MOVING UP TO DRESSAGE PRELIM – Richard has a plan

Rich dressage 1After Richard's success at Intro level dressage competitions on the ‘Dressage Anywhere’ website he decided it was time to move up to Prelim. This step up introduced canter to the tests along with an expectation of the horse to show a step up in his way of going. Richard starts by explaining what he felt the differences were.

In the Intro level tests I concentrated on the accuracy of the shapes I rode and the evenness of Tommy's footfalls. Moving up to Prelim the most obvious change is the addition of canter, I also began to ask for more of a classic dressage outline – especially in the walk and trot work. It is also worth mentioning that when you move up a level in dressage it is only natural to expect a noticeable drop in your score, so the secret rule is to try and ignore the score for your first try at this new level.

The first Prelim level test I tried was Prelim 18 which included cantering 20 meter circles and a trotted serpentine in addition to the walk and trot areas already covered in the Intro tests. In our training Tommy and I worked on gaining more of a consistent outline and spent time practicing serpentines, making sure we were as balanced as we could be through the changes of rein.

Our first Prelim test was filmed and submitted. The results came back and I had scored 66.88% which I was more than happy with especially as our lowest individual mark was a 6.5, a great result. The Score sheet comments were very useful and I used them in my following lessons.
 
Rich dressage 2
The following month we did our second test which was Prelim 14. This went really well for us including getting two 8s and an overall score of 69.79% and placing 4th - again we were so close to getting over 70% but not quite there yet.

I had set myself a personal rule that I would move up only after scoring over 65% in three consecutive tests, I knew there was a very good chance that the third go at Prelim would be our last and I was confident that with the return to Prelim 18 that maybe finally we would break 70%.
 
Rich dressage 3
The day came and the weather was not great but I was running out of time to submit a test for this month.

There was high winds and rain. It took me a while to get Tommy listening to me as we warmed up, I needed him on my side. We filmed the test and submitted it but when the score came back I was not surprised to find we had dropped to 66.25%. There were some very encouraging comments in the feedback but I knew we hadn't achieved our best.

I was in a quandary, should I try another Prelim next month and try and break the 70%? It was very tempting but this was not the plan. My personal rule was that once we had achieved three consecutive scores over 65% we would move up and we had managed it, so I decided that 65% is not a bad score really and said good bye to Prelim.

I’ve done Intro and Prelim tests with Tommy before and now tried Dressage Anywhere, so there was a sense of excitement that the move up to Novice was a definite step up the levels for us. Next time I will let you know how we get on at Novice. www.mountainhorse.co.uk Supply Richard with his riding clothing and footwear and www.championhats.co.uk - Supply Richard with his riding protection Follow Richards dress journey Read more
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