"November and this month has been fairly quiet so I have been focusing on training at home, now the nights have drawn in we have been training in the dark under the school lights.
Tidy has been feeling rather full of herself now the colder nights have come and has been rather forward in the trot so I went back to basics for a couple of weeks working on transitions and making sure she was listening. She is never naughty, she just enjoys her work so wants to get on with her job.
Whilst working on the basics I have focused on our accuracy, especially riding our corners and turns as we like to miss them out sometimes, I have made myself ride as if I am in a competition in order to focus on every movement as I think when we are at home training on our own it’s easy to get into bad habits.
I have also been working on the contact I give Tidy down the reins as sometimes my left hand likes to wander and not work as hard as my right so I have consciously been focusing on the positioning of my hands – it has made a huge difference. Now Tidy is working and progressing well I can work on the attention to detail to complete the picture.
Tidy has also had her second clip of the year – I was surprised how much of a coat she had grown since her last clip last month. She is much happier now and easier to cool off after a training session."
Whether you compete at International level or you're preparing for your first local show, going back to basics to perfect integral elements of riding can help in any discipline. The walk is often the most neglected gait, which is exactly where points can be gained in dressage. Get the walk (or any other primary element of riding) working great for you, and you set yourself up for a much better overall result.
Next time you ride, consciously focus of every single movement, aid, transition and halt and see how much of a difference this makes, before working on the finer details to perfect a show-stopping performance.