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You’re excited that you are off to big competition and finally get to show off all of your hard work… but how on earth do you remember that whole dressage test!?
Everyone has a slightly different way of learning and remembering things. When committing your test to memory think about your learning style and apply it to learning your dressage test.
Here are six of our best ways to remember a dressage test.
For a lot of people nothing will work to help you remember the test like practicing it on your horse. If riding the test multiple times before hand is the best way for you to learn then you should use this method.
However, make sure you still mix up your training sessions so that you are not drilling the test into your horse. Practice is great but you don’t want to do it so much that your horse begins to anticipate each move. You need your horse to stay on your aids and listening to you and if they begin to anticipate too much you may find yourself losing marks.
For some people walking the test on foot can be really helpful to solidify the pattern of the test in their minds.
Go to the arena without your horse and walk through the test, thinking about where you will begin to prepare for and ride each movement as you go. Visualise yourself riding the test and executing each well as you walk it.
Imagine yourself performing the test in your mind, perfectly riding each manoeuvre. Don’t just think about the patterns of your test while you are doing this though.
Pay attention to visualising the position of your body while you go through the test and how your horse will feel underneath you. You should be really focusing on riding the test in your mind. This can really help you to perform well when it comes to the real thing.
A lot of people learn best by breaking information down into chunks. In this case, you should focus on learning your dressage test in sections.
If you do this, it is also very helpful to consider each manoeuvre and why it goes before or after other manoeuvres. Dressage tests are actually very logical and there will be a good reason why the movements are performed in the order that they are, as each element will be setting you up for the next.
By breaking the test down into smaller chunks and thinking about the logic behind the order of the test it can make the whole thing flow a lot better in your memory.
If it gets to the day and you are still worried about forgetting what you need to do after riding that 20 metre circle there is nothing wrong with having a caller during your test.
Just remember that using a caller doesn’t mean that you don’t need to put any effort into remembering the test. They should be there to jog your memory, helping you to give you more confidence, especially if you are just starting out with dressage.
Lastly, read through your test right before you head to the warm up ring. This will give you peace of mind that you have remembered everything correctly and help to calm your nerves.
It is important to always remember that the sport of riding should always be a lot of fun. If you do forget a part of your test, stay calm and continue on from where you do remember. Just don’t forget to have fun, there is always another day if things to go wrong!