From the Judges Box

Here are some of the most common faults seen from the judges box. They are simple to fix and ride correctly. Every horse at training level should be able to get at least a 7 on each movement if ridden correctly, regardless of the gaits. However, the rider should always be striving for higher marks.

Enter trotting on center line

Riders often overshoot the center line, drifting back to the correct line, sometimes losing balance and straightness. It is very easy to practice riding down center line. Remember that when you start to turn in the corner, continue to bend and turn with your eye on the judge, this will put you straight on center line. Also ask for a bit more trot so that you are entering with a sense of purpose and commitment. Finally remember to smile, the judges enjoy seeing riders having fun. More importantly when you smile, you relax your body which effects your horse. Remember do not override, less is more. The goal is to ride in harmony with your horse. Show the judge a dance rather than a drill.

Ride a Circle

Do not ride an ameba, a box or an egg. Learn to ride a proper circle. Have a friend video tape your schooling to see if you actually are riding a circle.

Do not rush your Halt
Establish your halt. Count to 5, exhale and relax. Very often the rider will halt beautifully and then rush off to the next movement. Slow everything down. Breathe.

Ride the Correct Diagonal

Again, keep your eye on the destination and ride with purpose and conviction to that letter, the diagonal line should be straight, balanced and the same rhythm. The new tests at training level allow posting trot, so do not disrupt the rhythm of your trot by switching the posting diagonal at X, wait until the corner at the end of the arena. Commit to the line, soften, breathe. Your scores will improve.