In my opinion, no matter whether you're a dressage diva, a ballsy eventer or a savvy show jumper your flatwork on your horse is THE most important thing. We all know that to win a 3 day event your dressage score has to be spot on and if you can't half halt on the way toward a 1m fence you're royally buggered.
I haven't competed in a dressage competition since 2015, due to one reason or another. I thought it was about time to don those boots and get my ass in the ring. The difference was, I was doing it at the yard. I didn't travel to a competition, I had a go at Dressage Anywhere's online comp! I didn't even have to dress up in my white breeches (which is a good thing as there is no way my backside will squeeze into them!). Instead I tacked up Crunchie and we strutted our stuff in front of a camera.
Although I love a good competition, it's not my main reason for doing this. I am actually using this as part of my training, which is a good thing. All the test are judged by a List 1 or 2 judge so you know you're going to get some good feedback. Well, constructive feedback in my case! I don't remember sweating as much in my life, I mean, we made it round the test in one piece but hell fire! P14 was harder than I thought! Why? Because all I do at home is get stuck on a 20 metre circle.
I have, honestly, learned the biggest lesson of my riding journey! I'm not strict enough with myself. Sitting pretty on a 20 metre circle is getting me nowhere fast and my dream of riding an Advanced level test is never going to happen if I don't get my arse into gear! It's not the one movement that is difficult, it's stringing them together!
So if you've never ridden a test before, or if the last time you did one was at your last competition then ride one this week! Maybe all you do is ride at Prelim? Ride a Novice, test yourself! Maybe you prefer jumping so you don't really think about the flatwork the same? Maybe you're just like me and you stick to your 20 metre circle? Don't. Ride a test at home, preferably a level higher than your currently competing. It shows up all of the areas you need to work on. My transitions were sloppy, meaning my next movement was poor. Crunchie's engine died half way round as he's not fit enough to stay with all guns firing for the full 4 minutes! 'They' say you should always be training a level higher than your competing, to make life easier at the actual comp!
So do it, ride a test through and make it a habit, no matter what your discipline. Just like me, you'll immediately see what areas need work and you'll see the improvement in your training no end!!
May the force be with you!
If you would like any more info about Dressage Anywhere competitions then visit their website> https://www.dressageanywhere.com/
- Prelim 14 - Dressage Anywhere