Sunday, July 28, 2013
Lessons from C
Yesterday I had the opportunity to scribe for my saddle club's dressage show. It was awesome because scribing counted for my volunteer hours for the year (check!). I learned a TON about riding dressage tests from the judge's point of view (check!). Basically, I got an 8 hour lesson in dressage.
So with that, here is what I learned:
1. My tests. I definitely know my tests now, LOL.
2. Show up on time. If you have a reader, make sure they are walking in when the last test ends as well. People do not appreciate you holding up the entire show.
3. No one takes kindly to harsh aids- jerking or kicking. You need to prepare your horse for transitions, people!
4. Death grip on the reins does not a fancy horse make.
5. Accuracy counts for A LOT. If you have a so-so horse, you can really gain points for accuracy in your geometry and figures.
6. Correct bend accounts for A LOT.
7. Activity in all gaits counts for A LOT. Get those horses moving! A shuffling trot or ambling walk has no place in the dressage arena.
8. Read the tests. Look at where the coefficients are. Circles and Stretch at the lower level. Make sure you have good circles and stretches.
9. Read the tests. See how the movements are divided and lumped together for the score. This is something I didn't realize/ fully appreciate until I put pen to paper yesterday. You can gain points in areas you know your horse is stronger. But if you have a mistake, it doesn't mean you still can't do well in the other movements.
We saw some fancy horses, some school horses, and green horses. Experienced riders, trainers, and youth. You would think that the fancy horses stole the show, but they did not. They got the same scores- because they were getting dinged on the same directives. Almost everyone would cut corners. Or shrink their circles. Or not show stretch. Or miss the centerline. Almost every horse was slogging through the test at some point, lacking activity. These are the things, if you clean up and confirm, you can really use to pump up your score. Judges appreciate try.
And so I go into this week with renewed inspiration, and a laundry list of things to focus on.