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winfieldfarm
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:52 PM
:no:Give me any and all of your tips on how to learn the dressage letters of the arena.

toeknee
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:55 PM
A F B M C H E K--A Fat Bay Mare Can Hardly Ever Kick :) there are lots...

SillyHorse
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:55 PM
A
Fat
Black
Mother
Cat
Had
Eight
Kittens

billiebob
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:55 PM
For a small (40m x 20m) ring: All King Edward's Horses Canter Many Big Fences. That's starting at A and going clockwise--A, K, E, H, C, M, B, F.

My trainer has another mnemonic device for a bigger ring, but I don't know that one offhand.

HenryisBlaisin'
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:56 PM
All King Edward's Horses Can't Be Mended because they're Fixed-AKEHCBMF

Janet
Aug. 24, 2009, 02:57 PM
All Kind Elephants Have Cute Mothers Bad Fathers

Then add "RSVP" for the standard arena

merrygoround
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:08 PM
Poor King Edward.

All King Edward's Horses Carry Mighty Brave Fellows.

As for remembering them when teaching, just practice.

As for riding a test, I don't really. I just remember what has to happen where.

horse_on_course
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:09 PM
I pull out a test that I know the pattern to, and then work backwards.. Kinda like "I know that I turn here, so this must be B" type of thing.

It works for me.

monstrpony
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:13 PM
I never bothered learning the letters. I just learned where the markers are in the arena, and then learn the pattern of the test movements. After years of riding tests, I finally got familiar with M-X-K and H-X-F and that the midpoints of the long sides are B and E, but the specific letters and their locations never mattered if I knew the sequence of movements and how the test flowed.

That said, there's A Kitten Entered Here Calmly Munching Bad Fish, too.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:16 PM
and in between is RSVP - like on an invitation.

We have a rug in the front room that is rectangle with patterns on it. I used to "ride" the test on the rug so did my kids, with walk trot canter imitations. You could put the letters up with bits of paper until you got used to them.

betsyk
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:21 PM
Do what Monstrpony said, and make an association of some sort with each letter -- K is for Kallie, H is for Horse, M is by the mirrors - whatever works for you. KXM - Kallie likes to look in the mirrors. At C, run over the judge! Enter at A, Attagirl! the four "inside" letters are RSVP. If you ride in one arena all the time you can learn them by visual landmarks like the mounting block or the door, but then you'll have to transpose that on top of the new arena when you ride away from home. Another thing that might work is to take a chalkboard, draw the arena with letters on it, and with chalk trace your dressage tests over and over and over. You'll learn how the movements fit in the arena and how the letters help them flow, which might help make relationships clearer among the letters and help you remember them better.

shawneeAcres
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:30 PM
Honestly I DON'T remeber the letters, not "exactly" I know from years of experience that A is enter and C is judge, E and B are midpoints on long side and I know H-X-F and M-X-K are diagonals but I couldn't tell you which is where. Reason being I don't NEED to know. What I need to know when I ride a test is the movements, flow and pattern of the test. The way I remember a test is like this (like a training level test, obviosuly a bit more detailed for higher level):

Trot up centerline
halt, trot and track left (or right), mid way circle left (or right)
A canter, up long side and circle mid way (10, 20m whatever)
trot at corner marker (H,F,M,K doesn't matter)
Walk at C
free walk across diagonal
trot a A
circle at mid point of long side (E,B whatever)

etc.

It clutters mymind to have to worrk about the letters, you ride enough tests and you know how things flow. Partially too I think this comes from having memorized so many jump courses over the years, you memorize the TRACK of the course (or at least I do) not the actual jumps.

mp
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:50 PM
how do you remember where the letters are?

I don't. I know I enter at "A" and the judge is at "C." Past that, I couldn't begin to tell you what order the letters are in. I just remember to look up when I'm riding. ;)

caddym
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:53 PM
I'm with shawneeacres.

When I'm learning a new test, I know if its test 1 or 3 you track left (after initial halt) and if its 2 or 4 track right. (for the USEA tests not FEI). That fact has been INVALUABLE for learning tests. After I know which way to start, I just learn the pattern.

