We all have irritating little rider faults that creep in and out of our riding.  Our subconscious seems somewhat more powerful than our conscious state and before you know it those irritating rider faults that you worked so hard to correct are back.

If you want to eliminate those faults for good, I’ve got a sure-fire formula to succeed and it’s not that difficult – The solution is to make the correction a habit.  Install a NEW habit.

It is important to only tackle one problem at a time unless it very small. After 30 days if you want to add something else to your routine that relates to a second issue, you can do that.

How to Install a New Habit – Pick Your Goal.

Common examples:

  • Maintain contact through bends
  • Smile and relax my jaw
  • Get lower leg back a little
  • Keep hands closed
  • Look up and forwards
  • Soften my elbows
  • Maintain shoulder position and posture

Preparation for Day One

  • Do everything in your power to be prepared for success on day one.
  • Think about the problem carefully and be clear in your mind HOW you are going to implement the solution.

e.g.  Maintain contact through bends – Why are you dropping the contact?, What is happening at that point? Is the horse leaning in? Do you need to ensure you have a good inside leg to outside rein connection? Are your hands even? Do you have sufficient bend through the horse’s body? Are you leaning into the bend and not following the horse’s movement?

  • Set out your strategy for correcting the fault and be clear about it.
  • Affirm to yourself that you will be successful today. Be positive and follow your plan no matter what. Block out any negative voices in your head. Make your first session a success and celebrate it at the end. This first day will be the cornerstone upon which you will build your overall success!

You should remain focussed on this one goal.

Repeat the steps you took on day one every day for 30 days until your successful way of going is a habit.  If you don’t ride every day, think about it.  You need to be a little obsessive here, it’s not a problem.  Is there anything you can do ‘off horse’ to help? if so – do it!  Just make sure that eliminating this rider fault is your number one focus.


Relish your success. If you have an off day, don’t fret. Just resolve to start anew tomorrow with another cornerstone success day.

You can do it!  Here’s to your success!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster


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