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Prelim Dressage Test A Question

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  • Prelim Dressage Test A Question

    Movement 6 is the "giving and taking the reins forward over X for 5 meters" movement. Is this similar to the "stretchy circle" but on a straight line? If so, do you start 2 1/2 meters before X and end 2 1/2 meters after X? Lastly, does anyone have a link to this test on YouTube (or something similar)? Thanks.

  • #2

    I was going to attempt to explain it in my own words, then found this by another COTHer and realized it's a much better explanation than I could have written!


    • Original Poster

      Well, thanks for the link and the effort it took to find it but I'm still a bit confused.

      I see the lifting of the hands in the video but I didn't see that the horse stretched at all (the requirement is for a "reach forward of the neck"). Rather, he seemed to stay in self carriage, which I'm not entirely sure is required (or desired) at this level. Should the "reach" be out but not down?

      I have my Bronze Medal and understand the whole giving the inside rein thing but this movement is just simply something I don't understand. I'd appreciate insight from those who have ridden it and gotten comments from judges explaining what they are looking for.


      • #4
        I haven't ridden it in the Prelim test, which have changed since I last ran Prelim, but I rode it several times in the one star test, which has the exact same movement. It was a movement I hated a lot because different judges interpret it different ways.

        Sally O'Connor wrote an explanation of this movement when the Prelim A test first came out in an article that was posted on the USEA site. I believe she said that the horse should stretch down/out into the contact. I think this should be correct, because a Prelim horse shouldn't necessarily be confirmed in self-carriage.

        However, I rode this movement four separate times in the CIC* test A, and the judges seemed to split down the center as to whether they wanted to see stretch from the horse or whether they wanted to see self-carriage. This was pretty frustrating obviously, because while my horse could do either one, I never knew what to ride for. Sometimes, the two judges both watching the test split on what they wanted.

        I would just pick one method with your coach, and stick with it.


        • Original Poster

          Interesting observation DC.

          One would think there would be some clarity in the purpose of the movement and that the scoring would, therefore, be consistent. Oh well. . . . I would think Sally O'C would have a good idea of what the movement was supposed to be so I guess if I have to pick one, her interpretation is as good as any and, probably, better than most.


          • #6
            The one thing I got from my various interpretations is that whatever the horse does, he should NOT lose his balance and end up on the forehand. In a way, it is a little self carriage in that you are pushing the reins out and the horse doesn't dive.

            Whenever I have scribed for P dressage tests the most common fault is "loss of balance" and this movement really points it out if it is going to happen.


            • #7
              If you read the test as it is written, the descriptor states "Straightness on the diagonal, the reach forward of the neck while maintaining the balance, smoothness of the giving and retaking."

              So it seems to me that the judge should be looking for the horse to reach forward to the bit while maintaining a degree of self carriage and with a forward balance maintained as the reins are taken back. No?

              I'll have to ask my dressage trainer to look this week. She is also a judge and might have some insight.
              Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

              The Grove at Five Points


              • #8
                I have been riding it as I would the stretchy circle. But our dressage is very much a work in progress, so really it's more like Hilary says-- an attempt to give and not have the horse dive (or headshake or rub his nose on his legs).


                • Original Poster

                  OK, I think I've got it. With only 5 meters over X there is no time for a horse to stretch out and down like in the dressage stretchy circle. So, while we might not be in true self carriage at this level, the horse can at least not lose balance in the 5 meters I give and take the reins. I assume the important thing is to show my release clearly and have the horse either follow seeking the contact or do nothing while maintaining his balance. Thanks all for your input, we'll see how it goes.