There are "corner letters" "E or B" and "funny letters" (the letters inbetween the "corner letters" and "E or B")

So this year, I'm riding 3rd level and PSG. 3rd level test 1: track left (because its 1), shoulder in "funny letter to funny letter" half circle half pass.....

the lady of shalott
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:56 PM
All King Edwards Horses Can Make Big Fences =]

baysngreys
Aug. 24, 2009, 03:59 PM
All King Edwards Horses Can Make Best Friends

Use whatever "rhyme" works for you, but I haven't worked with a trainer yet who didn't expect me to know where "E" was when they said, "do such-n-such at "E"!

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:03 PM
How do I remember.....wait.....what?

slpeders
Aug. 24, 2009, 04:11 PM
LOVE the kitten one! :) I remember them going clockwise using the mnemonic from Carolyn Banks' dressage mysteries (haven't read them? hunt them down!)
A Killer (Vicious) Enzyme (Seriously) Harmed Crazy Mr (Raoul) Banks' (Precious) Face.
I still even remember the part in one book where the character completely bewilders someone at a show by telling them they mixed up "vicous" and "precious". :) :)
I also say the letters in a line like words: KVESH (ka-vesh'), FPBRM (feep'-burm) and ADLXIGC (ad-el-ex'-a-geek) but have to think about the killer enzyme to remember which side is kvesh and which side is fpbrm.

ETA: when we'd go to shows with our quad group, the first question from at least one rider woudl be "OK, so where's the mounting block and where's the gate?" to orient herself based on how our ring at home is set up. :)

monstrpony
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:02 PM
... but I haven't worked with a trainer yet who didn't expect me to know where "E" was when they said, "do such-n-such at "E"!

Well, yes, but usually they mean "when you get to the middle of the next long side, do such-n-such". It is pretty necessary to know which letters are at the corners, which at the middle of the long side, which in between (not to mention A and C) and on the centerline, but that comes as much from practice riding the figures that go with the letters (i.e., diagonals vs 20-m circles). At least that's fairly true at the lower levels (which is where the question usually arises).

Knowing the sequence of the letters around the arena has never been of much use to me. If I had to run through the sequence to figure out where to do such-n-such, the trainer would be yelling at me for having missed the marker before I located it mentally and then found it in the arena. Not to mention that I can't ride and think at the same time anyway ;).

If a trainer were to say "at M, begin shoulder in" I'd be pretty sure he/she was talking about the corner after the next short side. In other words, you can tell from the context where to do the movement. Or, you can glance up and see if the next corner marker is the right one. Of course, you should be looking up already, but we all know how that goes ...

pnalley
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:10 PM
Look like King Edwards horses were busy:)

All King Edwards Horses Consumed Much Bad Feed

ACP
Aug. 24, 2009, 05:23 PM
All
King
Victor
Edwards
Short
Horses
Can
Make
Really
Big
Perfect
Fences

Centerling is C G I L D A with an X in the middle.

Ah....pony club DECADES ago.

dressagediosa
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:30 PM
For remembering the centerline letters -
Don't
Look,
X
Is
Gone :)

LarkspurCO
Aug. 24, 2009, 06:41 PM
I just remember where they are in relation to one another, the same way I memorize my way around a city. The more patterns I ride, the easier it is to remember the spacial relationships. I've never used any of those King Edward phrases because they are nonsensical to me. I do have trouble remembering D, L, I and G on the centerline when they're not marked underneath the other letters on the rail.

titansrunfarm
Aug. 24, 2009, 07:24 PM
Mein Bock Frist Aepfel, Karotten, Erbsen, Hafer und (Richter) - I learned this so long ago 'bout the only German I do remember :)

atr
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:02 PM
Look like King Edwards horses were busy:)

All King Edwards Horses Consumed Much Bad Feed

Mine goes aptly with this one...

All King Edward's Horses Can Make Big Farts

Naro29
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:46 PM
All Fat Brown Mares Can Hardly Ever Kick
A F B M C H E K

ACP
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:49 PM
I just remember where they are in relation to one another

This is how I was taught to ride too, but I was also expected to know the letters. I am surprised I can still remember them.

