Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Remember A Dressage Test

 I won't say it will work for everyone since I am pretty lucky to have a good memory, but I would like to share some of my methods I use to remember my dressage test. First and foremost you must ensure you know the letters and their location. I won't get into that as everyone has their own method for remembering the letters. My personal saying is from a book I had as a young girl, I can't remember the name but it was a funny read about a girl who gets her first horse. She used "All Kangaroos Drink Hot Coconut Milk Before Freaking"! Makes no sense but it stuck in my head for life lol. 

When you first see your test I suggest to sit down and give it a good read without distraction. I read it through once from start to finish and see if I understand the questions, movements, and directions required. If you do not understand a movement, there is no point in going any further. Ask a friend, call your coach, or just google some forums like CoTH or Equiman for some advice.

    Once you have a clear understanding of all the requirements and have read it through, read it through again and I like to draw it out.  Whether it be on paper or in the air with my finger.  I like to do this 3 or 4 times until I am familiar with the pattern and flow.  Once I have a good idea, I look away from the test and try to memorize piece by piece.

  I start with the first few movements.  Down centreline, halt, proceed, turn, etc ect.  I repeat the first few movements a few times until they are memorized completely.  I then move on and add on the next couple of movements starting from the beginning.  I go through it several times until it again is completely memorized.  I do this with the entire test, slowly adding more movements until I have the entire test memorized.

  Once I know the test I like to test myself and see if I can recall it in my head.  I always have a habit of using my finger in the air to trace the movements in my mind.  It seems to help me visualize.  The day of the show I like to sit down on my own and visualize the entire test.  Not only does this ensure I remember, but it is also a great sport psychology trick to help you visualize your ride before you go into the ring.  Your chances of riding the way you want to increase with visualization techniques. 

I make no promises but I hope this helps some people!  I have yet to forget a test in my life.  I am off to my moms dressage show tomorrow then I will be taking Archie to one on Sunday.  Dressage filled weekend ahead!  Hope everyone enjoys theirs :)


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