Whether you are competing at home with online dressage tests or heading out in the lorry to a local competition, we spoke with a professional dressage rider to give you the expert advice you need to perfect your dressage test performance.
Amy Stovold is an International Dressage Rider & Equetech Sponsored Rider and knows that being organised is imperative;
" Riding the perfect dressage test starts with the planning! I usually book my competitions a month or so ahead to plan in the horses' training and work my farrier, vet and physio appointments around these dates to ensure the horses are in tip-top shape for their competition outings. Planning ahead means I can work on those more difficult movements at home so that when we come to our test, the horse finds these easy and is comfortable in what they are being asked of.
Ride through your test but break it into chunks, so you are not riding through the whole test every time. Some horses are very good at anticipating the next move, so be breaking each part down and only riding through it a handful of times ahead of your competition day your horse shouldn't anticipate on competition day.
Rider nerves can ruin a test. Try some relaxation exercises ahead of your competition day and if you can, bring a friend (rent a groom!) with you to help make the day more fun, all the better. If you really struggle with nerves, then get some mindfulness coaching to help you cope better. Remember, your nerves will translate to your horse and will not only affect your riding but may also impact your horses' confidence too!
Learn your test. Even if you have a caller, learn your test. Knowing where you are going will ensure you are few seconds ahead of your caller, which can make a big difference to your transitions and general riding.
Look smart. I'm lucky to be sponsored by Equetech, so I have a gorgeous competition wardrobe. However, even if you can't afford to splash out on a whole new competition wardrobe, simple things such as replacing a dressage competition jacket that no longer fits, cleaning your boots, saddle and bridle until they bling and plaiting your horse up can all make a great first impression as you trot down the centre line.
Having sat in a judges box many times, whilst you won't get direct marks for condition and turn-out, creating a professional and confident impression as you enter at 'A' will position you as someone proud of their horse and keen to show the judge you mean business! "