First CT in 20 years and looking for some help/advice!
Okay so I am definitely coming from Jumper world. 20 years ago I had that cute fuzzy pony and I did some CT's with her and we did well in the dressage, more than willing to bet the cuteness factor helped!
However I have decided to try new things with my jumper, dressage and possibly eventing, and have some questions. I am starting easy do the 2011 Intro Test C. Forrest has good rhythm and bending but we seem to have an issue with relaxing at the walk.
I was working with him yesterday at it and it just seems that he believes he's got a hot date he needs to rush to. This is regardless of contact or no contact. So my question is how do you encourage your horse to relax at the walk and go long and low?
Also what kind of things do judges look for in the "green" tests? It's been so long I am just completely out of the loop and I want to start participating in some of the T.I.P dressage tests, so this is our own test to see how he likes it!
Try sitting heavy and making your hips stay slow. Keep the middle part of your back soft. This doesn't mean that you slouch. Every time he tries to hurry off, half halt with your body, and then stay slow.
How is his halt?
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
Because the Intro tests are meant to introduce the horse and rider to dressage, you need to ride the horse forward with a steady tempo into an elastic contact with independent, steady hands and a correctly balanced seat. You also need to show correct geometry of figures in the arena, and correct bend in corners and circles.
As for getting your horse to relax at the walk, start by keeping a soft contact and walk, walk, walk until he relaxes. Do this at the end of your rides so eventually he learns not to anticipate getting jazzed up again after walking. This could take several rides. Once he walks quietly, try lengthening the reins an inch or two and think about letting his head "hang" in the reins. Rinse, repeat until you can walk him on a long rein. Then try adding a bit of this during to your rides. I would also often go right back to the long walk after picking up the reins so he learns that picking up the reins doesn't necessarily mean it's work time.
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Intro is a great place to start!
Some things to help:
In your warmup, bring your horse into raised shape at the trot, and then have her stretch down into stretchy trot, and then gather back up; much like a yoyo. Count to 20 for each interval and don't change til the rhythm and relaxation is good. Do the same exercise at the walk, and maybe a wee bit at the canter.
In the walk, first, make sure you aren't tensing your bum cheeks or wiggling your middle about. To encourage that forward seeking walk, think about that hind leg staying on the ground as long as possible. think about how you can help your horse do that in your body.