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gallopinggal
Feb. 15, 2011, 11:10 PM
I am hopefully getting a gelding soon who can only do flat work due to an old injury but he is trained to 1st level. I myself can only ride training level but I am wondering just how hard the test is? i have never shown in dressage and actually sorta hate it but now that I've taken a break from it (that's where I started then switched to jumping) and my gelding is good at it, I am starting to have a re-newed interest in it. :) my hope is to one day show him at a dressage show at training level.

SirGali
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:01 AM
It's about as hard as getting yourself a trainer, or googling for the 2011 tests.

GallantGesture
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:08 AM
If you have a good trainer and a horse with 3 good gaits and solid basic training, training level should be a very achievable goal. For training level, you need to not only be able to sit on a horse doing walk/trot/canter, but have an independent enough seat to influence the horse while doing each gait. Training level asks for big easy circles and diagonals, so steering through the test patterns is not real hard, but the details are what make or break a test. For example, getting a transitions right at the specified letter, and riding accurate circles with correct bend... sounds easy but can be tough until you get the hang of it! Dressage is a lot of fun once you understand the basics and start to figure out what you are trying to do. With a horse that already has dressage training, you are off to a great start! Get some lessons, and go have fun at some shows!

GimmeQs
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:10 AM
Well that was sorta mean...

That's a hard question to answer - if you've never done it and are a novice rider or maybe have a novice horse, you may consider it extremely hard! And that's okay!
But if you look at the test (which the above poster mentioned), you will see it includes some large circles and transitions between different gaits. You need to be correct in where you do these things (ie trot at A), but not as much as a higher level - training level is more forgiving.

Hope that helps a little bit!

naturalequus
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:32 AM
Yup, look up the 2011 Training Level tests and youtube Training Level tests for a good idea of what it takes and what it looks like :)

Velvet
Feb. 16, 2011, 10:37 AM
Well that was sorta mean...

That's a hard question to answer - if you've never done it and are a novice rider or maybe have a novice horse, you may consider it extremely hard! And that's okay!
But if you look at the test (which the above poster mentioned), you will see it includes some large circles and transitions between different gaits. You need to be correct in where you do these things (ie trot at A), but not as much as a higher level - training level is more forgiving.

Hope that helps a little bit!

Gallant wasn't mean. Gallant just stated facts. Seriously, when we added W/T tests we dumbed down our sport to a level that even the former AHSA (now USEF) couldn't stomach. That's why they didn't recognize them, only USDF does.

The day that Training Level was added, people thought they'd made things as absolutely simple as possible for both horse and rider, as an introduction to dressage. It really is simple, if you're doing an dressage basics at home. It's not rocket science and anyone should FEEL like they can go in the ring and at least try it out because it is so basic.

Not being mean. Just saying that these levels are there for ANYONE with basic knowledge and the ability to steer and ask their horse for walk, trot and canter in both directions should feel completely at ease doing these tests.

CFFarm
Feb. 16, 2011, 10:42 AM
Training Level (3 tests)--As stated by the AHSA: "The purpose of the Training Level Dressage Tests is to confirm that the horse's muscles are supple and loose, and that it moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit."

If you or your horse are nervous away from home start with intro level

WBLover
Feb. 16, 2011, 11:30 AM
Well, it's not THAT easy if you want to do fairly well! Basically for Training level, you will need a horse that is solid W-T-C and is accepting of the bit. Doesn't have to be on the bit, but accepts the contact, although I really do think judges want to see the horse more on the bit than you would think they should be for this level.

You will need to be able to do 20 meter circles accurately on each end (at A and C) and at the center (at E and B), the horse cannot fall out of the circles or fall in (have a consistent bend and a good ROUND circle), have good transitions between gaits, ride into your corners fairly well, and do straight lines when changing the rein. Also you'll need to be able to do a good square halt with your horse being immobile for at least 3 seconds. And your horse must do a nice free walk on a long rein with their back swinging, taking long even strides (marching) with a clear 4-beat rhythym, and stretching their necks down and out.

This stuff is not as easy at it seems, but if you have a good, solidly trained horse it should be.

