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View Full Version : Am I the only one who thinks that the 2011 version of Training 1 sucks?



Forte
Jan. 3, 2011, 02:55 PM
I just took a look at the new training level tests, and I have to say, I do not like the new test 1. I think the canter part is sort of weird, with the half a canter circle, then straight down the long side, then another half a circle. The part that I really don't like is the stretchy circle. I think the stretchy circle is really important and I'm glad it's in the tests, but I don't think it should be in T1. There are many young horses at their first shows doing training 1, and personally I don't really want to be required to give the reins on a 4 year old that is at it's first show. The stretchy circle is right after the canter too, which I think is just asking for problems. Am I being a big baby? I have two talented but hot young mares I will be showing Training this year, and I am a bit worried. I guess I could always do walk/trot.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jan. 3, 2011, 03:04 PM
I hadn't looked at the training level tests yet, but that's interesting. I agree with you on the stretchy circle in test one. I guess the point being made is that it is integral to the most basic training?

However, I also have been on the hot/green horse who, despite performing the required movements well at home, once at the scary show his only thought is to flee the ring.

Which end is the stretchy circle on?

paintlady
Jan. 3, 2011, 03:17 PM
Well, you could always do the new Intro. C which has canter work in it.

I just started doing Training Level in September. While I'm not looking forward to the new tests, I really don't want to do another year of Intro.

thatmoody
Jan. 3, 2011, 03:33 PM
I believe (and don't quote me on this because I don't have the test right in front of me - I'm at work) that the stretchy circle is right there at A by the exit! :P. I can see a lot of horses deciding to get outta dodge at that point, particularly after getting ramped up by the canter RIGHT before that. I also have the impression that the stretch, gather back up/walk transition happens VERY quickly in this test. It seems like a more advanced test than necessary, imho, but I do like the #3 test.

katie+tru
Jan. 3, 2011, 03:43 PM
Stretchy circles could be a way of seeing whether or not the horse is actually reaching for the bit or if he has been trained incorrectly (ex. constant draw reins) and does not stretch and reach. I've seen it before in free walks. The horses hold their heads in a flexed postion, with noses in, even though the reins are slack. Very obvious how they are ridden are home.

I can see some squirrly youngsters taking advantage of this, but at the same time it certainly has an important point.

Equi88
Jan. 3, 2011, 03:49 PM
We've stumbled through that test this morning. What a weired flow! Everything happens at A. I felt we were stuck at that end of the ring. (Probably safer for the judges;))

I think once I know it from memory, it'll be okay. Going to a "New Test" Symposium in a few weeks. Can't wait to see what people have to say there.

TropicalStorm
Jan. 3, 2011, 04:15 PM
I stumbled through First Level Test 2 today as well, after deciding that I wanted to start the show season back at first instead of going into second...wow, what a weirdly flowing test!

Andalucian
Jan. 3, 2011, 04:24 PM
I'm glad to see someone else mention First Level Test 2. Makes me feel better. :lol: I don't really care for the flow of that one, either. First 3 is a challenge in how it flows, with the leg yield off the rail to the two 10m circles to the next leg yield to the stretchy circle - if there's a problem anywhere in that sequence, you don't really have time to fix it and salvage the rest -but it does ride nicely when it goes well. First 2 just... doesn't really.

Maybe we just need to get used to the changes. :confused:

katarine
Jan. 3, 2011, 05:16 PM
Stretchy circles could be a way of seeing whether or not the horse is actually reaching for the bit or if he has been trained incorrectly (ex. constant draw reins) and does not stretch and reach. I've seen it before in free walks. The horses hold their heads in a flexed postion, with noses in, even though the reins are slack. Very obvious how they are ridden are home.

I can see some squirrly youngsters taking advantage of this, but at the same time it certainly has an important point.


Some horses are just still worried and tight in the mind about showing, working. My guy has never seen a draw rein, a chambon, de gogue, etc in his life. His early years as a baby were bad (pre me LOL) But even after this time working in dressage training and lessons(about a year) when he's worried he hides and chews on his bit- please just bookmark it that it may be how that horse shows tension - not how he's held together at home- not always ;)

Bogey2
Jan. 3, 2011, 06:02 PM
no, you are not the only one!! The First Level Tests suck as well.
Tell me how they set the horse up correctly in the training scale???

