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2nd level tests vs. 3rd 1

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  • 2nd level tests vs. 3rd 1

    I have been looking over tests and practicing bits and pieces, trying to decide what to enter for an upcoming schooling show. (I will be showing HOC because I have only had the horse I am going to show for 2 months.)

    Sure seems to me like 3rd 1 is an EASIER test (assuming your horse has flying changes, which mine does) than 2nd 2, 2nd 3 or 2nd 4!

    Right now I am leaning towards doing 2nd 4 and 3rd 1. I was going to do 2nd 3 and 2nd 4 but I think that will actually be HARDER!

  • #2
    I also think that 3-1 is easier than 2-4 as well. Given that your horse has flying changes, half pass and extended trot/canter. 3-1 has a really nice, steady flow to it. 2-4 comes really fast at you.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      Just make sure that you really have the collected work/gaits solidified and that you are not riding "working" gaits. There is a greater expectation IME for the quality of the collection and also for the quality (as in change in stride) between the collected, medium and extended gaits in 3rd compared to in 2nd. Best of luck with your new horse this season!


      • #4
        Oh come on, be brave!! Do 3rd 1 and skip the HOC, it's a schooling show!!

        If I have to do it this year, so do you!!!

        Congrats and good luck!


        • Original Poster

          Ha, ha Denali. My new mare can be a bit "hot" so not quite sure what will happen at a show. Would rather not have the score posted for all to see. I think anything from a 45 to a 62 is possible, depending on how relaxed she is (and how relaxed I am!) Like a BNT told me, she will behave the same whether you ride 2nd level or 3rd level so you may as well try 3rd level. (This was unsolicited advice.)

          I do agree that you are expected to show better quality and consistency of collection at 3rd vs. 2nd. The extensions do worry me because I probably can't ride them yet. But, what the heck, it is just a schooling show.

          2nd 4 is definitely "busy", as are the other 2nd level tests. But, I did practice 2nd 4 in its entireity tonight and it went okay. Just got to get our simple changes a bit crisper. 3rd 1 seems a bit more "relaxed" in its flow than the 2nd level tests.


          • #6
            There is a greater expectation IME for the quality of the collection and also for the quality (as in change in stride) between the collected, medium and extended gaits in 3rd compared to in 2nd
            This is it in a nustshell.

            IME from scribing (and *almost* there walking the talk ) it is the DEGREE of collection and the DEGREES of difference between the gaits... The collectives are where those show--and will make or break the score.

            I am hoping to do some 3rds this year... we'll see. Having four MONTHS off instead of six WEEKS has thrown quite the monkey wrench into my mere "plans." I'll get back to you in October and tell you if I was right or not.
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


            • #7
              Inca, remember you only need as much collection as is needed to execute the movements so if you horse is collected enough to half-pass, extend, etc then you should be fine. The judge isn't looking for the collection required at FEI.
              Best of luck to you!


              • #8
                In 3-1 there are many movements that are from 2nd level – just make sure that they will be solid, and then even if you will get a not so good score on a new 3rd level movement – it can even out. On my first 3-1 my mare decided to buck! But we scored six scores of “8” and that buck was evened up.
                Good luck and have fun!

                PS: if the horse is not collected enough, but you will do the movement, you will score 5 or 6 on that movement. Generally, you need a fair collection to crack 60%. As for extensions, really show a crisp transitions - they are almost more important than extension themselves.


                • #9
                  Second 4 sucks rocks. I'd like to slap whoever thought that 32 movements in a second level test was a good idea. NOT!

                  Go for Third, J. No point futzing around with Second, if you can. And, from what I've seen of you and your mare, you DEFINITELY can.

                  Me, I'm hoping that I'll get to do some Second level work this year, besides at home.
                  In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                  A life lived by example, done too soon.


                  • #10
                    Two of us have been doing this all winter.....in a small ring, boy stuff comes up quick! I am so glad the weather is breaking so we can do it in the big ring outside.

                    I like the flow of both tests, that and they are so similiar it is easier to remember. My coach and I have been working on straight and crispness of the transition. These seem to be the big differences.


