Dressage For Beginners: Our Top Tips
Many riding schools and equestrian centres will put on unaffiliated dressage competitions for their clients. This allows equestrians who do not own a horse to ride in a competitive environment and try something a bit different, without the pressure (or the expense) of a full-blown competition. These competitions are usually quite relaxed, making them ideal for beginners, novice or nervous riders. This blog article outlines a few of my top tips for riding school clients who are trying dressage for the first time.
Learn Your Dressage Test
If you’re going to ride a dressage test, you may be able to have someone call the test our for you as you ride. However, it’s still really handy to learn the test as best you can beforehand as this can help you feel more relaxed and in control. This allows you to enjoy the competition without stressing over getting lost in the arena!
There are apps that are designed to help you learn your test. Alternatively, you can use a whiteboard and pen, or practice doing the test on foot to help you remember it. Personally, I like to use the Dressage Test Pro app.
You may be given a test to learn, or you may be allowed to pick your own test. Most competitions will use British Dressage tests, and you can buy the test sheets online.
Use Your Dressage Competition as a Learning Experience
Riding independently in the warm-up and then in the test itself is very different from riding in a lesson, so it’s a great chance to build your confidence. You may also get hands-on with grooming and tacking up your horse before the competition, so this is another opportunity to learn more about horses.
Remember that the idea of a dressage test is that you will receive feedback on where you can improve your riding. Think of it as being not that different to riding in a lesson, where your instructor will constantly provide you with feedback as you ride.
Have Fun With Dressage
Honestly, if you’re like me then then you ride horses purely for leisure and enjoyment. It doesn’t matter what colour rosette you bring home, if any at all. What really matters is that you enjoy the experience of riding in a dressage competition and use it to demonstrate what you’ve learned and build your confidence both in and out of the saddle.
I personally believe that your mindset can have an influence on how you perform and how you process events. If you go into your dressage competition with a view to having a good time, enjoying the experience and learning something new, then you will get far more out of it than if you put pressure on yourself to win or worry about what other people might think.
The No Horse? No Problem! Riding Lesson Journal
The No Horse? No Problem! Riding Lesson Journal by Purple Horse Planners is designed for riding school clients who want to track and record their riding progress, but who do not have a horse of their own. Riding school clients often find most equestrian planners and journals do not suit their requirements as they contain lots of extra pages that don’t apply to them. That’s why we created our riding lesson journal. Our riding lesson journal can be used to record all types of riding lesson, hack or stable management lesson. It can also be used to record competitions. The No horse? No Problem! Riding Journal is available to purchase in two designs.