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Dressage gurus...I need your help!

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  • Dressage gurus...I need your help!

    I need some pointers in dressage. I am an eventer and figured the best place to get dressage advice is in the dressage forum.

    I have scored well enough in dressage so far. I am riding at novice level, so the tests are pretty basic. My horse is fancy and is a nice mover...that has helped me tremendously.

    I do not have consistent dressage training($$). I have taken some lessons.

    My question is this...I am competing at championships in 4 weeks. My dressage score averages 32 (eventers use a different scoring system). The winner last year scored 21. How can I improve by 10+ points in 4 weeks? Is it even possible?

    I have done a spreadsheet with all of my movements and past scores. I know where I need to improve. #1 suppleness, #2 straightness down center line, #3 halt at end.

    What do you recommend I do over the next 4 weeks to improve??

    Thank you for your advice!!

  • #2
    Wow! That's a vague question! It is definately possible to improve 10 points in 4 weeks, but you don't learn dressage by osmosis or telepathy! We need to know a whole lot more details to help you. Posting a video of your rides would be a good start.

    Do eventing dressage tests have comments written by each movement like our tests do? If so, if you post the comments here, we could try to decifer them and help you with pointers.

    Comment


    • #3
      32 is a good score. To jump to the 20's is like dressage riders jumping from the 60's to the 70's. This could be a long term goal. Don't worry yourself ragged in the next 4 weeks. You'll ruin the fun you'll have at the championships. You can take dressage lessons with a classical dressage instructor--as many as you can afford. Bring your tests so the instructor can work on your weaker points. Don't fret on the 21 someone received. That's very rare. There are many event riders who would pay good money for your 32.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just for your info the rider who won last year with a 21 could probably score in the high 60s low 70s at third level and her horse could have been very competitive at FEI levels.
        She is a very, very good dressage rider and her horse is incredible in dressage.
        So, without being mean, I think that it would take more than 4 weeks to be able to score as low as she did (she has gotten scores under 20 in the past).
        But if you work on being very precise, and making sure that every transition is spot on and your horse is very steady and consistent you can probably lower your score and end up with something in the high 20s.

        Good luck and don't worry about that rider, she is riding at Training this year

        Comment


        • #5
          "How can I improve that much in four weeks"

          FInd out what's pulling your score down and fix it. My suggestion? Lots of dressage lessons for the next 4 weeks.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK... so of your three problem areas- two are definitely improvable in 4 weeks. Imho, halt and center line are two of the easier movements to get right, and two of the most obvious places to improve since they are in every test you will ever ride.

            For the centerlines, stop riding on the rail for 2 weeks. Never, ever, follow the rail- its a crutch. Go up quarter lines, or make your own random straight lines somewhere a stride or so off the rail. It will force you to keep your horse between both legs. Practice picking a point on the other side of the ring and staring at it to keep your line straight. Looking down at the horses ears the whole time is a good way to get wiggly without even noticing.

            As for the halt, remember to half halt first, and make sure the horse is lifting from the wither and transferring weight to the hind end. As you come up the centerline for the halt, add impulsion- don't think about slowing down. Practice quite a bit and figure out how many half-halts and how soon before x will produce the best result.

            Good luck!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              You are so nice!

              Originally posted by blackhorsegirl View Post
              32 is a good score. To jump to the 20's is like dressage riders jumping from the 60's to the 70's. This could be a long term goal. Don't worry yourself ragged in the next 4 weeks. You'll ruin the fun you'll have at the championships. You can take dressage lessons with a classical dressage instructor--as many as you can afford. Bring your tests so the instructor can work on your weaker points. Don't fret on the 21 someone received. That's very rare. There are many event riders who would pay good money for your 32.
              Thank you for putting it in perspective. I do know that I am fortunate for the 32 average.

              Thanks again!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                WOW...

                Originally posted by mademoiselle View Post
                Just for your info the rider who won last year with a 21 could probably score in the high 60s low 70s at third level and her horse could have been very competitive at FEI levels.
                She is a very, very good dressage rider and her horse is incredible in dressage.
                So, without being mean, I think that it would take more than 4 weeks to be able to score as low as she did (she has gotten scores under 20 in the past).
                But if you work on being very precise, and making sure that every transition is spot on and your horse is very steady and consistent you can probably lower your score and end up with something in the high 20s.

