It can be easy to up your marks in dressage by doing a few straightforward things.
For example, in Prelim 19 each mark is worth 0.34% so just adding half a mark for the test movements could shift you from 61% to a super-looking 67%. Simply riding
round circles in the right place with an even rhythm could add between 2.5 and 5 marks (or 1-2%). In elementary 59 we are still looking at about 0.3% so an extra half mark on even only half the movements and the collectives will bring you an added 2%. (Doesn’t sound much but compare how pleased you be with 66% over 63.9 or 64%.
We all know that things are usually easier in practice but a trip inside the white boards can change all that in an instant. Suddenly everything has to happen at a marker (unlike the warm-up); there are flower pots in odd places (or so your horse thinks); the judge’s car has the windscreen wipers going; there might be a banner that could flap at the edge of the arena.
You know only too well that the instant you feel any nerves your horse is going to pick up on it and think ‘ uh oh, my rider is worried about something. There must be something I need be looking out for….what is it?…Is this a dangerous place?’
And then you, the rider, think ‘uh oh, horse is upset about something. Wonder what he’s seen?… Is he going to spook?’
This is when getting the basic things right in the test can help because you can automatically ride a round circle, you know how far ahead of E you need to start preparing for a transition, you know that you can focus on keeping the right rhythm.
Our test riding sessions help to identify the
things that you can do well to gain extra marks, so you can go into the arena with something positive to work on. We’ll look at what the judge is seeing that can make a 6 into a 7 or a 7 into an 8. We can look at why centrelines are so important and why the underlying training is so crucial to get a good ‘way of going’.
I don’t have stats for it, but the most likely place that you’ll get a 10 is probably your halt. How can you do that? How do we decide on that all important doubled mark for a free or extended walk?
This Spring I’m running Zoom chat sessions as well as test-riding in both long and short arenas so why not come and see for yourself where all those dressage marks are currently hiding?