Preparing for a dressage test can take up a lot of time, patience and when done right, is a lot of fun. In this blog we have put together all our tips to ensure your show runs as smoothly as possible.
The location of the show can sometimes make or break your test. Over facing yourself at a big show will cause unnecessary nerves and can negatively effect your performance.
It is important to start off somewhere quiet. Test yourself under pressure and see how you and your horse respond.
Do you thrive under pressure?
Is a smaller, quieter show where you perform your best?
Everybody reacts differently under pressure. It is important to work out whether pressure and intensity makes or breaks you and your horse. If nerves tend to take hold, start at small quieter shows and build your confidence together over time.
Just like humans, horses need time and practice. It would be unfair to expect any horse to come out on top form at their first show.
Choosing The Test…
Just like with the location do not over face yourself with the test. It is important to choose a test that pushes you and gives you things to work on. Training at prelim and entering a medium is never going to go well.
Laminated dressage tests with diagrams are a lot more practical than paper sheets and will last much longer. They make it a lot easier to see where you are going and for a reader to understand.
All British Dressage tests can be purchased on the British Dressage Website.
Learning The Test…
Memorising your dressage test can pull you out of sticky situations if you mis-hear the reader. Knowing your test ensures you are both prepared for the next movement giving you the best chance at succeeding whilst having something else to think about other than the audience around you.
We all have our favourite ways of learning. Some prefer to draw out the test, some visualise it, some ride it on foot and some watch it. Whatever your method ensure you start a few weeks earlier to give yourself enough time to be 100% competent with your moves. Knowing your test inside out with massively reduce any extra stress.
Practice, Practice, Practice…
When preparing for a dressage test it is advised not to ride through the full test all together too many times. Horses are clever animals and can begin to learn the test. This may sound like an amazing thing but they can start to predict the next movement taking their concentration of you and your aids.
Instead practice movements or chunks of the test. Even the simplest of movements can go to pot on the day so make sure you practice everything.
Learn your test inside out, this allows you to put all your focus on your horse and how to ride each movement than worrying about where to go next.
Practice makes perfect!
Prepare Your Attire…
Your test is booked, your practising nightly. Its time to ensure you look the part. Write a list of everything you need for the day making sure you take spares.
Baby wipes, a hair brush, extra hair net, hair grips/bobble, spare underwear, spare breeches, deodorant are all useful extras to take a long.
Riding Hat Baby Wipes
Hair Net x2 Hair Brush
Hair Bobble x2 Deodorant
Show Jacket Hair Grips
Show Shirt Dressage Tests
Stock & Pin Whip or Spurs
Breeches x2 Water
Spare underwear Food
White Gloves Directions to venue
Comfy Socks Passport
If your missing anything, pop into store and we can help you out.
Prepare Your Horses Attire…
Competitors put a lot of effort into their horses appearance. Dressage is about a neat, classy appearance and this is for the horse too.
Grooming Kit Travel Rug
Bridle (No martingales allowed) Tail Bandage
Saddle Pad Plaiting Kit
Calmers (If needed) Tack Wipes
Fly Spray (If summer) Bucket & Sponge
Electrolytes (If summer)
If your missing anything, here at Naylors we have everything you need
Preparing For A Dressage Test The Day/Night Before…
It is important to make the most of the time you have the day/night before. Preparing as much as possible ensures the morning of the show runs smoothly. By preparing in advance, you give yourself time to deal with any issues that pop up last minute.
Ensure you prepare everything you need the day before, clean your tack and gather everything together. If you can, pack the horse box the night before, this means you only need to check over everything in the morning allocating more of your time to your horses preparation.
Get up early. Check you have everything and make sure you set off in plenty of time to allow for any traffic. Rushing around before you even get to the show will create nerves and unnecessary stress.