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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So right now my daughter has two lessons a week on Moonshine. She did the dressage show a few weeks ago, and she had been doing nothing but practicing for that test for months.

When we first got Moonshine, we did a lot of work with ground poles and slightly raised poles, and that seemed like it was really good for her (she went from quite swaybacked to having a nice straight back, her trot got a lot more consistent, and she stopped being on her forehand so much). I'm thinking that with two lessons a week, I'd like for them to do poles and other conditioning work one day, and practice for the dressage test on the other day. Does that sound like a good idea? Or would you just practice for the test?

In case it makes a difference, this is not high-level dressage. They'd be doing intro level test B this time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That sounds like a great schedule. Horses get bored and they also benefit a lot from varied workouts. Pole work will improve her dressage as well.
OK great, that's what I was thinking as well. I will just need to work with her two instructors and make sure we're all on the same page.
 

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I even go over some ground poles or jump a small jump in the middle of a test. It’s great fun and keeps the horse engaged and not bored. I don’t compete so I don’t really see a reason to keep those two disciplines separate for a recreational horse. I’m not sure if the instructors would be ok with that though.
 

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Good idea.

There is a misconception that a dressage test forthcoming is the only thing to concentrate on - it is not!

Doing other activities help. The fact there is a line of poles just off the track means the rider can bring the horse on a corner prior to the track, turns and pace should be the same as riding practising for the test.

With more experience a rider could come round the short end of the arena and ride up the track and then leg yield to go over the poles. Multi functioning, the horse is still ridden collected and learns not to get excitable about poles and jumps.

One tip, NEVER keep riding the test through. It gets the horse anticipating which you do not want. (The exception being it isn't bad for them to slightly anticipate the halt at X)
 

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I came with basically the same advice as Foxhunter. Don't keep riding the test. That is a sure fired way to lower your score. Practice all the elements in different orders, using different tests, through in other things to break the monotony and slide the actual test in a few times to make sure your daughter knows it. Once she does then only practice it enough to keep it in her memory banks. The instructor here basically calls tests at random for the riders to practice. The horses then can't anticipate. She also does exercises that help keep the horse focused on relying on the rider for cues to the next move.
 

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I'd personally split the time half and half, every lesson. Doing JUST pole work or JUST drilling a dressage test sounds both difficult and boring for the horse. Easier on her to change it up half way through!

On thing you can do to shake things up, with the test is to ride it mirrored -- going left every time you would go right, etc. Or do everything in reverse order. Gets you practicing all the movement, but without creating anticipation. Plus you really REALLY need to know the text to be able to flip it!
 
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