Ajierene
Aug. 24, 2009, 08:52 PM
When I'm memorizing a new dressage test, I put it on paper, with the letters in a dressage ring - then I memorize the pattern.

My trainer used to try to get me to say the letters (MXF freewalk), but it just never sunk in (free walk across the diagonal). So...dressage test is - down the center line, left, circle in the middle, go around and across the diagonal, canter in corner, around and circle at end, etc....

She just laughs now and shakes her head.

Mallard
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:12 PM
A Fine Bay Mare Can Hardly Ever Kick
then add in your RSVP

poltroon
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:27 PM
Honestly I DON'T remeber the letters, not "exactly" I know from years of experience that A is enter and C is judge, E and B are midpoints on long side and I know H-X-F and M-X-K are diagonals but I couldn't tell you which is where. Reason being I don't NEED to know. What I need to know when I ride a test is the movements, flow and pattern of the test. The way I remember a test is like this (like a training level test, obviosuly a bit more detailed for higher level):

Trot up centerline
halt, trot and track left (or right), mid way circle left (or right)
A canter, up long side and circle mid way (10, 20m whatever)
trot at corner marker (H,F,M,K doesn't matter)
Walk at C
free walk across diagonal
trot a A
circle at mid point of long side (E,B whatever)

etc.

It clutters mymind to have to worrk about the letters, you ride enough tests and you know how things flow. Partially too I think this comes from having memorized so many jump courses over the years, you memorize the TRACK of the course (or at least I do) not the actual jumps.

Same here. I only refer to the letters when I am learning the test, and then I know the test as a series of lines. I don't know what letter I do a transition at, only that it's on the end, after the center of the long side, etc.

JMurray
Aug. 24, 2009, 10:17 PM
I also memorize the pattern when I show not the letters. But I get caught out during lessons when my trainer says ride to S and I have to look frantically around for where S is. Where the heck is S. :lol:

I think in pictures so I just have a picture of the dressage ring in my mind and the pattern. I am lazy.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 25, 2009, 03:32 AM
But here is the problem, if you are helping to set up the rings for a show. You can still set them up counter clockwise, or clockwise, whichever is the wrong way.

Ask me how I know.

meupatdoes
Aug. 25, 2009, 04:27 AM
I remember by looking wildly around the arena until my poor beleagured instructor sighs and points, "It's over there."

FLeckenAwesome
Aug. 25, 2009, 08:31 AM
Wow!!!

I'm amazed at how many people are just like me!!!!! I thought I was the only one that didn't know where the letters were!! YAY!!

However, I also can't have a caller for a test because of it. I mean, I'm sure I could figure it out assuming I somewhat knew the test, but I feel like it would stress me out since I don't know the letters, so I just make sure I know my test!

I also do the ...."Umm....where's M again?!" during lessons.

But you know... it works! I've ridden three first level tests almost back to back without callers and not gone off course :) *That time anyways.. have gone off course a few times*

;)

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 25, 2009, 08:54 AM
You know what I just finally realized? Mine is backwards:

My Best Friend Ann Knows Every Horse's Color.

It's amazing I don't go off course more often.

circusponydreams
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:31 AM
I learned another variation on King Edward: All King Edward's Horses Canter Mighty Big Fences.

I focus on the pattern rather than the letters too - "circle at the middle of the long side", whether it's E or B. Hopefully I am at least going in the right direction so I end up at the correct letter!

Wayside
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:37 AM
Honestly I DON'T remeber the letters, not "exactly" I know from years of experience that A is enter and C is judge, E and B are midpoints on long side and I know H-X-F and M-X-K are diagonals but I couldn't tell you which is where. Reason being I don't NEED to know. What I need to know when I ride a test is the movements, flow and pattern of the test.

