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equiniphile 11-14-2013 10:45 PM

Acceptable to use a Caller for First Level?
I had a lesson with a PSG rider last weekend on Estrella, and she recommended that we do two First level tests for her first dressage show in December. Now, I've ridden tests on my eventer through eventing Training level, and they don't come close to the complexity of the first level tests I'm studying. Though I will obviously do my best to know the tests as well as I should, would it be frowned upon to use a Caller for first level tests? I have clinicked with the judge before (she's very active in USPC), so I could ask her, but I'm looking for your opinions. Yay or nay for a caller?
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~*~anebel~*~ 11-15-2013 01:04 AM

Use a caller, but know your tests. At championships you can't have a caller - so think of memorizing your tests and only having a caller as backup.
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Candie 11-15-2013 02:40 AM

The one time I did use a caller, It thru me totally off of my timing! Maybe just me but found memorizing the test day in and day out worked the best. Good luck!

Weezilla 11-15-2013 10:43 AM

I had the same experience as Candie. My advice is to memorize your tests, and if you use a caller, make sure they know how and when to call the tests - practice with them until you are happy with their timing. Its disconcerting when the caller gives directives too late or early. My first experience with a caller was at my first show with my 2nd horse, and her timing seemed way off. It seriously messed me up (my fault for not practicing this) and I never used one again.

It is legal, so no worries there.

Chevaux 11-15-2013 11:00 AM

I actually never used a caller when I rode tests but I'm somewhat hard of hearing and the effort it would take for my pea sized brain to concentrate on the caller's voice would have left me with little for actually navigating through the test. I've seen riders who don't use a caller for a test they know well but will turn around and ride the next test with a caller as they're unsure of that test. But you know yourself best - perhaps a caller the first time to see if it works for you and then go from there???

Best of the luck with your tests.

tlkng1 11-15-2013 11:20 AM

I have ever used a caller, just a personal thing to memorize the test, but, as with what others have said, using a caller is perfectly legal at First Level but a few a scribe I have heard several readers and they are not all the same. Some read way too far ahead..they read a good two or three movements ahead of where the rider is currently in the test and at least for me, my concentration would never remember what was read that far ahead. I saw several riders go off test even with a reader specifically for that reason. At the same time, other readers are so slow they are essentially "with" the rider step by step to the next doesn't give the rider a chance to prepare.

As the occasional reader, I watch the test and read off the next movement roughly halfway through the current movement, and if it is a block with a lot of verbiage I may break it up into two separate movements in the read. As said, it is in the timing and what you feel (think of how nervous you think you are going to get) you can remember depending on how far ahead the reader goes.

My recommendation is to memorize your test, practice it; it actually doesn't take all that long..practice it in sections if don't need to memorize the entire test at once the first time you ride it. I have blown up versions of my tests that I tape to the arena wall at eye level (mounted eye level) so I can refer back to it if need be. While warming up your horse at the walk, walk the entire test and I do this whenever learning a new test; you can verbalize the gait..trot here, canter here etc.

verona1016 11-15-2013 01:07 PM

I do usually use a reader if someone is around to do it for me. It's not a replacement for actually knowing the test (I tend to be so focused on what I'm doing that I often miss what the reader just said anyway) but it's nice to have as a backup. As long as they're allowing readers, it's definitely acceptable.

equiniphile 11-15-2013 07:03 PM

Thanks for the advice! Will definitely practice with my caller beforehand.
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Chiquita 11-16-2013 04:06 PM

having a caller at first level is perfectly fine but make sure you know your tests and aren't relying solely one the reader. memorizing is what you want but you can have a reader just to reinforce.

existentialpony 11-18-2013 11:06 PM

Once at a rated show (long story short), I added a test last-minute and the show secretary offered to call for me on the spot. I found a caller incredibly wonderful for my riding as it allowed me to put all of my effort into the present moment, and just as I needed to prepare for the next movement, she'd announce and I'd re-focus. It was our best score of the whole show (and the highest we tested there)!

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