You can have readers through Fourth level. I'll be honest - I much prefer having a reader even through fourth level tests. I pretty much know my tests anyway, but it really helps me if I have to really focus on an issue (i.e. I can feel the horse is about to do an "unauthorized" flying change, or is starting to spook at something and I'm trying to keep the lid on the horse) and then momentarily forget where I am in the test. If anything, I feel comfy knowing that I have a "backup" in case I forget something, and hearing the voice of a friend if I'm feeling nervous.
My horse has a tendency to get very aerial. I am VERY bad at memorization. I have no problem confusing left and right. I multitask very well, including hearing things while thinking about something else. Therefore, I use a read despite spending hours and hours working on memorization, riding pieces of tests, walking them out on the living room floor, drawing the tests, etc. I want to be able to focus on riding my horse, and if I am trying to get the test up in my memory it distracts me from riding, where being forewarned of upcoming movements by a reader doesn't distract me. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but it is for me, and I therefore use a reader. I have had a reader miss a movement, knew she did, and rode the movement she missed correctly. Our main show grounds are EXTREMELY windy, which is another reason I do everything I can to memorize the tests, too.
Originally Posted by Far_North_Equestrian
I scribe for eventing dressage - I would say I usually only see a couple fo called tests per devision.
I see much more of it at schooling/bronze level shows though.
Last I heard you can't have a reader in eventing. Maybe you can in Canada, though?
Originally Posted by Silverbridge
If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.
Test readers can come in handy for folks doing a bunch of different tests at shows, or for newbies, or even for folks whose horse is a little nervous about being in that big ol' ring by himself. They can also be helpful if you go off course and get so flustered you can't remember the rest of the test - have seen that happen more than a few times.
I went to a small schooling show and there were a ton of pony club kids there- 9th grade up to college age. Everysingle one of them had a reader-the same pony club mom. She was exhausted. I teased those kids! The only people that didn't have a reader were the 50 yr old ladies have hot flashes and memory lapses and we all made it thru! Said it should be required of youngsters to do it without!
I read primarily at our in-barn shows and a few small schooling schools, mostly for kids. I have had a couple of "strangers" ask me to read for them, which I am more than happy to do, and flattered for being asked.
Our kids went to Lendon's Dressage for Kids Festival last year and all did fine on their memorized tests. Perhaps it was their young brains, but they also did a lot of practice over several months with only occasional reading. It also was nice to go to a show and enjoy it all without having to read.
One time I did a test and learnt in the pub at lunch time, using a bar mat. I was walking and trotting and cantering with my fingers through the movements, much to the puzzlement of the barman who watched me as I muttered "twenty meter circle at C, trot, trot, trot, turn onto quarter line...". It worked fine until about three quarters of the way through the actual test when the beer caught up and I came to a complete stop. I had to apologize to the judge with the explanation "the bar mat has just run out of space"
I dont think that most people need a reader because they dont memorize the tests, they want one as a back up. I have almost all my tests read. I know them well and have even shown them before but there are times when you forget the next movement and are in a bind. Also, if your horse if having a naughty moment, you can get fixated on keeping him in control and then forget the next movement.
In my prior location I had a trainer whose BOOMING voice was known to everyone at our shows. In my first attempt at 3rd level I asked her to read for me so I wouldn't get lost. The ring was indoors. Thankfully I memorized the test because I was so busy riding that the only thing I heard was "X halt salute" - at the beginning!
I have a friend who regularly relied on readers, until a really windy day when 1/2 way thru her test the voice just got blown away.
And yes, I've read for people who do something quite opposite of what I read!
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........