I do the same thing, but I can see where it might be handy to know, after watching my instructor teach the lesson after mine. She made up a practice intro-style test for her other student to ride on the fly, in an unmarked arena, and none of the three of us knew for sure if her 20m circle was starting at E or B :lol:

Jealoushe
Aug. 25, 2009, 10:48 AM
I learnt mine from this book called Annie Learns to Ride ...or something like that

All Kangaroos Enjoy Hot Coconut Milk Before Freaking

SillyHorse
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:07 AM
As you learn and ride more and more tests, osmosis will prevail and you will eventually know where the letters are. For example, after you've read and/or heard "MXK" enough times, and you know that M and K are in diagonal corners. As monstrpony said, it's not really important to know the sequence, but more where a letter is in relation to where you are at that moment.

Janet
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:33 AM
You know what I just finally realized? Mine is backwards:

My Best Friend Ann Knows Every Horse's Color.

It's amazing I don't go off course more often.
Not backwards, just starts at M instead of A. But then goes in the same direction.

Equibrit
Aug. 25, 2009, 11:46 AM
I have never bothered consciously learning them. Your mind will do it for you through familiarity. It saves you a step by NOT having to learn some ryhme. A just means the way in and C is who you have to impress etc!

Arizona DQ
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:04 PM
I don't. I know I enter at "A" and the judge is at "C." Past that, I couldn't begin to tell you what order the letters are in. I just remember to look up when I'm riding. ;)

Thank goodness!!!!!!:winkgrin: I thought I was the only one who did not know where all the letters were! It was MY dirty little secret :lol:

Glad there are others like me out in the dressage world!!!:winkgrin:

Arizona DQ
Aug. 25, 2009, 05:12 PM
Wow!!!

I'm amazed at how many people are just like me!!!!! I thought I was the only one that didn't know where the letters were!! YAY!!;)

I have the arena diagram posted right here on my desk, on my notebook I take to meetings and also on the visor of my car... I STILL canNOT remember the darned letters locations !!:no: I usually cannot remember which is A and C. I enter at the end that is open and KNOW the judge is at the other end (or at least I hope)....:winkgrin:

trooper345
Aug. 26, 2009, 02:32 PM
But here is the problem, if you are helping to set up the rings for a show. You can still set them up counter clockwise, or clockwise, whichever is the wrong way.

Ask me how I know.


DressageGeek, I wonder if you were one of the volunteers that set up the rings for the last show I attended! Schooling the day before there was a huge group of us wandering around the outside of the ring *very* confused! Took a while to register that the ring was set up "flipped over" :lol:

Mabelicious
Aug. 26, 2009, 07:20 PM
One more King Edward variation:
All King Edward's Horses (are) Chestnut Mares (and) Bay Fillies.

Classicgal
Aug. 27, 2009, 11:24 AM
I set up the rings for our shows so I use the sayings but that doesn't work when you are riding and turning around, etc. So I named things around me to remind me of the 8 major letters. I can be anywhere and close my eyes, pretend I am back in that place and visualize what is where. Then for the other 4 and centerline letters I go back to the sayings and fill in the blanks. Maybe silly but it works for me.

Emy
Aug. 27, 2009, 06:54 PM
uuugh, just this past weekend I wrecked a 70%+ test by going off course and doing my stretch circle at E instead of V. I knew my test but had a caller as back up (I was riding a baby and as anything can happen with them) my caller was a german friend who's E sounded identical to V and I doubted myself and of course did it in the wrong spot. The judge was sympathetic and wrote "the error was such a pity" which of course made me feel stupider. In short I have a new respect for the letters especially the ones the sound the same.

Briggsie
Aug. 28, 2009, 04:07 PM
I never bothered learning the letters. I just learned where the markers are in the arena, and then learn the pattern of the test movements. After years of riding tests, I finally got familiar with M-X-K and H-X-F and that the midpoints of the long sides are B and E, but the specific letters and their locations never mattered if I knew the sequence of movements and how the test flowed.

That said, there's A Kitten Entered Here Calmly Munching Bad Fish, too.


Wow...Glad someone finally fessed up. I thought I was the only one who could not do a test by remembering letters. My trainer does not understand how I can understand two foreign languages, do what I do for a living, but for the life of me cannot tell her where certain letters are.

Whew, i don't feel so bad now!