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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Dressage - what level do you compete your horse?

Do you take your horse between the white boards to strut your stuff?

Even those of us without transport have the opportunity to compete online by video thanks to Dressage Anywhere and many other similar companies.

The big question is which level should you try? 

Preliminary is the simple basics of walk, trot and canter, if you haven't quite got the canter then there's intro. How long do you stay at that level?

Such a big question. I truly believe you should be training a level higher than you compete. Many people get stuck at novice, often worrying about the dredded medium trot. If you school for Elementary, the lateral movements and direct transitions required will strengthen the connection over the horses back and develop the engagement of the quarters to help produce the impulsion required for medium while maintaining balance & straighteness. 

No matter who we are, as riders we all need eyes on the ground. Someone we know & trust to tell us what they see, and how to improve it. It is so important to find a trainer you like and can work with and have a lesson as often as you can afford. In between time's mirrors are a great help, or video, if you can persuade a friend to hold the camera, or fund a robot camera like Pixio so you can look at what you are doing.

I had the great pleasure of judging at Sparsholt Pet Plan Area Festival. Only the second time I have been on a judging panel.

It was interesting seeing the different people who had qualified and earned the right to be there. Some were very comfortable in the long arena, and confident in their understanding of the movements required. Others..... not so much!

It is really important that you know how big 20, 15 & 10 metre circles are. If you are not confident ask a qualified, experienced trainer.

So many marks are lost through lack of accuracy no matter which level you compete at.

Wherever you are with your dressage right now, set yourself a challenge. Move up a level for next spring.

Want help setting goals? Give me a shout

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