Schiffon
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:17 PM
Yeah, First 1 starts right off the bat with 2 linked 10m half circles (E to X left, X to B right). That change is very difficult to do smoothly. Also discourages forward riding because unless you have a very well balanced horse who can has nearly perfected half-halt, people are going to tend to ride very conservatively into the movement to avoided loss of balance and resistance at X.

It looks like they are trying to make all of the tests take less time, but even allowing just an extra 12m on the CL to letter I before the right half-circle would be sooo much better. I loved the old first 1 with its tear drops and 3 loop serpentine. So nice to get a lovely forward, supple flow going.

exvet
Jan. 3, 2011, 08:44 PM
Gosh I guess I'm the odd man out because I like the new tests. I've shown all the training, first and second level tests through 2nd 2. I have two four year olds that I've been doing training level with and find the stretchy circle at A to be better than having it at C. I'm fortunate in that both of my (4 year old) horses caught on to that movement and like doing it. Even my stallion who can be tight in the back and tight between the ears gets to that part of the test and is totally relaxed (it's the canter we have more "see ya later issues" with though that's gradually getting better too). I like the tests because they are busier and things come up fast. My horses (even those at training level) are a bit too busy trying to come up with new "tricks" if we have too long to "think" between the movements. We're heading to a show this weekend and will be riding all of the specified new tests again. Not saying we're doing well score-wise but that has less to do with the tests and more to do with my motley crew and amateur riding ability. :D

dghunter
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:00 PM
Yeah, First 1 starts right off the bat with 2 linked 10m half circles (E to X left, X to B right). That change is very difficult to do smoothly. Also discourages forward riding because unless you have a very well balanced horse who can has nearly perfected half-halt, people are going to tend to ride very conservatively into the movement to avoided loss of balance and resistance at X.

It looks like they are trying to make all of the tests take less time, but even allowing just an extra 12m on the CL to letter I before the right half-circle would be sooo much better. I loved the old first 1 with its tear drops and 3 loop serpentine. So nice to get a lovely forward, supple flow going.

I loved the tear drops! The weird half circle thing is hard for us though we're working our butts off on it! I hated the serpentine though so I'm glad that's gone :yes:


We've stumbled through that test this morning. What a weired flow! Everything happens at A. I felt we were stuck at that end of the ring. (Probably safer for the judges;))

I think once I know it from memory, it'll be okay. Going to a "New Test" Symposium in a few weeks. Can't wait to see what people have to say there.

Are you going to the one at LEC? I'm going to that one and really looking forward to it!

countrygal
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:37 PM
The new Training Level Test 1 reminds me of the old Training Level Test 2. I really hated the transition from canter to trot on a straight line. I always found that difficult and really wonder why that ended up in the "easiest" new test of the level.

I like the First Level tests so far. The 1/2 10's are tough in Test 1 but I think it's good work for 1st level. It'll separate the prepared horses from the unprepared since it demands a level of throughness and balance not seen in the old 1st Level Test 1. Test 2 is rather confusing in terms of flow as others have said but until I memorize it and ride it I'm not sure I'm a good judge. Overall I appreciate the bigger distinction between Training Level and First Level. For the old tests 1st 1 seemed like a slightly fancier Training Level test.

ACP
Jan. 3, 2011, 11:43 PM
My sister did a GDCTA symposium - ride a test sort of thing, and at the round table on Sat evening, no one liked Training 1. Same comments over and over - NO FLOW. Chopped up, hard to remember, hard to ride.

I really liked the old First 1 test with the 'ice cream cones' and the 'snake' as my young grandson said. He was more into girls than arena geometry!

netg
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:30 AM
I believe (and don't quote me on this because I don't have the test right in front of me - I'm at work) that the stretchy circle is right there at A by the exit! :P. I can see a lot of horses deciding to get outta dodge at that point, particularly after getting ramped up by the canter RIGHT before that. I also have the impression that the stretch, gather back up/walk transition happens VERY quickly in this test. It seems like a more advanced test than necessary, imho, but I do like the #3 test.

