View Full Version : HP in DQ Land? Advice?

Jun. 7, 2011, 11:30 AM
Hi everyone... visiting from hunterland, please be kind to a newbie. I am doing my first dressage test next week at a schooling show, and I've been asked to do Training Level Test 3. I've already memorized and practiced the test, but hoping those on the forum that are far wiser than me might be willing to educate me a little.

For example, when do I enter the ring? Is there a gate person that will signal me in? Also, I know sometimes the judges will give you comments, sometimes not, so what's the respectful way to give them the opportunity? Are there other things that I probably haven't even thought of? Anything that would be completely frowned upon that I should know?

I know there will be areas needing improvement in my test overall, since we are still working on perfecting downward transitions and my horse thinks that square halts are a waste of time (and I'm looking forward to constructive criticism on those fronts), but if there are technical pitfalls that I can be aware of in advance, I'd love not to look like a complete fool!

Thanks very much.

Jun. 7, 2011, 11:42 AM
Once the rider before you has halted and saluted to end their test, you are welcome to start riding around the outside of the ring. When that person exits the ring and the scribe catches up filling in their comments, the judge will ring a bell to tell you to enter the ring. You don't have to run for the entrance though- you have 45 seconds after the bell to start your test.

When you finish, walk your horse on a long rein up to C, say thank you to the judge, then turn and walk on a long rein around the ring and back to C to exit. If the judge wants to make oral comments (which is ok at a schooling show), they will stop you after you say thank you and start talking.

Jun. 7, 2011, 11:49 AM
Watch what happens to tests before yours for an idea of how it works at that particular show. There will be a gate person to tell you when to enter (after the person before you completes their final centerline, unless you're the first rider after a break.) You ride around the outside of the dressage ring after entering the arena or space in which it is set up until the judge indicates to you that it's time to enter with an audible signal such as ringing a bell or blowing a whistle. I recommend walking in front of the judge's stand in both directions so your horse sees it on both sides of him/her. Typically the scribe will ask your number as you go past if it's not visible, and it is polite to say good morning or good evening if you're relaxed enough to do so.

Depending on your horse, you can do different things while you wait for your signal. Maybe people around here just walk on a loose rein which tends to cause problems getting the horse awake again. If your horse doesn't tend to stay sharp and focused transitions around the outside of the arena can help. My horse gets tense, so we tend to do leg yields up and down a long side or figure 8s if there's room for them. We ride past anything which could possibly be scary, though in his tenseness he's still not typically spooky about anything.

Don't yank on your horse's face, outside the arena don't refer to his "frame." Beyond that, you're pretty much where you are going to be - and as a hunter, your horse is likely carrying him/herself appropriately for the level already.

Jun. 7, 2011, 01:34 PM
Welcome and have a great time.

See if you can watch a few rides before you go. That will give you an idea of how the judge and ring people are operating that day.


Jun. 7, 2011, 02:10 PM
You can ask someone to read your test (your groom, your friend, your trainer)
But make sure to try it at least one time before. Reading tests is not that easy as it looks.

Don't panic if you are late or to early doing a movement, or if your circles are not that round, just keep going thru your test and try to fix things quietly along the way. Sometimes horses won't go near the judge's booth, go as far as you can and keep going as if nothing much had happen! Unless the judge ring the bell.

If you have a wrong course or big mistake or you are lost, the judge will ring the bell or whistle. Stop, look at the judge and listen carefully what he/she'll say. Then start back where the judge tells you.
If you go over the gate, out the ring, you are eliminated.

I'm sure you'll do fine! Good luck, dressage is so much fun!!

Jun. 7, 2011, 02:24 PM
Just wanted to add to the comment that if your horse gets all 4 feet out of the arena during your test you are eliminated, but since it is a schooling show, the judge may allow you to re-enter and continue your test so you will at least get comments/marks on the entire test (even though you will still get the "E"). Ask me how I know!:)

Jun. 7, 2011, 02:40 PM
Be ready to ride at your assigned time, whether there is a ring steward or not. sometimes this takes advanced planning - wear a watch! It is helpful to learn who the rider before you is, so that you know when it is close to time for you to go, but that isn't always dependable.

Jun. 7, 2011, 04:27 PM
Thank you everyone - this is helpful advice! Especially since I've never been given a ride time more precise than "sometime in the next hour" before! I will definitely report back and let you know how it goes....

Jun. 7, 2011, 04:44 PM
Dressage shows are different from hunter world in that you'll get an assigned time to enter the ring instead of basically showing up when you please for order of go. IME the actual ride time will probably be later than the posted one but there's a lot less hurry up and wait. Coaching from the sidelines (even at lower levels) is much more frowned upon than it is in lower level hunter/eq.

In my area, warm-up rings are a little weird--in hunter world, slower/warming up horses go to the outside, those jumping or doing lateral work stay to the inside. However, the DQs here do their lateral and canter work from rail to quarterline and those warming up stay mostly in the middle. Can't comment on how common this is elsewhere.

While hunters have an excellent rhythm that serves well in dressage, one of the pitfalls I've run into when retraining hunters is bend--some of them bend well at the poll and neck but aren't trained to arc their entire bodies and step under with the hind legs. Finally, hunters are so good with the nose-poke/no contact thing that I really have to pay attention to balance and keeping the connection in stretchy circles (rider error not horse error). Hope this helped! Have fun--schooling shows often have lots of crossovers from other disciplines, which is how I think it should be!