                Good luck and don't worry about that rider, she is riding at Training this year
                That is GREAT info to have. And I am so happy that she moved up

                Thank you too for putting it in perspective. I just want to make sure that I am competitive (with scoring, I mean). Obviously, I am competitive. Probably, too competitive.

                And, you are not being mean. I really appreciate your honesty and information. Thank you!!

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  joiedevie99...THANKS

                  Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                  OK... so of your three problem areas- two are definitely improvable in 4 weeks. Imho, halt and center line are two of the easier movements to get right, and two of the most obvious places to improve since they are in every test you will ever ride.

                  For the centerlines, stop riding on the rail for 2 weeks. Never, ever, follow the rail- its a crutch. Go up quarter lines, or make your own random straight lines somewhere a stride or so off the rail. It will force you to keep your horse between both legs. Practice picking a point on the other side of the ring and staring at it to keep your line straight. Looking down at the horses ears the whole time is a good way to get wiggly without even noticing.

                  As for the halt, remember to half halt first, and make sure the horse is lifting from the wither and transferring weight to the hind end. As you come up the centerline for the halt, add impulsion- don't think about slowing down. Practice quite a bit and figure out how many half-halts and how soon before x will produce the best result.

                  Good luck!

                  GREAT INFO!!!!! Very helpful!!! I will definitely starting doing that. I do use the wall as a crutch. I don't know why I didn't think of that myself.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                    OK... so of your three problem areas- two are definitely improvable in 4 weeks. Imho, halt and center line are two of the easier movements to get right, and two of the most obvious places to improve since they are in every test you will ever ride.

                    For the centerlines, stop riding on the rail for 2 weeks. Never, ever, follow the rail- its a crutch. Go up quarter lines, or make your own random straight lines somewhere a stride or so off the rail. It will force you to keep your horse between both legs. Practice picking a point on the other side of the ring and staring at it to keep your line straight. Looking down at the horses ears the whole time is a good way to get wiggly without even noticing.

                    As for the halt, remember to half halt first, and make sure the horse is lifting from the wither and transferring weight to the hind end. As you come up the centerline for the halt, add impulsion- don't think about slowing down. Practice quite a bit and figure out how many half-halts and how soon before x will produce the best result.

                    Good luck!
                    Excellent advice.
                    Also when you practice have someone stand/sit at "C" and tell you if your entry line is correct (practice 1/2 a ten meter circle to get correct angle upon entry at "A"). and practice TONS of halts working on getting and keeping the horses butt underneath itself and all 4 legs square. That means if halt is correct horse lifts front end (rider lifts ribcage) and trots off from halt without any walk steps. All this means a great starting and ending impression of you by the judge.

                    One other thing that might help - more air time in the trot and canter. Think of knees off saddle BUT lower legs wrapped around horses barrel - and when you'd post up (if you're sitting the trot) then LIFT horses tummy up - don't squeeze - you don't want fast just more suspension in the gaits. Same thing at canter - when you're at "3" lift up to get more suspension time.

                    Overall the lifting will create a better impression - so if you can do that throughout the test at trot and canter your scores could end up just a little bit higher.

                    Object is to make you good better and you not so good decent. In a short time frame work on improving where you'll get the most band for your buck - and that is straightness and suspension (carry's into all aspects of dressage) and overall (gait) impression.

                    Good luck!
                    Now in Kentucky

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Valentina 32926

                      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

                      That is exactly the info that I am looking for.

                      Thanks to everyone, I have some great things to work on.

                      I will let you know how it goes.

                      Thank you again!!

                      Kathy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LoveToJump View Post
                        How can I improve by 10+ points in 4 weeks?
                        You need to improve quality of your horses every step, not just the movements:

                        * More free, swinging back
                        * Free, supple shoulders
                        * reaching under hind legs
                        * Longer strides
                        * More air suspension in trot and canter

                        Comment

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