See, with my guy, he settles down after cantering some. But he naturally has a more uphill balance than your typical training level horse, so when we did training level it made more sense for it to relax him.

I don't have my tests with me, but when I was going through them I prefer 1st 2 and 3, so am likely going to do them rather than 1st 1 when we get to shows this year.

VickiNicki30
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:37 AM
Is it just me or isn't the whole point of having an intro division is it being just walk/trot? I am not quite sure why they decided to add canter to into. I have a greenie that I am just starting and it looks like thats the only thing he will be ready for.

I was also shocked to see the leg yield off the wall in First level. Although I did like that they added the canter lengthening at F1. Sadly I don't think I will being seing first level this show season.

I don't think there will be as many riders advancing a level this year than in past years.

All this of course is just my opinion.

I am going to a test riding clinc this weekend, maybe it will shed some light on the changes.

Sonoma City
Jan. 4, 2011, 11:57 AM
I also think that adding the stretchy circle into the training 1 is going to cause a lot of problems for some people. It will definitely impact scoring on horses who may have an otherwise pleasant test.

I don't mind 1st 1/2 so much. The 10m half circles in 1st 1 are taken from the old 1-3 test. They do ride well, and set you up for the double 10m circles in 1-3. I think it's interesting that in 1st-2 the transitions from the canter lengthening to working canter has a coefficient of 2. That movement did not have a coefficient in any of the old tests, and I think that's going to be a score divider since it was often one of the lower scoring movements in the 2007 tests. I agree with the other poster that the leg yield/10m circle sequence in 1-3 is very tough for a 1st level horse. It leaves absolutely no room for forgiveness and seems like a bit of an intense sequence of aids for a lower level horse, with no place to really re-establish forwardness/straightness. It also doesn't quite make sense to me why they put that movement in since it makes you do one leg yield away from the rail, then one leg yield towards the rail. The old tests were very logical in that they first introduced the leg yield towards the rail since it is genearlly easier for horses, then introduce it away from the rail in the later test. I'm not sure what mixing it up accomplishes, except creating a difficult movement. Further, in the 2007 tests the leg yield in 1-2 is longer (36m) than in 1-3 (24m), so you can encourage forwardness on a slight angle, then ask for a bit more lateral movement in the next test. The new tests both have the same 24m leg yields.

Ok, done complaining, off to practice :D !!!

MLD
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:04 PM
I was also shocked to see the leg yield off the wall in First level. Although I did like that they added the canter lengthening at F1. Sadly I don't think I will being seing first level this show season.




In the old First 3 test the leg yields were off the wall.

GreekDressageQueen
Jan. 4, 2011, 12:45 PM
Well I like the new challenges in the tests because I know so many people who ONLY ride at Training level and they never move up because their horse is missing many basics such as the stretchy circle. I think the harder elements in the lower level tests are good for weeding out the people who are stuck at those levels. At the same time, I understand that many people don't have horses that will be competitive at higher levels but enjoy showing at the lower levels, so what else are they supposed to do? I think it's hard to service everyone's needs. I think making the Training level tests a little harder balances the fact that riders can rise or sit at First Level now. I know that change alone has opened up a lot of doors for ammy riders to move up.

I think the concern expressed for young, spooky horses doing stretchy circle at A is legit and I guess you will just have to work through it. I am sure some judges will be more lenient if they see your horse is green but they show a good attempt at a stretch or relaxation. I know my rides get better AFTER the stretchy part so I like it in the tests, but I trained my horse to go long and low and stretch from the time he was broke as a 3 year old.

netg
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:28 PM
I agree with the other poster that the leg yield/10m circle sequence in 1-3 is very tough for a 1st level horse. It leaves absolutely no room for forgiveness and seems like a bit of an intense sequence of aids for a lower level horse, with no place to really re-establish forwardness/straightness. It also doesn't quite make sense to me why they put that movement in since it makes you do one leg yield away from the rail, then one leg yield towards the rail. The old tests were very logical in that they first introduced the leg yield towards the rail since it is genearlly easier for horses, then introduce it away from the rail in the later test. I'm not sure what mixing it up accomplishes, except creating a difficult movement.

