First Dressage test on Saturday!!
So yes, it's mine and Dougal's first ever ridden competition/dressage test on Saturday. Neither of us have done a ridden show [he's been to one show in his life, and that was an In-hand one i took him to in the Summer] or a dessage test in our life! Agh! I've done the test a couple of times with him, i think i have it pretty much memorized.
I would love a low down basically on what happens, what i have to do, all the rules, how not to forget the actual test and some tips for it. I'm really excited but also slightly terrified. :S So help is very much apprciated.
At shows you are given a ride time, you do NOT have to ride earlier than that time (which you could if someone scratches or classes run faster).
So look at your ride time and based on that back it up to determine what time you are getting on the horse (so you have plenty of warm up time), what time you'll start to prepare your horse, etc.
For example if your ride time is 8 am and it takes you a good 20 minutes to barely warm up, another 5 minutes to walk and relax, then another 15 minutes to get horse going well - you'll want to back up the time you get on the horse by 40 minutes (40 = 20 + 5 + 15) - so for an 8 am ride you should be mounting by 7:20 am.
Warm up somewhere quiet - spare ring,...somewhere you you can perform some of the same movements you'll be showing - open field for 20 meter circles, warm-up arena, etc.
Once the horse showing before you starts walking after their final halt you may enter the area roped off directly around the arena. That horse must exit the arena (and the area directly around it) before the judge will whistle for ring a bell indicating you should enter the ring (usually at a trot - but what gait you enter at is driven by the test you're riding).
You ALWAYS enter at "A", halt at the letter the test indicates (usually "X" which is the middle of the arena), SALUTE (both reins in 1 hand, other hand goes straight down riders leg (thigh) and rider looks down, then up, re-distribute reins to both hands (judge should have "bowed/nodded/waved" to you by then) then continue riding test.
At end of test halt where test indicates, salute once again, then exit arena on long rein.
Your first few times it's best to look where the letters are so you can make your "patterns" perfect - i.e. make your circles a circle not a square or rectangle, etc.
^agreed, but some tests don't have you saulte at the beginning.
Also, I always make sure my horse looks IMACULANT before entering the dressage ring. The judge likes to see efort put in ;).
My biggest tip is to stay calm. Don't let alot of people be around you before you get ready to start warming up. My trainer has a rule that the only time we talk to our parents in the warm up is for water. LOL! Just as long as you're calm, he will be calm. Good luck and gets lots of picys!
good luck !!
if youre worried about forgetting your test you can watch someone [make sure they are riding the same test as you !] a few rides ahead of you. also close your eyes & picture yourself riding it, OR pretend you are your horse & practice the test on foot OR draw the test in the dirt/sand/ground whatever =D
also no clucking during your test ! if you have to use your whip or cluck very quietly at A where you are farthest from the judge =]
remember to smile & thank the judge at the end of your test
but mostly HAVE FUN =D
Thanks for all the tips guys. The competition has been postponed. The outdoor arena is frozen solid [though the actual test takes place in an indoor], its too cold and there is a ridiculously thick fog. I was really looking forward to it, ina terrified kind of way.
I think the thing i am most worried about is forgetting the test under pressure or Dougal being an idiot. To be hoenst, i would prefer the latter, haha.
Well I guess you will have more time to practice.
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