Channel your inner ‘Charlotte Dujardin’ with our top 6 tips for dressage competition success. How to get great Dressage scores without owning a ‘Valegro’ may help!
The video shares the moment when Britain’s golden duo double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro capped a sensational Olympia, the London International Horse Show 2014 by breaking the world record for Grand Prix Freestyle. They scored 94.3% — picking up twenty five 10s on the way — and broke their own previous record of 93.975%, set at this show in 2013. Carl Hester, Valegro’s owner, said that he is a complete phenomenon as a horse. Without owning a ‘Valegro’ the below tips will help your dressage scores:
1. Focus On Your Strengths Not Your Weaknesses
Don’t ever wait for perfection as there is no such thing! Enjoy your test riding and remember each movement is only a collection of marks. If your free walk is not great, but your trot work is first class, then you can make up your marks in other areas. The more you can get out and enjoy competitions with your horse, the more you have something to work towards as a partnership. And you may find that over time your weaknesses become your strengths. Nothing is perfect especially when it comes to riding and training your horse.
2. Accuracy Is An Advantage
We might not all have a steed with Valegro’s paces, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your scores by riding your test with accuracy. Riding correct shapes (that means circles, not egg shapes) and sizes (that’s a 15-metre circle, not 12) and executing your movements to the markers can all increase your scores and help in the final placing. Flashy paces make for a ‘wow’, but correct, accurate test riding can also make for a ‘win’.
3. Keep The Pace
Rhythm is a crucial element of riding a great dressage test. Practice on keeping an excellent, consistent rhythm throughout your paces and try schooling to music. Riding to the beat of a song is fun for you and your horse and if you might really enjoy it. Why not think about entering a freestyle to music dressage test?
4. Get Regular Training
Find yourself a great trainer and stick with them! Having regular sessions will help build your confidence and keep you and your horse heading in the right direction! It’s easy to slip into bad habits, so regular training helps knock them out of you again! If you can’t afford regular lessons, then get the most from the ones you do have by videoing them or taking notes. Ask your trainer for ‘homework’, so you have something to practice on and work with until your next dressage lesson.
5. Positive Visualisation
Many top professional riders use positive visualisation as a tool to focus the mind and produce that winning performance. Some of the top riders we have spoken to will literally ‘ride’ the test in their mind before getting on their horses. Imagining riding every step of the test. Visualising the perfect test might not result in you physically riding the perfect test, but it will undoubtedly put you in the right frame of mind.
6. Remember To Have Fun
If your dressage is turning into ‘stressage’ than you need to look at what is making your competition outings so stressful. Is it because you are highly ambitious and aiming your horse too highly for his ability or level of training. Perhaps you need more planning in the preparation. Take time to look at the issue and take steps to make it more fun!
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