How to Ride a Dressage Test - The Eventer’s Version
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   15th May 2013   •   5,698 views   •   2 comments
This article was inspired by my own fantastic event horse, Bronze, who – like most eventers – is eating a lot of high-energy food, and doing a lot of work. Basically, Bronze is a machine, and his main operating function is to bear down on a course of big, solid jumps like a freight train and jump clear inside the time.

When it comes to the dressage function, however, it seems we've found a glitch. Bronze, like many eventing machines, seems to have broken that convenient switch from ‘Cross Country mode’ to ‘Dressage mode’ that we all wishfully believe that our eventers have.

Sad news for you on that one, folks: It’s a lie.

So, in light of this sad realization, allow me to instruct you in the art of riding an eventing dressage test, step by step.

Tack up your eventing machine. Be sure to have the tanks and chains at the ready to secure him. No, no, put the Pelham away, this is dressage. Here, your only weapon is a snaffle. Good luck.

Mount your eventing machine. Don’t beg polite strangers to hold him still, that’s just plain rude. You got yourself into this mess, now get his legs out of the reins, and get onto his back before he kills somebody.

Gather up your reins and hold on tight. Hang on for the bolt away from the scary grooming brush, and sit tight for those bucks when he sees one of those terrifying ‘horse’ creatures. It’s not like he’s one of them – those things are scary.

How to Ride a Dressage Test

Enter the warm up arena. Okay, fine, bolt out. Now gather up your reins, and enter the warm up arena again. Try not to run anybody over this time; judges are more likely to mark you down if they see you trample a pedestrian.

Survive the warm up arena. Apply superglue to saddle for bucking fits, and make sure to sit pretty and pretend you’re smiling (and in perfect control) while your eventing machine bolts across the warm up and practices his cross country gallop. No, don’t haul on that flimsy snaffle, you know it’s not going to help you. Try not to jump the arena fence, it’ll only get him more jazzed up after all.

Article: Surviving The Warm-up Arena

Great, it’s time for your test. Stop crying. Seriously, stop. Okay, keep crying, but at least strike up a smile and pretend that they’re tears of joy.

How to Ride a Dressage Test

Walk around the arena to salute the judge. Don’t let your eventing machine spook at the letters. Okay, maybe just the first letter, but not the next one. Alright, then let him spook at all of them, but try not to let him bolt. Hang on tight. Don’t let him spook at the judge’s box. Now smile at the judge, salute, pretend you don’t notice his spooking. Get your tears under control, and ride on. Wait for the whistle.

Turn down the centre line. What are you doing? This isn't supposed to be a serpentine. Straighten him. Leg yield left. No, no, too far – try going to the right instead. Hey, wasn't that X back there? Quick, get him to halt, never mind that you’re 5m off the centre line.

Remember the immobility; hold that halt. Hold it. Hold - Okay, just let him go. Trot on in giraffe mode until you’re past the judges’ box (It’s not as scary when his head’s in the air).

Turn the corner and proceed in working trot. No, not gallop, trot. Try a half halt. Try another one. Alright, try hauling at that flimsy snaffle until he stops.

Ride a 20m circle. Try to trot. Fine, then keep galloping, but try not to let him trip. Give those reins another tug. Still nothing? Well, then sit tight and stick on through the bucking fit.

Change rein across the diagonal. Try to get the trot again. Try a little harder. Keep trying. Okay, just gallop faster instead.

Hey... Hey, watch it! That’s the arena fence. Don’t let him jump! Don’t let him- Well, that’s it. Try to get him back before he tramples someone. Well, brakes are clearly broken. Never mind, just abandon ship on the next buck. You’ll have a better test next time.

Curl up in the fetal position and cry for a while. Let someone else catch your eventing machine – he’s probably off creating his own cross country course by now anyway.

Cut your losses, enter the next show, and start getting ready to do this all again. Make a mental note to research whether body protectors are allowed in dressage.
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Dark Star  
Is Bronze really that crazy? lol

That was funny, kinda like me trying to show my (barrel) show horse in a cloverleaf shaped equitation pattern with a slow twist snaffle. Turns out great every time. Honestly...-_-
  May 15, 2013  •  6,003 views
Jane is trained like a dressage horse as I am told by my Have-Been-In-Pony-Club-Longer friends but is just a mad powerhouse. No spook, stop, really, very strong in all gaits. Loves jumping though. I think we just need a lot of transition work, some work on not chasing squirrels (she races them as they run along the fence, I swear) and more reliable breaks in the canter.

Why did I buy a 4 yo thoroughbred. -.-
  May 17, 2013  •  5,684 views
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