How to Ride the Introductory Dressage Tests: Part 1

horseback riding for beginners
You’ve decided to use your horseback riding training in a dressage competition and downloaded copies of Introductory Test A and Test B from the link in my last post.

Now you’re staring at the test sheets and wondering how to make sense of them. What do the numbers mean and what are the capital letters for? What are ‘medium walk’ and ‘free walk’? What is ‘working trot’? This looks complicated!

Read on and you’ll find out how simple it really is. You’ll also discover that you’ve already learned the different walks and the correct trot during your horseback riding training.

The Numbers

The numbers in the left column of the test sheet refer to the movements. There are 9 of them and the judge will give you a mark out of ten for each one.

The number 2 appears at intervals on the right side of the page: this indicates that your score out of ten for that movement will be doubled. At the Introductory Level the trot circles and free walk carry double scores.

The Letters

The letters refer to the markers on the outer perimeter of the arena where you’ll be riding the test. You may have these letters already placed at intervals round the arena where you usually ride, especially if your horse is at a boarding barn with competitive riders. From now on, you’ll be paying more attention to them, as you need to perform each movement exactly where the test tells you.

Here is a link to diagrams of the dressage arena. You’ll see two sizes: the small arena and the standard arena. Normally you would ride your Introductory Tests in the small arena, and for your first few shows it’s a good idea to make sure this is the case at the competition venues you choose.

It’s very helpful to go on foot to a show and see how the tests are ridden.

Next we’ll be looking at the test movements (including medium and free walk, and working trot) and the directive ideas on the sheets.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.dressageamerica.com/dressage_arena_new.htm Here is a link to diagrams of the dressage arena. You’ll see two sizes: the small arena and the standard arena. Normally you would ride your Introductory Tests in the small arena, and for your first few shows it’s a good idea to make sure this is the case at the competition venues you choose.

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