WBLover
Feb. 16, 2011, 11:34 AM
Gallant wasn't mean. Gallant just stated facts.

I think GimmeQs was referring to SirGali's comment:


It's about as hard as getting yourself a trainer, or googling for the 2011 tests.


which I think was kinda mean, and not GallantGesture's.

cuatx55
Feb. 16, 2011, 11:57 AM
Doing training level CORRECTLY is hard, you know with CORRECT contact, round cirlces, proper transitions, etc.

netg
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:07 PM
It depends on the basics you have as a rider, is what I keep seeing.

If you have been riding jumpers with someone who makes you adjust and keep your balance, bend properly through corners, getting the horse to shift its balance back, shorten and lengthen strides, etc - training level should be very easy for you.

If you have been riding jumpers with someone who is more of the "point and shoot" training style, letting the horse counterbend on corners, not insisting on shifting weight back... training level will feel like a completely different type of riding to you, and will take a long time for you to get the feel of what you need.


How a horse moves can greatly affect how you do, too. My first training level tests my horse "took off with me" during canters in each (about three strides of all out and he came back to me), did some rear/leap aerial maneuvers... and we scored over 60% in both because we got nothing less than a 7 on all movements he wasn't misbehaving in. This was with a judge who was giving more scores in the 40s than the 60s - but he's a nice mover, and it makes up for a lot, including 3s and 4s in some movements.

Each mistake counts for that movement specifically, not the overall test (except cumulative scores). So if you've been well taught to shrug off a mistake, correct it, and move on, you'll do much better than if you beat yourself up over a movement now in the past, too.

mp
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:10 PM
Doing training level CORRECTLY is hard, you know with CORRECT contact, round cirlces, proper transitions, etc.

:yes:

My answer to the OP's question: Harder than it looks.

Velvet
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:11 PM
Ah. It hadn't quoted anyone so I thought it was for Gallant.

Arizona DQ
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:12 PM
The hardest part is memorizing the tests..:lol:

MLD
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:13 PM
It's about as hard as getting yourself a trainer, or googling for the 2011 tests.

I pretty much agree with this. It isn't mean. Training level is only as hard as the rider wants to make it. It is WTC on 20 meter circles and diagonals. The trot is rising. It is suppose to be as their title says "Training" level.

Go out there and do the tests. Yes, you will make mistakes... so what, learn from them and you will get better the more you ride the tests.

I think to many people limit themselves by being afraid of not being PERFECT when they ride a test in a show. Worry about being perfect for riding your test when you get higher up in the levels. Training level is for Training... use it for that. Go get the experience in the show ring for you and your horse. And have FUN while you are doing it.

Velvet
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:33 PM
I pretty much agree with this. It isn't mean. Training level is only as hard as the rider wants to make it. It is WTC on 20 meter circles and diagonals. The trot is rising. It is suppose to be as their title says "Training" level.

Go out there and do the tests. Yes, you will make mistakes... so what, learn from them and you will get better the more you ride the tests.

I think to many people limit themselves by being afraid of not being PERFECT when they ride a test in a show. Worry about being perfect for riding your test when you get higher up in the levels. Training level is for Training... use it for that. Go get the experience in the show ring for you and your horse. And have FUN while you are doing it.

:yes: Seconded! :yes:

mp
Feb. 16, 2011, 12:51 PM
Go get the experience in the show ring for you and your horse. And have FUN while you are doing it.

FUN? At a DRESSAGE SHOW?!?!??!??!!? Surely you jest.

:dead:

princessfluffybritches
Feb. 16, 2011, 01:04 PM
I found Training Level the hardest. There's alot to learn being the foundation of Dressage riding. After that, at least I had my basics and it was easier to build on that. Not easy, just easier.

Velvet
Feb. 16, 2011, 01:11 PM
I found Training Level the hardest.

That was only because you wear fluffy breeches. :eek: ;)

SillyHorse
Feb. 16, 2011, 01:16 PM
Training level is for Training... use it for that.
I couldn't disagree more. Training should be done at home, not during a test at a show. Training level tests at a dressage show are no different from tests of any other level. You are being judged on what you and your horse can do, not what you are working on. Trotting down the center line unprepared to meet the challenges of the test is a waste of your money.