                    • Original Poster

                      I can't imagine practicing 2nd 4 in a small ring. The stuff comes up pretty quickly in the standard ring!

                      I'm such a perfectionist that I never want to show until I know our test will be great. This mare is new to me and can be hot so there is a chance it could be a disaster. But, I guess I will never know until I try! (The mare has actually shown through 4th 1 with a pro, before I bought her.)

                      ESG - this is my new mare, not the big chestnut mare I rode with Whit. That mare could do 3rd 1 *IF* we had our flying changes, but we don't. That is our project this year. I hope to show that mare at 2nd level this fall but not sure I will have the $$$ to show 2 horses this year.


                      • Original Poster


                        The show was today and I did enter 2nd 4 and 3rd 1. This was just a schooling show and I did ride HOC because I just didn't know how my mare would react at a show. I have only had her since Feb. 1 so we are still getting used to each other. My mare was a very good girl - all mistakes and problems were me and not her!

                        I rode quite conservatively on 2nd 4 and kind of fell apart and the end with that canter work on the center line. I find that SO hard. Anyway, we ended up with a 58.3% on that test - all 6's and 5's.

                        I put my little spurs on for 3rd 1 because I knew I needed more impulsion. I also tried to relax and not be quite so conservative. The collected trot work at the beginning was "okay" but not any better than the 1st test. The rest of the test was much better and I ended up with a 61.2% on 3rd 1. I was pretty excited since I have never shown 3rd level before. Even got one 8 (for the 20 meter canter circle where you have to release the inside rein for 4-5 strides.)

                        The judge asked me if I was done riding after the 2nd test (I was) and then told me how much better it was than my first test.

                        I definitely have a LOT to work on but I was really happy for our first show.

                        And after riding them both in a show, I have to say 3rd 1 is DEFINITELY easier than 2nd 4 (assuming your horse has a flying change.)


                        • #13
                          Congratulations, and good for you!

                          I like the flow of 3/1 better then 2/4, but like you said if your horse has confirmed changes.


                          • #14
                            Congratulations! You did mention something very interesting and true, though. All that difficult stuff on centerline in 2nd-4 (simple changes at X) is hard but very important as you plan to progress through 3rd and into 4th and beyond. Straightness is truly much harder to attain - especially heading right for the judge at a canter. I liked the the 2nd-4 test for that very reason.


                            • Original Poster

                              *sigh* Yeah, I know. That is why I am going to keep showing 2nd 4 and 3rd 1. Even though I find 2nd 4 VERY difficult, I KNOW I need to get better at it. Plus, I don't think my trainer will let me skip out of doing that test. I just have a super hard time getting the canter work to flow because it is so broken up with all the simple changes. I have problems keeping a nice rhythm and activity. The 3rd 1 canter work flows so much better. But, I just have to figure out a way to ride 2nd 4 better! I know it's me and NOT my horse!


                              • #16
                                It's really wierd. It's like 2nd 4 is haunted. It was like that 15 yrs ago and the tests have changed a couple times since then and it's STILL an odd test!

                                That said...I will be the person who says I would not skip the last test of a given level before going to the next level. I would be sure I could do the 2nd 4 before doing 3-1. Even though 3-1 is a much smoother test.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Well, I feel very comfortable showing 2nd 4 and 3rd 1 and I think my trainer would tell me if it was a bad idea. She has ridden my mare and teaches us every week so she probably knows best. (She is a silver medalist, an 'L' graduate and is getting her 'r' now so I think she has enough credentials to guide us.)

                                  My mare has shown through 4th 1 so I don't think I am stepping beyond our capabilities doing 3rd 1. And I am not SKIPPING 2nd 4. I will suck it up and continue to show it along with 3rd 1 and I'm sure I will get better at 2nd 4. (Or die trying - LOL.)


                                  • #18
                                    Congratulation! Yep, 3-1 is easier than 2-4 and some riders do skip 2nd level and go to 3rd and 4th and score respectable scores!

                                    ...AND THERE IS NO RULE ABOUT IT ---YET---