Dressage Rider & HorseQuest Ambassador Andrew Gould has ridden on Great Britain Junior and Young Rider European teams, and has competed internationally at Grand Prix level. Here he shares his 10 top tips for producing and competing a Dressage Horse....
1. Be patient. Don’t ask for too much too soon, especially when working with a young horse
2. Establish a good relationship with your horse. Take the time to get to know their personality, strengths and weaknesses. This time can prove to be extremely valuable in the future
3. Start with the basics, if you can’t get your horse to perform the basics such as bending, or ride a straight line you will find it harder later on to ride the more advanced moves accurately
4. Use lots of transitions. I find this can help make a hot horse wait and listen to the rider, and will make a lazy horse sharper and more responsive to the leg
5. Remember to allow the horse time to rest and stretch his muscles in-between exercises. During a good schooling session it can be easy to get carried away!
6. Take your horse for a hack and have a day off from schooling. This will help keep your horse interested and prevent him from becoming stuffy in the school. This will also give you both some time to relax.
7. When first taking your horse out to a dressage competition, I suggest starting with local events. This will reduce the pressure and will allow the horse time to become accustomed to busy working areas and the competition environment.
8. Be prepared for lots of hard work. Perfecting your moves will not come over night for either you.
9. Practice, practice, practice.
10. And most importantly remember to have fun!