Reiter
Feb. 16, 2011, 01:27 PM
For example, getting a transitions right at the specified letter, and riding accurate circles with correct bend... sounds easy but can be tough until you get the hang of it!

Just want to point out that in training level the transitions are between the letters, not exactly at the letter yet!

Also, to the OP, practice your stretchy circle, it's in all the T tests now and imho the hardest movement to do correctly in Training Level!

Hidden
Feb. 16, 2011, 01:31 PM
I have a nice horse and we can WTC, accept contact etc when he is going well. But I am having a hard time with the stretchy trot circles, I know that he is supposed to reach for the contact, but somehow he thinks it doesn't mean that and while I get a few strides suddenly I have a horse not on contact. So clearly I do not have confirmed contact enough for the stretchy trot circle. Maybe I'm just slow or a bad rider, but I don't think that training level is as easy as some are saying. It is alot about having more than just WTC and some contact, you need to have alot of the dressage basics really down.

GimmeQs
Feb. 16, 2011, 02:33 PM
Yes, sorry for the confusion - Gallant's reply came up while I was typing mine.

Kyzteke
Feb. 16, 2011, 02:35 PM
For training level, you need to not only be able to sit on a horse doing walk/trot/canter, but have an independent enough seat to influence the horse while doing each gait.

Did they change the rules? I thought posting trot was still allowed through training level.

netg
Feb. 16, 2011, 02:51 PM
FUN? At a DRESSAGE SHOW?!?!??!??!!? Surely you jest.

:dead:

:lol:

At the schooling show this weekend one of my friends/barnmates finished her Training 2 test, and someone yelled "Yeay Michelle!" She responded laughing with a sarcastic "Yeay, go us!" Hard on herself as she is, she was very surprised when her score was a 70 for the test.... But she was definitely having fun!


Did they change the rules? I thought posting trot was still allowed through training level.

Posting trot has nothing to do with whether or not you can influence a horse. You'll find videos of the top riders in the world posting on young horses, and it doesn't mean they lose their ability to influence the horse because they're posting.

Velvet
Feb. 16, 2011, 03:12 PM
:lol:

Posting trot has nothing to do with whether or not you can influence a horse. You'll find videos of the top riders in the world posting on young horses, and it doesn't mean they lose their ability to influence the horse because they're posting.

You can do all the things in posting/rising trot that you can do while sitting. Lateral work, etc. It's a bit different and not as influential, but you CAN do it.

Janet
Feb. 16, 2011, 03:28 PM
It is relatively easy to RIDE a Training test.

Not so easy to RIDE IT WELL.

Petstorejunkie
Feb. 16, 2011, 03:35 PM
It is relatively easy to RIDE a Training test.

Not so easy to RIDE IT WELL.
AMEN.

It's kind of the difference between saying you can ride, because you cantered in summer camp, and riding 6 days a week for a few hours a day.

ACP
Feb. 16, 2011, 03:52 PM
If you are asking how HARD it is on the horse, which has come back from an injury, the tests should not be physically difficult as long as you condition him slowly and properly.

If you are asking how HARD it is to ride the test, as in, "Can I remember this?", you can have a caller.

If you are asking how HARD it is to do the figures, as in learning where the figures go - just how to spot a 20 meter circle at B or E or A or C - and how to do corners, it is fairly simple IF YOU understand the geometry of the arena. A lot of people don't, so I'd get an instructor or have eyes on the ground to help me spot things.

If you are asking how HARD it is to do well, it is pretty hard. My sister recently got a 68% on my horse, and we were over the moon. Again, get an instructor.

And yes, you can have fun at a dressage show.

MLD
Feb. 16, 2011, 04:37 PM
I couldn't disagree more. Training should be done at home, not during a test at a show. Training level tests at a dressage show are no different from tests of any other level. You are being judged on what you and your horse can do, not what you are working on. Trotting down the center line unprepared to meet the challenges of the test is a waste of your money.