I actually like this. (Again, I'm typing this without the tests in front of me so I could be mis-remembering how it goes.) To me, you should have straightness in the leg yield by the time you're ready to move on to second. I think the change in direction implies a required straightness/engagement of the hind end which you won't necessarily have when you start leg yielding, but to me you should have if you're schooling above your competitive level and nearly ready to move on to second. This is actually an exercise I've been doing regularly at all three gaits to encourage self carriage and more sit from my horse, and it's working. So to me it indicates you should be past worry about toward/from the rail by this point, and instead getting proper engagement and balance from your horse, ready to start showing s/i, h/i, and maybe schooling half passes.

Velvet
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:45 PM
Personally, I think most current tests are horrible. They're designed more to help the bad judges figure out what they can't seem to see by watching an entire. Ride. Instead of judging the end result, they're judging training. Um, well, if you're going to do that, why not just have all riders in the ring at the same time like a hunter class? Then call out movements. Seriously, you don't need these things to see if the horse is correct--if the judges we're having approved to sit at C really know what they're doing.

The shows should be the final result. Showing off your horse to his best and that he knows how to do certain things.

Feels like we're headed the way of figure skating where they'll sit around and watch warm ups and add that to the score (consciously or not).

Arizona DQ
Jan. 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
Well, you could always do the new Intro. C which has canter work in it.

I just started doing Training Level in September. While I'm not looking forward to the new tests, I really don't want to do another year of Intro.

I had planned to move up to Training this year, but with the changes in Intro (trot from Halt in Test 2 and new Test 3 with canter), I am not sure I will move up until I have mastered these other two things.... With the stretchy circle in
T1, I am most certainly not ready for Training level. Maybe by the end of the summer....:no:

Equi88
Jan. 5, 2011, 06:28 PM
dghunter wrote:

Are you going to the one at LEC? I'm going to that one and really looking forward to it!

Yes, that's the one :)

Reiter
Jan. 5, 2011, 09:01 PM
I had planned to move up to Training this year, but with the changes in Intro (trot from Halt in Test 2 and new Test 3 with canter), I am not sure I will move up until I have mastered these other two things.... With the stretchy circle in
T1, I am most certainly not ready for Training level. Maybe by the end of the summer....:no:

The wording in the test might be a bit confusing, but the halt is through the walk (in and out)! You're not required to pick up the trot immediately (without walk steps) in intro and also in training level. Not sure why they added the initial halt and also the canter to Intro though. If it's becoming more and more like Training Level then why have it at all?

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 6, 2011, 11:21 AM
The wording in the test might be a bit confusing, but the halt is through the walk (in and out)! You're not required to pick up the trot immediately (without walk steps) in intro and also in training level. Not sure why they added the initial halt and also the canter to Intro though. If it's becoming more and more like Training Level then why have it at all?

I believe they added a 3rd test just to be consistent - 3 tests at each level. And how much more can you add to Intro, hahaha! But I agree, why have canter in an Intro test, I figure if the horse (or more likely the rider) can canter in public, why not just go to Training Level. When I saw the draft tests several months ago, that was my first question - why add canter to Intro? Huh? My next question was how will judges choose to score "harmony" in the rider score...

magnolia73
Jan. 6, 2011, 11:55 AM
If you are really on a tense horse with their mind on escape, you could just do the stretchy circle on a contact and forgo the decent score as an experience builder.

My horse (well, we don't show dressage but) gives me the nicest trot stretch after a canter! I'd like to go show, and I think if I am worried about her exiting the ring when I drop the contact.... I have bigger issues than getting a 1 or a 2 on a movement.

LarkspurCO
Jan. 6, 2011, 05:08 PM
If you are really on a tense horse with their mind on escape, you could just do the stretchy circle on a contact and forgo the decent score as an experience builder.




Stretchy circle should always be on contact.

