Perfecting your centre line...

Have you got a dressage test coming up?  Ever received lower marks than you had hoped for?  Over rode or under shot the centre line?  Wobbled your way up to the C marker?  

We have been talking with our sponsored dressage rider Rachael Lane, to share her top TEN tips on how to ride the perfect centre line!

First and foremost, give yourself time! You have forty-five seconds after the bell has rung to enter the arena, so don't panic; take a deep breath, you've got plenty of time to get round the arena before heading in to ride the test.

The next tip has likely been told to you before, so remember to LOOK AT THE JUDGE.  As you enter the arena, fixate on the end of the arena, and ride straight towards the judges car or judging box and don't take your eyes off them!

Make an entrance.  Judges like to see positivity, and forwards riding, not rushed or hurried. Someone who is bringing their A game, and means business, is more likely to get results. As you are riding around the edge of the arena, make sure your horse is off your leg, listening to your aids, and use some transitions if needed to sharpen them up if needed! You need to prepare in the warm up arena, to ensure this happens in the arena. 

Tunnel vision.  As you ride your centre line, imagine you are in a walled tunnel and your goal is to ride as straight as you can down that tunnel without touching the walls on either side.

Prepare, preapre, prepare.  Poor preparation for your turns is likely to result in a poor score.  Make sure you prepare for the turn, use your outside rein for a gentle half halt, to ride a positive flowing turn.

Entering from the left or the right rein?  Work out which is best for you and your horse on the day, and go with that.  Your horse may feel more supple on one rein, more down the rein and willing, take advantage of that and enter for your test on this rein.  If you enter on the left rein and your first turn at C is to the right, don't forget to change your diagonal.

Ride the whole of the centre line! This might sound obvious but a positive centre line also needs to be a full centre line, ride as close to C before preparing for your turn.

Double trouble.  There are at least two centre lines in your test, so remember this is your chance to pick up some easy marks if you can nail this move.

Don't forget to remove any boots or bandages!  You don't want to get half way down the centre line and hear the dreaded bell from the judge telling you that you have been eliminated!

Our last tip for riding a perfect centre line?  SMILE!  It won't win you any extra marks but judges love to see competitors enjoying themselves.

One final thing from us, which you might not realise, due to a rule change from BD it is now complusary for each competitor to have two competition numbers, either on the bridle or on your saddle cloth, check out our range of number holders here.

What are your top tips for riding the perfect centre line?