You need to read the rest of my post to understand this one sentence fully. Training level is for training. It is to get you and your horse out there and in the show ring. You can not train for the show ring at home. Sorry, you just can't do it. Show nerves, being away from home, trailering to the show, the warm-up arena, the judges stand, the flowers around the arena... I don't think I need to go on. These are things you just can not train for at home. Sure you can trailer out to other arenas for a schooling session, but you will never be able to duplicate being at a show except at a show. Even if you go to a show and just school in the warm up, you still do not get the full effect of showing your horse.

No where in my post did I say go unprepared. We are dressage riders and that is just not in our DNA. We over prepare for everything. My main point was, you just have to get out there and do it. If you keep waiting till everything is perfect you will never get to the show arena because everything will never be perfect all at the same time.

FWIW, I honestly think Intro tests are a waste of time and money unless you are a small child on a pony and/or the horse and/or rider have yet to ever canter. If you are a rider that WTC at home, then forget intro and do the training level tests. Your show nerves are not going to be any less at intro than they are at training. If you are on a green horse and do not feel comfortable doing the stretchy circle, then just do it to the best of you and your horses ability and as much as you feel safe doing it. Yes, you will lose some points, but you can also make up points in areas where you and your horse are strong together. That is part of learning how to ride a dressage test. Learn your strong points and nail those. Choose areas where you and your horse can excel and focus on those. Halts is a perfect one to work on. There are a min of two halts in EVERY single dressage test... that is a chance for 20 points.

Finally, most judges do take into account that it is training level. Some more than others. They do realize that this is the starting point for horse and/or rider. They are a little more forgiving when something isn't just perfect you might get a 6 instead of a 7. Where as, when you get up to 2nd level and something isn't perfect, you might get a 5 instead of a 7. Why do you think so many high point awards go to training level riders? It isn't because they are better, it is because it is easier to get the 7s.

Eclectic Horseman
Feb. 16, 2011, 04:54 PM
The good news is that you can post on all the trotting in this test. You should if you don't feel that you can sit the trot without interfering with the horse.

The bad news is that you have to ride the horse "on the bit in contact." If you already know how to do that, no problem. But if not, it is difficult at first to learn how to ride a horse on the bit (or "on the aids" as they like to say these days) particularly if the horse does not accept a steady even contact. If the horse is truly first level, then it should be easy for you to learn how to ride on the bit, if you don't do it now, but if the horse is evasive (above or behind the bit) it can be very difficult.

Good luck.

GimmeQs
Feb. 18, 2011, 10:33 AM
I don't think the horse has to be "on the bit" at training. I think the line is that they need to be "accepting of the contact" but not OTB.
I don't think one should shoot to know how to ride on the bit or not- seems like that will just make for poor riding with no thought about the horse's back balance or hind end.
It might making showing training level "easier" and may give you a few good scores, but that's about it.

Eclectic Horseman
Feb. 18, 2011, 04:32 PM
I don't think the horse has to be "on the bit" at training. I think the line is that they need to be "accepting of the contact" but not OTB.
I don't think one should shoot to know how to ride on the bit or not- seems like that will just make for poor riding with no thought about the horse's back balance or hind end.
It might making showing training level "easier" and may give you a few good scores, but that's about it.


:confused:

cuatx55
Feb. 18, 2011, 04:42 PM
I don't think the horse has to be "on the bit" at training. I think the line is that they need to be "accepting of the contact" but not OTB.
I don't think one should shoot to know how to ride on the bit or not- seems like that will just make for poor riding with no thought about the horse's back balance or hind end.
It might making showing training level "easier" and may give you a few good scores, but that's about it.

I'm totally confused here. If you don't have the TL horses on the bit, suddenly the jump to first is going to seem a LOT steeper. (FWIW, my opinion is the jump to 1st is a lot harder then some riders think).

On the bit doesn't equal collection. However, even at intro you want to start to THINK about the same principles and expect the horse to start to develop *in baby steps* a response from the seat to the leg and then into the hand.

I don't care about how long the reins are, even a young horse needs to start to learn how to go into the bit. Granted, a newly undersaddle horse won't have the skills, but I'm talking about a horse and rider with some experience, good feel, and proper muscling in the horse to be able to lift the back and hocks.

