Monday, July 7, 2008

Surviving your first dressage test: Part 3

Here is Part 3 of my series "Surviving your first dressage test". You can read the other parts so far here:

Part 3: Final Preparations

A few days before the show, try to ride through your tests for an audience. Ideally ask your regular instructor to watch, but otherwise find another "pro" or a friend to watch. I've seen it suggested that you shouldn't ride your test too many times, or your horse will anticipate movements. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not, but I do believe doing a few run-throughs with an audience will help more than hurt. After that, try practicing the specific movements that need the most improvement. Ask your audience if they can see the improvement.

Now is also a good time to assess you and your horse's warm-up routine.
Does your horse warm-up best with lots of walk work or some trot?
For how many minutes?
Does stretching help her?
Do you like to lunge before riding? Make sure to check the show's lunging and warm-up rules.

Finalize plans for trailering and stabling now. If you'll be using a pro trailer service, make sure pick-up and drop-off times are all set. If you'll be trailering with a friend or instructor, it's common practice for them to request gas money. If they don't ask, I always offer anyway. It's surprisingly expensive to drag a loaded trailer and it's cheaper to contribute to a friend's gas than it is to use a pro service. Plus your friend will be happy to bring you along in the future!

Are you trailering yourself? Are your truck and trailer all ready? Check out this guide

See my previous post on packing.

...Read part 4

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