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"Throwing" a class...

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  • #41
    In short, yes. If you have your eye on better scores and progression up the levels, there are times when the horse needs to learn that you WILL correct them in a test. Most judges would rather see this than watch the horse drag or ignore you through the test. Many will reward *good riding* in your rider collective score.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


    • #42
      Generally speaking yes. My trainer recently rode my young horse in a show (schooling show). Fourth time ever in a dressage ring but horse knew a halt at X was coming at the end of the test and began to halt on his own. Trainer said "ha, wrong buddy you shall halt at G" It was a good decision, I thought.

      In the situation you describe (tense stiff horse) I think I would first try something not so obvious, like a little shoulder in before resorting to adding circles. To me that is more a physical reaction that I would try to manage rather than a disobedience that needs to be corrected.


      • #43
        Do you have Fix-a-Tests near you? If so, go to one. If not, talk with your local dressage organization about having one.

        You'll get exactly what you or your horse needs. A warm up, a proper test, then schooling in the ring, and another test.

        You could also try asking a show manager if you could ride right before lunch or at the end of the day. Ride your test, then stay in the ring to school for a few minutes and ride your test again, even if there's no judge.

        I do think that there's a good chance there are nerves or tension coming from you, based on your description. Even if you don't feel it. Maybe she knows she can get away with it now, but horses don't usually get tense in the ring over and over just for the heck of it.

        Learn how to really ride your test. Every step. Others have made suggestions. The short side is not a straight line between two corners. It's a big half halt in the corner, followed by a tiny bit of SF, maybe a couple strides of invisible counter flexion, into another big half halt into the next corner. The long side is not merely a big expanse until your next circle, it's more SF or whatever else works for your horse. Your circle is not a big sigh of relief as you slow down and follow previous hoofprints. It's at least 4 half halts and slight turn followed by slight turn followed by slight turn, etc. Learn to ride the horse, not the test. Easier said than done, trust me I know, but it's the only way to do it.


        • #44
          Years ago, I judged a small schooling show. A naughty horse took control and jumped the arena rail. The rider was experienced over fences. I told her to do as she liked, but that I would correct it. A horse who jumps out can just as easily jump back in. That's exactly what the rider did and I let them finish the test for the sake of the horse's training and the rider's confidence (still eliminated).


          • #45
            Last year my pony figured out that she can get away with being pokey in the dressage ring. We had wonderful brilliance schooling outside the ring and when we were allowed to work around the inside waiting for the whistle. As soon as the whistle blew I was riding western pleasure.

            This year I blew two tests teaching her that not only was I able to use my legs and my whip during a test, but I could make them sting. Those two tests had "bucking" written all over them and I have a lovely freeze frame of "mare face" and her heels over her tail. The test after that she went smartly off just a little leg.