I assume a good TL horse has started schooling leg-yield, turn on forehand/haunches, and some shoulder fore. I don't see how you can't have that in the tool box to fix balance problems and get through some resistances that come up, even if its "just walk trot canter".

All the forwardness has to be directed somewhere otherwise the gaits will just flatten and the horse will become braced/rushed.

I also prefer the term "on the aids". I reallllly won't like to be on a nervous horse in a show and NOT have some assurance of a good response to the seat. But then again, I'm not new to dressage and been there done that with lots of TL/green/new to dressage horses. I'm in it to RIDE not just get a certain % in the show.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Feb. 18, 2011, 05:10 PM
I have a nice horse and we can WTC, accept contact etc when he is going well. But I am having a hard time with the stretchy trot circles, I know that he is supposed to reach for the contact, but somehow he thinks it doesn't mean that and while I get a few strides suddenly I have a horse not on contact.

My little mare is just getting that now.:D She gave me beautiful stretchy circles this morning when we finished up, this was the first time they were solid in BOTH directions. :yes:


But yes, Training level is very basic, but that doesn't mean you can go out and show and expect good scores just because it's basic! You still have to deal with show nerves, being away from home etcetc. So getting what you do well at home at a show is still quite the accomplishment, no matter at what level.

In general, you need a sound horse with three clean gaits, a basic willingness to accept the riders aids, and the rider needs to be solid enough to ride with steady contact at all three gaits and ride good transitions.

Janet
Feb. 18, 2011, 10:38 PM
I'm totally confused here. If you don't have the TL horses on the bit, suddenly the jump to first is going to seem a LOT steeper. (FWIW, my opinion is the jump to 1st is a lot harder then some riders think).
The rule book says
TRAINING LEVEL. To confirm that the horse is supple and moves freely forward in a clear and
steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit.

The rule book does not use the phrase "on the bit" until second level

AllWeatherGal
Feb. 19, 2011, 07:55 AM
One thing that many many riders don't take advantage of (at all levels) is the opportunity to *READ THE DIRECTIVES*!!

If you want to know what is required in the test, read the rules (as Janet has pointed out) and the directives ON THE TEST to know what the requirements are.

Then find someone trustworthy to show you (preferably with you on the horse) what correct feels like.

Dressage is an art of subtlety and exactness, tho judged subjectively ... it's going to be frustrating if you're the kind of person who likes to brush with a broad stroke. As Janet points out, there IS a difference between "accepting contact with the bit" and "on the bit" and it's one of degrees, not yes/no.

It would be reassuring if all judges made comments that reflect the directives, but most I have sat with care that riders learn from their tests and make a point of connecting scores with directives for each movement. Still, that's part of showing -- dynamics in the judge's box.


Just ride more than you type :)

redhorse5
Feb. 19, 2011, 08:46 AM
Not hard at all if you can ride. If you understand what is expected of the horse and can ask and execute. There really is a big difference between going to a show to get show miles on a young horse and riding the horse at training level and really being prepared to go up the levels. You should be riding 1st level at home to do well at TL. However, if you have a really green horse and are not embarrassed about getting crappy scores, go and take it, study the comments you get, have your trainer show the horse as well and just look at it as a learning experience. The sooner you get to the shows, the less nervous you and your horse will be. I spent a long time at training before I got it.

Big Easy
Feb. 19, 2011, 09:50 AM
I ride hunter/jumpers but a few shows a year that I go to have dressage and I do a training level test for fun and to get my horse focused before jumping. I find it quite easy to do it without a formal dressage background. Just because my horse is not a dressage horse does not mean he is unable to be balance, on the bit, supple, and accurate in transitions and circles. In fact, he is quite good at those things. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be very good at jumping. The only thing that I found rather difficult was the free walk because at first I had trouble getting the hang of what the judge wanted, but at my last show we scored a 7 on the free walk. As long as you have a well-trained horse, no matter if it isn't a dressage horse, training level is not that hard.

GimmeQs
Feb. 19, 2011, 10:04 AM
Find the recent "any good videos" thread on here - there is a link to a Brown-Foy/Peters clinic about each level. Watch the training level one, listen to Janet.

Edit: Listen to both Janets!
Also, link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvWZ8n3vWfk
Within the first minute....