1. Always arrive on time, with time to spare!
Walk around a competition ground and familiarise yourself with where everything is. Knowing which arena you are going to compete in, who the steward is for your class and even where the toilets are can all help you feel more secure, and this, in turn, will help you ride better. Plus, getting there early gives your horse a chance to settle and take in the surroundings, too.
2. Know your test!
...And not on the way to the competition! Riding through the test at home will help you see which movements need work, and where your potential weak spots are. Do not ride through the test too many times though, as your horse may start to anticipate certain movements. If you think there is a danger of this happening, just ride certain sequences, such as lengthening across the diagonal, but then directly followed by a strike-off to canter.
3. Look for the easy marks
When you learn your test, pay attention to where the ‘easy’ marks are. For example, in a Preliminary test, you can score as many marks for the turn off the centre line as you can for an entire canter circle. Make sure that you ride every inch of the test, not just the parts you perceive as important.
From preparation and plaiting to coping with show-day nerves! Share your competitive life experiences here
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