully turned out horse and rider that can sway the judges towards a higher mark.
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