First Dressage Rally : Lots of Questions.
I'm really hoping that I put this in the right place. Anyways. So I've finally decided that I'm going to compete in a rally for Pony Club. I've only done one rally before and it was an everything but the horse rally two years ago when I just started. I happened to have picked the regional qualifying rally. 28 teams last year- great. I have never competed in dressage so I have a few questions:
1. There is a rule in the rally packet that states that in FEI tests training through fourth level spurs are required except in junior and pony divisions. I'm going to be performing intro level tests ( I can ride training level but this is my horses 1st competition.) Does the spur rule still apply because I'd rather not use them?
2. USPC specific. For turnout I was told that I could wear khaki breeches and a polo (I'm a D-3) . I really don't want to buy a coat but am wondering - will it really be out of place? Then again I'm going to be riding in a black jumping saddle so maybe not?
3. Polo wraps and bell boots? I think I read in our manual that leg protection isn't allowed for dressage.
4.Tips for practicing and memorizing tests?
I really don't know what I'm doing so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Good luck at your rally!
The pony club rules are probably a little different from regular dressage, and we're in different countries, so take this with a big grain of salt as I am speculating:
1. The tests at training through fourth level are national level tests, FEI tests are international tests and a whole different group of tests, just for your own information :D . If your rule packet says that spurs are required then wear them. If you are doing into but they are only required for training through fourth, that to me means you don't need to wear them. That just seems really weird to me that they would be required. In Canada, spurs are optional at all levels so I don't understand why they would be required at a PC comp. But if those are the rules, those are the rules. Get really short blunt ones if you must wear them but don't want to/aren't comfortable with them.
2. I wouldn't wear a coat if it were optional! If it's option it is up to you, if you feel the need to wear one then buy one. You can usually find cheaper ones or even used coats fairly easily. At that level I would guess that many kids won't have them if they are optional.
3. We aren't allowed polo wraps and bell boots in the competition ring here in Canada. Your rules are probably the same if you recall reading that they aren't allowed.
4. I find I can retain my tests easily by just reading and riding them. Set out a little arena and practice the moves on foot - do the pattern at "walk, trot, canter" on foot. You'll look ridiculous but it works! I've also drawn them out on paper. I know of some people that read their tests out loud, record them and then listen to them over and over again.
Are you working with a coach? If you are, they should be familiar with the rules and be able to clarify some of the areas you aren't sure of. Read through the rules for the rally and any rulebooks you have. Get familiarized with them! The more you know, the better. At the show, if you run into issues and have questions on rules go ask your steward or whoever stands in as your ringkeeper-type person at the shows (I'm not sure what PC uses: actual stewards or PC volunteers etc)
I'm sorry if this was just more confusing...those are just my thoughts and it's been a long time since I was in pony club!
The only spur rule I've heard regarding compulsary wearing of spurs, is when using a double bridle spurs must be worn. In the FEI tests and from advanced (4th level US??), at least in Australia, you must compete in a double bridle, thus spurs must be worn.
For a low level PC test, I highly doubt you will be made to wear spurs.
Again if this show is run through a PC, check with you PC regarding dress standards. As a kid doing PC we were always asked to wear PC uniform, not official 'traditional' attire.
No leg protection is allowed in the arena. I believe that is a worldwide ruling. Boots can hide injuries and other issues with the legs.
You can warmup in boots, but take them off before gear checking and entering the ring.
I find it quite easy to memorise tests, I read through the first few movements, close my eyes and 'ride' that section in my head. Then read through the next few movements, and gradually put the whole thing together.
Picture yourself riding the test perfectly in your head. I initially just remember the pattern, then go through and think about where I'm going to half halt, ride a little bit of shoulder fore in preparation for a movement, test that I've got a go and stop button (short side is great for this - so many people waste a short side. They come fanging around the first corner, get to the second corner and go "OH NO!! Now I have to ride a half pass, and my horse is on its front legs! Panic stations!".
Ride half halts through your first corner, come around onto the short side and see if you can bring the trot back a bit, then forward, then back, then more half halts into the second corner ready for the next movement. You very rarely get judged on the short side except for the occasional halt/rein back/1/2 turn on haunches etc.)
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