If I had a really fresh horse and were worried about him playing up, I would go ahead and do the test, but just not let him stretch down quite as much as I would on a steadier mount.

kaye.simmons
Jan. 6, 2011, 06:42 PM
I thought the whole purpose of introducing the stretchy circle was to prove that we have been working our young horses in the appropriate frame. They are supposed to be working long and low in warm up and for most of the ride at this stage of their development. As long as you maintain contact I'm not sure why this is a problem. I don't think you are supposed to drop contact when you go into a stretchy circle so you should still be able to control the horse.

paintlady
Jan. 6, 2011, 07:06 PM
In addition to my dressage lessons, I was also taking lessons with a AQHA trainer last year so I could take my QH/Paint to a breed show. The APHA circuit only offers H/J classes. It worked to my advantage since we spent A LOT of time working on what dressage folks call the "stretchy circle". I agree with the others, your horse should still be on contact - just going more long and low.

netg
Jan. 6, 2011, 11:02 PM
If you are really on a tense horse with their mind on escape, you could just do the stretchy circle on a contact and forgo the decent score as an experience builder.

My horse (well, we don't show dressage but) gives me the nicest trot stretch after a canter! I'd like to go show, and I think if I am worried about her exiting the ring when I drop the contact.... I have bigger issues than getting a 1 or a 2 on a movement.

Agreed on this. Both parts. After a canter (which is VERY uphill) my horse wants to stretch down, and move those muscles differently. I fully intend to not allow a stretch down (aka, bucking position) if we're too tense during my first level tests this coming year, so I would think I would have made the same decision in training! I saw someone not get a stretch in first and get a score right about 60 recently - her horse was just too tense, so his normal stretch was absolutely not going to happen in his mind.

AnotherRound
Jan. 7, 2011, 03:14 AM
I just took a look at the new training level tests, and I have to say, I do not like the new test 1. I think the canter part is sort of weird, with the half a canter circle, then straight down the long side, then another half a circle. The part that I really don't like is the stretchy circle. I think the stretchy circle is really important and I'm glad it's in the tests, but I don't think it should be in T1. There are many young horses at their first shows doing training 1, and personally I don't really want to be required to give the reins on a 4 year old that is at it's first show. The stretchy circle is right after the canter too, which I think is just asking for problems. Am I being a big baby? I have two talented but hot young mares I will be showing Training this year, and I am a bit worried. I guess I could always do walk/trot.


Oh, OK, so THAT's why my trainer is having me do strechy circles and half canter circles. She's a sneaky one. That only started after I announced to her I wanted to show training this year. I got the booklet, better read up on it, now.

Covergirl15
Jan. 7, 2011, 07:31 PM
Well I rode the training tests last night. (3 and 2) Three was ok, it will take some getting used to, but I didn't think it was that bad to ride. 2 on the other hand, I hated. My mare was being a saint last night (she is usually faster and likes to freight train a little but last night she was soft and quiet) and the canter to stretchy trot to walk was really difficult. I also disliked the stretchy circle in the middle of the test as my mare gets tense and then it takes a minute or so to get her back afterwords, so that was really hard for us. Though I loved getting the canter on the circle to the other half circle. (I thought it helped keep her balanced during the transitions). The rest of the test I liked, but I know what I will be working on! :)

Still Workingonit
Jan. 8, 2011, 12:05 AM
Hi from NZ - I was intrigued by this (as your Training Tests are used to re-do our ours) so I rode your 2011 Training Test 1 with my trainer today - getting ready for my first show in 4 years tommorrow and at Level 1 (but given the way that they have strucutred the classes, shoudl have gone with doing Level 2 that my mare is more than capable of doing :(). I found this test rode remarkably well - I was quite shocked as how well it rode after I read it. So much so, we had one of our Training riders ride it as well, and he managed it fine. OP, I think you need to "woman up" and give it a go!

SonnysMom
Jan. 8, 2011, 08:58 AM
I wonder if they added the canter to Intro 3 for the eventing folks. Many non-recognized hunter trial/combined training shows have a starter/elementary/tadpole division with 18"-2' jumps. These divisions normally used Intro A or B for the dressage portion.
In eventing you cannot have a test reader. The intro tests tend to be shorter and simpler so even a young nervous rider can remember them. (Or nervous beginner adult)
I personally think that if you can't even canter a simple circle or two in the ring then maybe you shouldn't be jumping let alone jumping xc.
Especially if everybody is complaining about T1 and the stretchy circle being hard then Intro C may be the transition test now. Simple canter no stretchy circle.