Category Archives: Motivation


My thought processes are too slow! The messages from my brain to my body are too slow! I have to sharpen up.

1 brain

In a dressage test there are a succession of movements, one after the other, all requiring different thought processes, aids, body movements in which the aim is to do as little as possible!

So, after my latest not-so-good training session I walked, trotted and cantered the movements on foot (without the horse) – going through each step of what I should do when on the horse. Tracing the tracks I had made in the surface (note to self, you are not using the corners and your straight lines are not straight!)

The hope is that it will be retained whilst I have the time to think and become semi-automatic when I climb aboard. It is a useful exercise, but make sure that your friends know what you are doing – you look mighty silly cantering round the ménage without a horse!


Training Focus

… Are you aware of everything that is going on around you? Are you easily distracted when riding?

Being focused and keeping training focus is not so easy … a simple, way to keep your focus is to imagine you are being watched (you probably are if you have dogs!)

Training FocusAfter all, in your training sessions or in a test it’s all about how you are perceived, how your training progression is going and to assess you, they need to watch you perform.

Imagine then, that there is a judge at A and a judge at E, every single time you ride.  It’s a sure fire way to ensure you are maintaining your training focus on what you are trying to achieve and not getting distracted.

How many of you, when competing, forget to ride?  What I mean is how many of you actually ride the test like you would when you are training in the arena at home?  Pop in a slight shoulder fore if needed, steady the pace, give  a sharper aid.  My partner once popped a 10m circle into a test where it wasn’t required!  He needed to get the horses attention and encourage more bend.  He got 2 penalty points for error of course but a 9 for his riding, because the judge knew exactly what he had done and why.

Ask your trainer to occasionally give you marks for your movements.  I often get a random “FIVE” shouted out in a training session which is Mark’s way of saying “not good enough!”  I have to figure out why it was a five to improve.  Likewise, he’ll sometimes say “that was an eight”  (although not very often!) which is his equivalent of “good”

Thinking about being judged in your training is a good way of ensuring that when you get in front of a judge you actually ride as if you were training and not ‘going through the motions’.

A word of caution though, this does not mean give a demo every time you ride! Simply ensure your riding would consistently get a minimum mark of 8, strive for 9, maybe even a 10!

As always, have fun.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

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Rebuild your skills

This is not a very fashionable idea, but I’m a little tired of hearing how we should keep telling everyone how wonderful they are, how well they are doing and gush with positivity in order to encourage progression.

Pff … what anyone who wants real success needs is to take a long hard look at themselves and critically evaluate where they are in terms of their goals and, if appropriate accept that they are not good riders.

This is a good starting point!

What is wrong with being told that, actually you are not very good and have some hard work to do to get what you want?

What is wrong with being told that, if you want to be a dressage rider you need to … lose weight, get fit, change your attitude, recognise that your skill set is currently lacking?

I wanted to ride well for many, many years, became very frustrated and nearly gave up altogether, until I recognised that I was stuck in my ways, needed to clear my mind and BE A BEGINNER again – as if I had never ridden, accept how badly I had been taught, by people who either knew no better or did not care enough, lose weight, get fit and rebuild my skills.

I have many tips to help you rebuild your skills – essentially the foundations have to be right to support the future work!  This is the basis of my training system and I would very much appreciate any comments you may have.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

Forward – Don’t Be Afraid

Until I embarked on this journey I had a bit of a phobia of being out of control of a horse.  Don’t we all?

ForwardSo ensuring my young horse is forward thinking has taken some guts, even though I say so myself! It all felt fast and furious and she kept popping into canter. For me that short striding, slow gait I had been used to seemed much more in control.

But a short striding, stuffy horse is not what I want. So I plucked up the courage to send her forward and allow her to go what felt to me like “too fast”. If she cantered I allowed her to do this and then within half a circle, half halt and back to trot.

For a while she did a funny half trot, half canter – The Tranter! which unfortunately isn’t actually a pace, which is a shame because she was very good at it and I think we may have got a 9 in the arena.


Dressage TestShe was never “out of control” – just happy to go forward, which is great.

I was missing out for so many years and what’s more it’s not scary any more – feeling that power is awesome!

Have fun!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

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It’s snowing, my horse has an injury so no Dressage for me!
Actually, no, this is an opportunity for you to consider all the other element outside of the actual riding that you need to perfect.  There are many things that you should work on out of the saddle – ground work, horse/rider relationship, mental strength and training reflection.  The mental aspect of dressage is crucial.  Spending time honing the ability to think about 100 different things at once is time well spent.
  • Firstly try to replay your riding in your mind
  • What was good about it?
  • What was bad?
  • What do you need to change?
  • What do you need to practice more?

By doing this, when you are in the saddle it will teach you to focus on feeling what is happening so that you can analyse it later.

And I don’t mean whilst cooking dinner or fetching the kids from school, I mean take time out, sit down and replay the videos in your mind. You may look like you are sitting doing nothing, but these images are crucial to being able to visualise how it should be and that will help you get there.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? 3 Things you need to be a successful Dressage Rider

Belief: Be able to believe you will overcome any difficulties you might face.  Picture your success.  Be certain of your attainment of it.

Patience: Success doesn’t usually happen quickly.  We should be grateful for this, success carries with it burden, and we need time to prepare for the responsibility.  Don’t give up so easily and don’t expect instant gratification.

Readiness For Change: You must be ready and willing to change yourself. It is ridiculous to expect success when you refuse to make changes that will enable your success.