… 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!)
After 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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